Author: Christina Lauren
Rating: 4 Stars
Dates read: 06 May 19
Publication date: 04 Oct 2016
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre(s): New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
A FREE-SPIRITED GIRL IN NEED OF A BREAK.
A MAN WEIGHED DOWN BY RESPONSIBILITY.
A ROAD TRIP VACATION WHERE ALL BETS ARE OFF.
OH, AND A LOT OF WINE.
After walking in on her boyfriend shagging another girl in their place, Pippa Bay Cox ditches London for the States to go on a drunken road trip with Ruby Miller and some of her Beautiful friends.
Scaling the career ladder is the default way to deal with heartbreak—and to just deal—for Jensen Bergstrom. Absolutely buried by his drive and workload, he rarely takes time for himself. But when his sister Hanna convinces him to join the gang on a two-week wine tour, he has a rare moment of cutting loose. Of course, it’s only once he’s committed that he realizes the strange girl he met briefly on the plane is coming along, too. She might be too much for him…or he might realize his life has become too small and needs her to make it bigger, crazier.
With this circle of friends there’s always something going on: from Chloe and Sara’s unexpected personality swaps to Will’s new domestic side to Bennett’s text message barrage and George’s own happily-ever-after. In short, their adventures in love, friendship, and hilarity are nothing short of Beautiful
I really liked this one, but I didn’t love it. Yes, that sounds contradictory, but it’s my review so I don’t care. I felt like it was a good end to the series, or to the books that have been released so far. The fake dating/fake love premise is something that I usually love to read about, so I was quite surprised that I didn’t adore it in this instance.
I wasn’t completely in love with the lead characters in this story. I loved the characters that came before and think the the introduction and development of this pair was one step too far really. Yes, their introduction on the plane and reintroduction at the part was funny and interesting, but the road trip relationship just didn’t sit well with me. I feel like it was forced by the situation (his ex accidentally crashing their vineyard tour) and by the other characters and that even though they worked relatively well, they didn’t mesh as well as characters in earlier instalments.
The sex in this book, and to be honest, the relationship dynamic between Pippa and Jensen was wholly forgettable. The scenes didn’t seem to connect the characters and the story in the way they have with the others, and I think that they felt too forced and just not that great to read. For me, they were a distraction from other elements of the book and from the other characters and I could have very much done without them!
I did, however, absolutely love the way the character came together. I liked seeing the snippets of the other characters I’ve enjoyed. I liked seeing the evolution of their stories and lives, and seeing how things have changed. I liked following the characters I liked further (Will and Hanna *cough*) in a more relaxed setting. I just liked all of this. This kind of thing is why I stick with this premise of picking up a minor character from the first book and making the sequel about them, because I like how it follows and segues and moves and interlinks.
The house party and road trips were amazing ways to showcase these characters. The hilarious pregnancy personality swaps between Chloe and Sara really showcased the depth of knowledge we have about these characters, and the playful group texts were strangely reminiscent of sharing information and news in the real world, but seeing it with our characters. I like that Christina Lauren even gave side characters like George a happy ending and joined them together, and also showed us a glimpse of the children that make up the growing group brood.
I am kinda sad that this series finished and that the instalments have all been finished. I have read a lot of Christina Lauren books, a lot that were published around the same time and once published since. They connect with their characters well and are wonderful at constructing unique conversations and dynamics that feel both unrealistically wild and realistically relatable. I would love to have learnt a little more about the characters and read more into their lives, especially Will and Hanna, but unless they’re going back, I am pleased at how this ended.