A Guide to Being Just Friends

St. Martin’s Griffin. (Jansen Brothers, Bk. 3). Jan. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9781250624208. pap. $16.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Following How To Love Your Neighbor, Sullivan concludes her “Jansen Brothers” trilogy with a friends-to-lovers romance featuring Wes (the eldest Jansen) and salad-shop owner Hailey, in an updated When Harry Met Sally. After a barista writes Hailey’s name incorrectly, and Wes thinks his blind date is blatantly avoiding him, an awkward meet-cute morphs into a tentative friendship when the two keep meeting. The titular guide is a pact between the two to emphasize their single status—Wes has sworn off romance after his parent’s disastrous divorce, and Hailey is freshly out of an emotionally unfulfilling relationship—until both develop feelings and debate whether to potentially compromise their friendship. While Sullivan skips the theatrics when pushing her leads apart, her writing is missing that quintessential spark connoisseurs of romance may crave.
VERDICT A cozy, contemporary romance wrapping up an otherwise average trilogy. Recommended for libraries with an extensive romance collection or those already invested in the series.
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