“Be yourself as a fully realized, three-dimensional woman, do the things I know you enjoy and also be a scientist. It doesn’t have to be fashion and makeup, it can be video games and running, or dancing challenges and DIY projects. You can be a person and a woman and a scientist, you can show all sides. And in doing so, you can reach an audience that never would’ve considered the fact that being both—being yourself and being a scientist—is actually possible.”
Title: Ten Trends to Seduce Your Best Friend
Author: Penny Reid
Summary: Winnifred Gobaldi and Byron Visser are not best friends.
Yes, they’ve known each other for years, but they’re not even friendly. Winnie considers them more like casual, distant acquaintances who find each other barely tolerable, especially when he’s being condescending (which is all the time).
The truth is, they have nothing in common. She’s a public school science teacher with stars in her eyes, and he’s a pretentious, joyless double PhD turned world-famous bestselling fiction author. She loves sharing her passion for promulgating women in STEM careers and building community via social media, and he eschews all socialization, virtual or otherwise. She’s looking for a side hustle to help pay down a mountain of student debt, and his financial portfolio is the stuff of fiduciary wet dreams. So why are they faking a #bestfriend relationship for millions of online spectators?
When a simple case of tit-for-tat trends between nonfriends leads to a wholly unexpected kind of pretend, nothing is simple. Sometimes, it takes a public audience to reveal the truth of private feelings, and rarely—very rarely—you should believe what you see online. (Goodreads)
Winnie has a shot at a new job as a community manager for a STEM based nonprofit, which means she has a chance to actually make some money. As an avid social media user, Winnie has carved out a small piece of the Internet to share her love of science, but to get the job her best friend insists she needs to add to her repertoire. And what better way to attract girls and women to science that participating in girly interests and fun trends?
Enter Byron Visser. After a disastrous attempt to film challenge videoes with a mutual friend, Byron gets frustrated and volunteers to be ab example. What no one realizes at the time is Winnie’s best friend, Amelia, accidentally live streamed their trial, and their chemistry caused it to go viral.
Now Winnie and Byron have to navigate their complicated feelings or attraction and frustration while filming challenges that make it look like they’re falling in love.
I might have majored in English, but I have a love of science, too! I especially loved chemistry, but the math and experiments couldn’t lure me from my love of books and everything about them. The fact that there are romance books out there that incorporate science and romance just make me so bubbly inside.
I wouldn’t describe this book as enemies to lovers simply because Winnie might think Byron doesn’t like her, but he does. So much. He’s just not great at reading social cues or expressing himself. It’s definitely a grumpy x sunshine book though! Winnie feels so genuine; she’s passionate and does things out of love rather than for any sort personal gain. She’s quirky, but not in an overly annoying way. Byron, however, is the complete opposite of Winnie. He’s a gifted writer with multiple degrees, two PhDs, and a bestselling book series. It’s not explicitly stated, but heavily implied that Byron has a form of autism. He doesn’t like people and fully believes people should work their wage.
They shouldn’t work, but they make the other better. Winnie makes Byron want to explore things outside of his comfort zone while Byron makes Winnie consider her needs and wants before those of the people around her all the time.
While the grumpy x sunshine trope is important, Reid is heavily dependent on the miscommunication trope. Byron can be a little too serious, a little too direct, whereas Winnie can be joking and non confrontational. It leads to a lot of moments where they aren’t on the same page and they’re really talking about two separate things, which leads to more messy conversations.
Byron and Winnie both have their own baggage which further affects how they treat each other and what they believe the other feels about them, and it’s made all the more complicated with the TikTok challenges they have to film. They have to pretend to be best friends falling in love while pretending they’re not friends in love. It’s a complicated scenario! I personally really loved the TikTok challenge aspect of the story and would have loved if there was more of a focus on them rather than as passing moments or triggers for a different plot point.
The only thing that irked me was that we don’t actually get to read about them sleeping together! They’re both virgins, and this book is by no means closed door, so I don’t know why Reid dragged out the actual sex and didn’t follow through on it. I felt strung along! There were lots of moments where it was implied the sex would be mind boggling, like dirty talk and foreplay, but nothing ever actually happens on page, and I found that to be a massive letdown, especially considering there was so much buildup for the moment. It would’ve been a great opportunity to show how far Byron and Winnie have come since thinking they hated each other, to overcoming their relationship stop ups, and confronting their feelings and efforts. A fully missed opportunity!
Either way, this book made me giggle and kick my feet. I’m already planning my next Penny Reid read! I’m sensing a new favorite a la Ali Hazelwood.