Book Review

Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert | Book Review

Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert
Release Date: 3rd January 2023
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Publisher, NetGalley
Rating: ★★★

Bradley Graeme is pretty much perfect. He’s a star football player, manages his OCD well (enough), and comes out on top in all his classes . . . except the ones he shares with his ex-best friend, Celine.

Celine Bangura is conspiracy-theory-obsessed. Social media followers eat up her takes on everything from UFOs to holiday overconsumption–yet, she’s still not cool enough for the popular kids’ table. Which is why Brad abandoned her for the in-crowd years ago. (At least, that’s how Celine sees it.)

These days, there’s nothing between them other than petty insults and academic rivalry. So when Celine signs up for a survival course in the woods, she’s surprised to find Brad right beside her.

Forced to work as a team for the chance to win a grand prize, these two teens must trudge through not just mud and dirt but their messy past. And as this adventure brings them closer together, they begin to remember the good bits of their history. But has too much time passed . . . or just enough to spark a whole new kind of relationship?

Readers, I don’t think Talia Hibbert’s books are for me, and I’m SAD ABOUT IT. I tried reading Chloe Brown a couple of years ago and thought it was trash, but I thought maybe Hibbert’s YA debut might be better. And, I mean, it was, but it was still just alright.

I thought the romance was cute. I’m always here for ex-best friends to lovers, and Hibbert wrote the trope well. I liked the characters individually but I thought they both sounded pretty similar as I was reading them. I didn’t love the snark or the dialogue in this – I had the same problem with Chloe Brown so maybe my humour just doesn’t mesh with Hibbert’s?

One thing I really liked and appreciated was the portrayal of OCD. According to the author’s note, Hibbert has recently been diagnosed with this, and Bradley’s character seems to be an exploration of how Hibbert could handle her own OCD in the future. I thought it was a very thoughtful, respectful, and caring portrayal, and I really liked it.

Overall this was just okay, and I’ve probably got to give up on Hibbert’s books now because I have a feeling this it the best it’ll get.

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