Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Book Review: A Sweet Mess

I love romantic comedies. I know some people have asked me why I love these things when I know that the two characters are going to end up together anyway. For me, as cliché as it may sound, it is not about the destination, it is about the journey to get there.

Credit: Macmillan Publishers

A Sweet Mess is a book by Jayci Lee that features Asian American characters. I first discovered it when I saw the IG post of a certain celebrity showing that she was reading this book. Then I read an article that this is about to be turned into a movie produced by former Hawaii Five-O actor Daniel Dae Kim. I heard that he also plans to star in it which, after reading the book, seems a little odd considering how much younger the character is supposed to be. But hey, it is Hollywood, where 20-somethings can play high school students. Should I even be surprised?

Anyway, this book is about Aubrey Choi, who left her family to chase her dream of owning her own bakery/pastry shop. Her shop gets a bad review from a popular food critic, Landon Kim, who later finds out that he made a mistake giving her a bad review since he had tried a cake that was a special order from a child, which explained the weird combination of ingredients.  Unable to retract the review, he offers her a spot on the cooking show he is producing to give her the publicity that could put her reputation back on track.

With the two of them living together in one house while the show is being made, sparks flying between the two were bound to happen, especially since they had gotten together once before as a  “one night stand” when they did not know each other or expect to see each other again. 

As with most love stories, there is a complication when the two are finding it hard to deny their feelings for each other. They were together to help save their reputations but getting together would also damage it considering that people would think that they were only saving Aubrey’s reputation for their relationship. 

Technically, there is not much comedy in this, but it is more light-hearted than a romance/drama. Even when the plot delves into the relationships the lead characters have with their families, I feel like it still does not go into the heavy stuff too much to affect the tone of the entire story.

Compared to other romance novels, the book does not get too graphic when it comes to intimate moments, but it still provides a whole lot of steam without going too much into detail. A certain swimming pool scene comes to mind, but it is something for the reader to find out about when they read the book. I cannot help but wonder how they will take on that scene in the movie.

Did I like this book? I can say that it was OK. It enjoyed reading it but it wasn’t something that blew my mind. It did not give me much of the kilig feels that I expected, even with the steamy scenes in it. Maybe I expected too much when I read it was going to be a movie. Maybe it gave me a bit of bias going in. I am not sure.

What I do love is that books like this that feature Asian characters are more common now than when I was younger. I love that there is more representation these days. Mostly though, I have been seeing mostly Chinese and Koreans. It would be nice to see a romantic comedy featuring Filipino characters get the international spotlight one day soon. With all the great books coming out of the people from Romance Class, I am willing to bet it will happen sooner rather than later! 


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