4,5 snickering stars
This book is a flagrant case of “bookstagram made me buy it” and I don’t regret one cent I have spent on it!
The plot is quite simple and the trope really used and abused: fake dating that will turn into ….true feelings.
But Talia Hibbert executed that trope with maestria, adding what I suppose is her own signature: humor and insight!
As you can read in the synopsis, we have Zafir Ansari, ex pro rugby player and current security guard rescuing Danika Brown in a fire drill.
Big and strong Zafir opened the doors of the closed lift with his bulging muscles and exited the building carrying trapped Dani bride style. As they were smiling like loons while looking in each other’s eyes, the students on campus were filming the rescue mission and soon enough, it will go viral on Twitter thanks to “Fluffy” alias Zafir’s niece.
They get a hashtag #DrRugbae and Zafir, initially mortified and anxious to know what Dani would think of it, offered her to fake date as that publicity stunt did wonder for his charity Takle It.
Now the Talia Hibbert’s special was a role reversal!
Usually, the man is afraid of commitment and the woman is the romantic one.
In this story, Zafir reads romances and dreams of a relationship based on love! He can’t imagine having sex without feelings!
While Dani is allergic to relationships and is just looking for a fuck buddy. She has no time for feelings and getting attached as a bad string of past relationships is proof enough.
I loved that role reversal and Zafir being a total booknerd, romance reader and big softie did nothing to diminish his masculinity nor sex appeal!
Same, Dani being quite blunt and straightforward, loving a good shag was no less woman! She rather looked like the goddess of fertility!
Another plus in this story was that the female character was not a thin white model but rather a black woman, all curvy and totally owning it! At no moment in the book does she look ugly for not meeting the traditional standards of beauty! Quite the opposite as Zafir finds her just gorgeous and perfect!
This is a very healthy perspective of beauty in literature!
Dani also owned her life and her choices! She was bold, colorful. She chose to have short pink hair and to embrace her sexuality. These qualities were paired with a brilliant mind. That’s empowering to read about such female character!
Talia Hibbert is a smart woman and uses romance to tackle some serious topics like grief, anxiety and trauma.
Zafir being an ex rugbyman you’d think he would be strong all the time but nothing is less true or rather, he suffers from panic attack and express his feelings. That does not make him weak. And that was an important message the author intended to give: expressing your feelings, acknowledging them, having anxiety and looking for help make you smart, strong and human!
Another important lesson.
These messages aside what won me to the story was the humor! The banter was amazing and I was snickering all the time, earning weird looks from passersby when I readwalk this on the street! I must have looked like a loon with the goofy smile plastered on my face!
Here are some of my favorite moments:
Context: Dani have a big gag reflex and vomited noodles all over Zafir’s crotch at lunch. They are messaging after.
“And I told you about my gag reflex. So it looks like we are both terrible listeners”
“George asked me yesterday why my crotch smelled like hot sauce. I think he thinks I have some kind of food fetish now.”
“Does he think you have a Teflon dick, too? Because a hot-sauce fetish seems extremely painful and also a high UTI risk.”
Or another one when Zafir’s sister in law is concerned with Zafir’s feelings. “Sweetie, are you crying?”
“No” he said, “I am leaking masculine pain from my eyeballs”.
Last special mention: the side characters.
They all were amazing and composed a supportive cast that I’d want playing in my corner any day! From the mastermind niece Fluffy to the quiet best friend Jamal going through the diva grand mother Gigi….all were colorful, loyal and interesting.
Recommend it? Hell yes! Especially if you have a bad day!
Have you read it?
Thanks for reading!