Mr. Wrong Number

Berkley. Mar. 2022. 352p. ISBN 9780593437261. pap. $16. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Olivia Marshall returns home to Omaha after accidentally setting her Chicago apartment building on fire. Her brother had offered to let her stay with him, but he neglected to mention that he’s renting a room from Colin Beck. Handsome, rich, unbearably obnoxious Colin Beck. Olivia is feeling pretty down when she gets a wrong-number text and starts communicating with the stranger on the other end, a stranger who seems to understand her better than anyone in her “real” life. Their conversation gets increasingly flirty and they’re both dancing around the idea of meeting in person until Colin sees Olivia’s phone screen, figures out that they’re each other’s mystery misdial, and cuts off contact to avoid embarrassing her when she realizes Colin knows all her secrets. Painter (Better Than the Movies) overdoes the klutzy-but-intrepid heroine trope by a factor of 10—at one point, Olivia repairs a broken heel with chewing gum on the way to a job interview—and the banter, both on the phone and in person, is lackluster.
VERDICT An optional purchase.
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