I love Lauren Blakely. I do. I stumbled on her by accident after I read I Flippin’ Love You by Helena Hunting and wanted another rom-com, and I found The Real Deal. I flippin’ loved it more than Hunting’s book. Fake boyfriend trope, for the win. In fact, I loved it so much, I went out on Kindle and ordered just about every Blakely title I could find. I’ve read some of them, but not all of them… she’s always there, like a good friend, with a new book waiting to be discovered on my Kindle.
When I found out Lauren—first name, cause we’re totally buds now, ha!—was going to be signing at an author event that I just happened to be attending as a reader, I was thrilled. I was going to get to meet her! Which I did, I was in a total fangirl puddle and I also walked out of there with even MORE Lauren Blakely books.
Now… of the now six Lauren Blakely titles I’ve read completely, Unzipped was probably my least favorite. It wasn’t bad—and it was so loaded with eighties pop culture references that my little heart went pitter pat.
The gist is that Kyler decides to grand gesture his way back into his college girlfriend’s heart a decade later. Yeah, that’s believable—because neither one of them had changed and she’d just take him back with open arms. What the hell? Short sighted, much, Kyler? But when he goes to her window, boombox in hand (a la Say Anything), he gets the wrong girl. Or the right girl. Because she’s going to come down from her second story window and she’s going to take him under his wing and teach him how to be a real man to win back the girl of his dreams. He does finally win the girl of his dreams using her advice, but it’s not who he expects it to be.
Finley, as the female main character, is everything I love about a main character. She’s quirky and offbeat, she’s fun, and most importantly, she’s (mostly) real. I could picture being friends with her, especially since, hello, she’s a writer too. We tend to stick together. It’s just a thing.
Now, Kyler—ahem, Tom—on the other hand, not so much. This dude needed a bitch slap. More than once, I might add. He’s supposed to be so damn good looking, intelligent, and clueless at the same time. Now, I’ll give Blakely credit where credit is due, men are clueless. I’m not going to debate that at all. That said, when Finley finally figures out where he went wrong all those years ago with his first real girlfriend, all the douche alarms are going off in my head. Danger Will Robinson, danger! Granted this is a fantasy world where the men don’t fart, steal the covers, and always give their women orgasms, but still, our male leads are supposed to make us swoon. He did not make me swoon.
Plus, let’s put this in perspective here… he was so whiny and hung up on a girl who broke up with him TEN YEARS BEFORE. Like, dude, seriously, that ship sailed and no amount of 80s references will win her back. Why did she break up with you a decade ago? You were a douche. You were a douche then and you’re whiny now, albeit with a cool effing job. Either way, both your ex and the girl you end up with can do better.
Sorry, Lauren. Your writing, as always, was phenomenal and I love how many pop culture references you always throw into your work, but Kyler just killed this book for me. I’m sorry. I still love you though.