All The Books I Can Read

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Review: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

on November 7, 2019

The Unhoneymooners
Christina Lauren
Simon & Schuster Audio
2019, 9hrs 07m
Downloaded personal copy from

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

For two sworn enemies, anything can happen during the Hawaiian trip of a lifetime—even love—in this witty and swoonworthy romance from the New York Times bestselling duo who “hilariously depict modern dating” (Us Weekly) and authors of Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating and Roomies.

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Amy, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of…lucky.

A couple of weekends ago, I found myself feeling unwell and I thought I was coming down with the flu. I was super cold and couldn’t get warm, could feel my joints starting to ache. I went to bed, trying to stay warm and I didn’t feel up to actually reading but I was also super bored just laying in bed. So I remembered all the Audible credits I had accumulated a very long time ago and started looking for something to listen to. I don’t have a great relationship with audiobooks. I find my attention wanders and the fact that it takes me 9hrs to listen to a basic paperback I could read in 2.5 is kind of annoying. But in this case I didn’t really have much choice. I couldn’t focus enough to watch Netflix, I wasn’t tired enough to sleep. I just wanted to close my eyes and listen to something. I’d heard a lot of good things about Christina Lauren’s more recent novels and this sounded like it could be fun.

And I think it could’ve been. Look probably I’d have enjoyed it a little more if I’d read it. Because the woman who narrated read Ethan’s voice like was a college frat boy when he was a 34yo mathematician. He sounded like he belonged in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure a lot of the time, which was really distracting because it’s not really how I would’ve expected someone of his description to sound. And weirdly enough, there’s an epilogue to this book from Ethan’s point of view, which is read by a man and he doesn’t depict the voice the same way. If he’d read all of Ethan’s parts, I probably would’ve still disliked Ethan (because he’s a complete dick a lot of the time) but I’d have enjoyed the listening experience a little more.

Olive is an ‘unlucky’ kind of girl, the total opposite to her lucky sister Ami. In fact Ami is so lucky that she manages to pull together an amazing wedding for 200 guests mostly for free by winning competitions and the like. However Ami’s luck runs out when everyone except Olive and the groom’s brother Ethan get incredibly sick from the seafood buffet. Olive is allergic and Ethan doesn’t trust buffets so they are the only ones not affected. Given Ami and Olive are identical twins, Ami insists that Olive go on her all expenses paid 10 day honeymoon in Maui. And Ethan goes too, because Ami only had to give the surname of her travelling companion.

I think this book kind of helped me hone in on why I struggle with audiobooks. It’s the cringy scenes. I generally want to listen to something romancey and light and generally romance is my favourite genre. But a lot of the time, romance genre heroines have embarrassing things happen to them. Either in front of the crush/love interest or involving them. And I can skim those in a book, but I find listening to them excruciating. Really, really excruciating. The scenes just seem to go on forever. There’s a few scenes like that in this book, particularly when Olive and Ethan have to pretend to be honeymooners in Maui as the holiday is supposed to be non-transferable. So Olive is pretending to be Ami and Ethan her husband. Olive is completely shit at lying, she can’t do it and she’s incredibly crap at it, oversharing and babbling instead of just keeping things simple, so that makes for a lot of really stupid conversations.

The thing that bothered me is that so much is made of the fact that Olive can’t lie. She’s terrible at it, she has so many giveaways and anyone who knows her at all would know when she’s lying. So it makes little sense when she tells Ethan something late in the book (after they’ve gone from enemies to lovers) and he thinks she’s lying and breaks up with her. She’s not lying and she actually has nothing to gain from lying about it. And when Ethan discovers she was telling the truth, he wants to apologise but the apology is kind of weak and there’s no actual real dealing with the situation and how it made her feel and the fact that he didn’t believe her and how would they move forward from that? Instead it’s about how Olive was negative before Ethan but now she has a chance to be a different person and give him a second chance. Yikes. I’m all for giving people another chance but it felt like the book completely brushed aside the issue of Ethan not believing her to pile shit on Olive and the apparent flaws she had as a person before Ethan. It’s probable that Olive did jump to conclusions a lot and see the negative in things but I think she’d know the repercussions of what she had to tell Ethan and the fact that he didn’t believe her and dumped her over it was really an issue for me. I didn’t much like dude-bro Ethan anyway in the beginning, he got okay in the middle and then when this happened I was basically like nope. It wasn’t even a proper apology and the whole way in which he apologised was stupid. Especially given the boss that sacked her on her first day was there, inexplicably.

This was disappointing. I didn’t love the Beautiful Bastard book I read by this duo and I think this might prove that their books are not for me. They sound like they are but upon reading, I don’t think it’s the case.


Book #182 of 2019

2 responses to “Review: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

  1. Omg I don’t think I could listen to a romance read as an audiobook either. The second hand embarrassment would kill me oops!!! Fabulous honest review <333

    • Yes! This is 100% my problem haha. I get so embarrassed for them that it’s just too excruciating to keep listening. I can listen to sex scenes no problem but ones where the characters trip in public or do something stupid or have something awfully embarrassing happen? Cannot deal. It’s like it’s happening to me.

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