The Romantic Agenda

Berkley. Apr. 2022. 336p. ISBN 9780593336632. pap. $16. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
In Kann’s (Let’s Talk About Love) adult debut, Joy has known and loved Malcolm since college, but they’ve never dated. Instead they have become inseparable best friends. They have such a close relationship that Malcolm’s girlfriends often get jealous, so Joy is surprised when he asks her to come away on vacation with him; his new girlfriend, Summer; and Summer’s friend Fox. Fox quickly surmises that Joy has feelings for Malcolm and confides that he doesn’t think Malcolm is good enough for Summer. He proposes a fake relationship that will provoke Malcolm into breaking up with Summer and declaring his love for Joy. But as Joy lets down her guard and begins to trust Fox, she discovers that her heart might have enough room for more than one person. This well-written contemporary romance features a strong, likable heroine and an adorably grumpy hero. The story is told from Joy’s point of view, and her anxiety and insecurities, her asexuality, and her dreams for the future provide believable motivations for her actions.
VERDICT The novel has a complex and layered plot, making for a slow-burn friends-to-lovers romance readers won’t want to put down. Recommended for general purchase.
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