Friday, March 26, 2021

Book Review: The Substitute

Picture this: you are going home to your parents because your mom has planned your wedding – to a fiancée that you have already broken up with. You could not find the words to tell your parents about because they have already spent so much on the wedding, so you go home on the date agreed anyway. What are you going to do? If you are Megan Vandemeer, you could get lucky and meet someone like Josh McMillan on your flight home. This is the story of the book The Substitute by Denise Grover Swank. 

In this story, Megan gets drunk on the flight and Josh tries to help her off the plane to her family. They mistake him for her fiancée, and he goes along with it because he found out that one of the people that he planned to investigate during his trip was Megan’s father. 


Credit: Denise Grover Swank

I thought that the premise of this book was hilarious because for one thing, how could you get engaged and have your mother plan your wedding even if they have never seen or met the guy? Still, the way the characters were presented and the complicated family dynamic they had I think it made a bit of sense.  It was also a stroke of luck that the purpose of Josh’s trip, which was to find out who stole their company’s idea and applied for the patent ahead of them, was made easier by becoming an insider in the Vandemeer family.  

I thought that the relationship between Megan and Josh was cute, particularly since they had chemistry and they had to pretend that they had been in a relationship for a long time. All the almost-but-not-quite-caught moments added to the feels of this story. Of course, it would not be a good romance if it did not have its share of villains, who try to stop whatever it was that was going on between the two of them.  

There are so many characters in this book, some of whom have spinoff books of their own that I plan on reading in the future because I enjoyed this one. It was a sure sign that I loved this when I could picture certain actors as the characters in the story. One character, however, that I could not imagine any actor for was also one of my favorites: Megan’s grandmother. She was this old lady who wore what she wanted, did, and said what she wanted – often with hilarious results. There was never a dull moment when she was around! I loved how she did naked yoga and wanted to sketch Josh’s butt! That was so funny! 

While some of the events in this book seem too unrealistic, I opted to enjoy reading them unfold instead of picking on what was too much or what did not make sense. It was a fun ride that led to two people falling in love and having their issues with their families work out in the end. It was a whirlwind romance that both did not expect when they were on the flight to Kansas, but it ended up being a happily-ever-after for them anyway. 

If you like a feel-good romance with the pretend-relationship trope, this is a good and quick read. There are some funny moments, some romantic ones, and some notable moments of friendship. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the books on this series. Will try to write reviews on them when I am done. 

If you ever decide to read the book after seeing this review, please let me know. I would love to know what you think! 


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