ARC Review: “What’s Not to Love” by Emily Wibberly & Austin Siegemund-Broka

Thanks to PenguinTeen for giving me a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review. (Yes, I know I’m behind, sorry!)

Look, y’all. My first Wibbroka book and I thought, “Yes! Finally reading what everyone else has been saying are a great YA contemporary pair!” And the thing is… Maybe I just went into this one with a lot of expectation. Perhaps I should have started with their first book. Alas, I did no such thing.

Title: What’s Not to Love
Author(s): Emily Wibberly & Austin Siegemund-Broka
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Expected release date: April 20, 2021
Genre: Young adult, contemporary, romance
Length: 400 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “Since high school began, Alison Sanger and Ethan Molloy have competed on almost everything. AP classes, the school paper, community service, it never ends. If Alison could avoid Ethan until graduation, she would. Except, naturally, for two over-achieving seniors with their sights on valedictorian and Harvard, they share all the same classes and extracurriculars. So when their school’s principal assigns them the task of co-planning a previous class’s ten-year reunion, with the promise of a recommendation for Harvard if they do, Ethan and Alison are willing to endure one more activity together if it means beating the other out of the lead.

But with all this extra time spent in each other’s company, their rivalry begins to feel closer to friendship. And as tension between them builds, Alison fights the growing realization that the only thing she wants more than winning…is Ethan.”

I thought I would love an enemies-to-lovers but this was just… a lot of competitiveness and egging on one another that I didn’t care for. Maybe because my high school experience was just so much different than Alison and Ethan’s that I felt completely disconnected. And quite honestly, I didn’t really care for Alison very much. She’s extremely judgmental and not a nice person. How in the world is she (or Ethan for that matter!) even alive after all their classes and what appears to be a lack of sleep on Alison’s part? I would have absolutely loved Ethan’s POV because we would have got his slow realization that he actually likes Alison and really, how adorable would that have been? Instead I’m stuck with a stuck-up Alison who is 100% confident in what she wants in life (that’s fine), but has serious qualms about her older sister and her life decisions when… Hello? Alison’s sister’s world was turned completely upside down.

I did, however, like the contrast between Alison knowing exactly what she wants juxtaposed against Ethan who didn’t really seem sure of much—except that he wants to be Alison’s rival and built his high school experience around that. I just… I don’t know. I’m really disappointed I didn’t like this because I flat out wanted to.

Does Alison become more understanding? Yes! And that’s fine but it felt so weird for her to judge everyone around her while she sat in her seemingly perfect bubble with extreme confidence. It was frustrating and to be quite honest, one of the reasons I finished this in a decent amount of time is I forced myself to do so and lightly skimmed some paragraphs. #sorrynotsorry

Now I feel turned off of these authors and it makes me sad. Maybe I’ll try one of their previous books as an audiobook or something.

You can purchase this book from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, or Bookshop.org.

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3 thoughts on “ARC Review: “What’s Not to Love” by Emily Wibberly & Austin Siegemund-Broka

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