Not You It’s Me by Julie Johnson

It reads like a primer for romance tropes. Like a cliche how-to.

1) The Spunky Heroine – “she’s different. Trust me.” She meets our hero wearing a bridesmaid dress and converse. I believe this is supposed to convey that she’s a “mad-cap gal,” but it’s tacky. And I own 7 pair of converse. We also get the “I’m done with men” speech. The “I don’t care about your money” speech and the “I don’t need a relationship – I don’t believe in love” speech. She’s an artist. She’s beautiful but doesn’t know it.

2) Insta-Connection – these people sat side by side at a hoops game. They spoke for a few minutes – it wasn’t soul-baring shit. They kissed for the kiss cam. An hour later they discussed a one night stand. But our hero just couldn’t do it – he needed to protect out tender heroine. And suddenly they were denying these deep feelings for each other. Really, honey? The immediacy of this connection stripped the book of any and all validity. I have deeper conversation with the chick in the DD window handing me my pumpkin spice coffee each morning. I’ve yet to swoon over her.

3) Proximity to the Hero Makes Our Heroine a Moron – I get being goofy around a crush. However losing the ability to speak while ole boy remains cooler than the other side of the pillow is demeaning, embarrassing and really makes it hard to like the heroine. If their relationship is this unbalanced I feel bad for her.

4) The Jerky Boyfriend – we start our adventure learning she’s a doormat. 4 months with an unattractive cheater who only mocks and derides her. People treat you the way you let them. I can’t like a character that loathes themself.

5) A Man-War in Which She’s A Victim/Weapon – our hero’s random predatory family member decides the heroine is a tool to destroy the hero. Said family member is creepy, obsessed and stalkerish. Our heroine is no longer a person – just a prize in a man’s war. And the hero becomes uber bossy (which is supposed to be an indicator of his deep feelings and need to protect) but really just minimizes the heroine as a person. She’s an object to be bandied about and saved.

6) The Angry Ex – a woman materializes to threaten our heroine. Comes to her work. Calls her a bitch. Tells her to back off. She’s gorgeous and perfect. “This is the kind of woman our hero dates!” thinks our heroine. “How can I compete?” Really? How can you compete with someone so shriveled on the inside that they need to piss all over their territory? Someone lacking in confidence and common decency? But this woman is pretty so our heroine knows she must be our hero’s soulmate.

In summation – It was bad. It was real bad.

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