Sometimes true love takes a little heavy lifting
"The most hilarious disaster bisexuals you’ll ever meet.” —Dahlia Adler, Buzzfeed Books
This irresistible adult debut from beloved YA author Jennifer Dugan is a queer romcom for fans of Delilah Green Doesn’t Care and Written in the Stars, in which a gym employee accidentally ruins her bosses’ daughter’s wedding, then even more accidentally falls for the runaway bride...
The gym is Lizzie’s life—it’s her passion, her job, and the only place that’s ever felt like home. Unfortunately, her bosses consider her a glorified check-in girl at best, and the gym punching bag at worst.
When their son, Lizzie’s best friend, James, begs her to be his plus one at his perfect sister Cara’s wedding, things go wrong immediately, and culminate in Lizzie giving a drunken pep talk to a hot stranger in the women’s bathroom—except that stranger is actually the bride-to-be, and Lizzie has accidentally convinced her to ditch her groom.
Now, newly directionless Cara is on a quest to find herself, and Lizzie—desperate to make sure her bosses never find out her role in this fiasco—gets strong-armed by James into “entertaining” her. Cara doesn’t have to know it’s a setup; it’ll just be a quick fling before she sobers up and goes back to her real life. After all, how could someone like Cara fall for someone like Lizzie, with no career and no future?
But the more Lizzie gets to know Cara, the more she likes her, and the bigger the potential disaster if any of her rapidly multiplying secrets get out. Because now it’s not just Lizzie’s job and entire future on the line, but also the girl of her dreams.
This sentimental and lightly fitness-themed sapphic romance, Dugan's adult debut (after the YA novel Some Girls Do), centers themes of social class and found family. Gym attendant Lizzie McCarthy agrees to accompany personal trainer James Madalay—her best friend, coworker, and the son of her bosses—to his sister's wedding, largely in hopes of getting on his parents' radar for a promotion. She meets an attractive and distressed drunk woman in the bathroom at the rehearsal dinner and advises her to leave her unappreciative partner, not realizing that she's speaking to the bride, Cara, who then walks away from the wedding. Cara crashes with James in the wake of this catastrophe, and James encourages Lizzie to act as her distraction, not expecting the connection between the women to turn to romance. It's a cute premise, but the antagonists—James and Cara's snooty parents and Lizzie's dysfunctional mother—are disappointingly flat. Meanwhile, Lizzie's shift from thinking "My home isn't a person, my home is the gym" to making grand romantic gestures feels a bit abrupt. Still, the endearing dynamic between James, Cara, and Lizzie as they brave fear of intimacy in both friendship and love carries the story. There's plenty to enjoy here.