There is just something I hate about a book where I can see the disaster from the beginning. I don’t do well with the stress, and a romance based on a deception is a hard thing for me to roll with. That being said, I rather enjoyed Everything But the Truth. This is the sixth book in the Bloomsbury “If Only” series of books where the only thing that ties them together is the theme – you always want what you can’t have. Each book is a standalone contemporary YA romance, and they are clean and sweet reads that I would hand to anyone from my sixth grade cousin to my grandmother. I have read several in this series, and they are hit or miss, but this is definitely a strong addition.
If Only . . . she wasn’t pretending to be someone else! The If Only romance line continues in this fun rags-to-riches romance.
Holly Mathews’ mom is the new manager of a ritzy retirement home, and they just moved in. But having super-rich retirees as her only neighbors isn’t a total bust, because the gorgeous, notorious Malik Buchannan is the grandson of a resident. Just one problem: when they meet, Malik assumes Holly is there to visit her own rich relative. She doesn’t correct him, and it probably doesn’t matter, because their flirtation could never turn into more than a superficial fling . . . right? But the longer she lives in his privileged world, the deeper Holly falls for Malik, and the harder it is to tell the truth . . . because coming clean might mean losing him.
For anyone who has dreamed of their own Cinderella story, this romance shows that when it comes to true love, the best person to be is yourself!
The romance is sweet and clean, and the characters are interesting and original. I particularly enjoyed Holiday’s furniture moving obsession, and her interest in antiques – it was just quirky enough to be new but it was real enough to be believable. This isn’t a really long read, so most of the other characters are surface characters, but they don’t feel shallow, so I didn’t have any complaints. The plot moved quickly but took the time to savor the romance part of the love story, and the central relationship was well developed and thoughtful. I would honestly let this author plan my next date, because she got the ones in here so right. I also thought it was a pretty cool thing that the book took place in a retirement home. That sounds so strange, but there is such a nice parallel about how people, no matter what stage of life they are in, are always having to adjust to big changes in life, whether it is giving up something you thought you really were essential to or letting relationships evolve with the changes life throws at you. This book offers a lot of diversity, almost so much that it is a little suspect, but I think that means a wide audience can find something to connect with. As I said, I’m not a fan of deception dating books, and this one dragged the climax of discovery out a long time, which meant the resolution was a little too rushed, but, overall, I was pretty pleased with this quick and loveable romance. Language and situations are appropriate for grades 7+.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for son honest review.