A fresh, fun contemporary rom-com from debut author Elle Gonzalez Rose, about an aspiring artist who agrees to fake date one of his family’s longtime enemies in the hopes of gathering intel good enough to take down their rivals once and for all.
Devin Baez is ready for a relaxing winter break at Lake Andreas. That is, until he runs into his obnoxious next-door neighbors the Seo-Cookes, undefeated champions of the lake’s annual Winter Games. In the hope of finally taking down these long-time rivals, the Baezes offer up their beloved cabin in a bet. Reckless? Definitely.
So when annoyingly handsome Julian Seo-Cooke finds himself in need of a fake boyfriend, Devin sees an opportunity to get behind enemy lines and prove the family plays dirty.
As long as Devin and Julian’s families are at war, there’s only room for loathing between them. Which is a problem because, for Devin, this faux game of love is feeling very real.
After an underwhelming first semester at CalArts, Latinx-cued Devin Báez plans to spend his winter break working on his application for a prestigious animator's mentorship. He's eager to commune with his family at their Lake Andreas cabin in Florida, but his father and stepmother's fixing up the place to sell it makes Devin's much-needed vacation feel bittersweet. When Dev runs into Julian Seo-Cookes, the son of the Báez's Korean and Cuban American rivals, the years-old grudge between the two families heats up, culminating in a wager: whoever wins the upcoming annual Lake Andreas Winter Games determines the cabin's future. Things get complicated, however, when Julian asks Dev to be his pretend boyfriend to ward off his ex, and Dev, seeing an opportunity to spy on his enemy, agrees. But fake feelings gradually become real in Rose's fast-paced rom-com debut. While predictable in its adherence to genre expectations and quintessential story lines surrounding fake dating and family rivalries, this energetic and hilarious tale boasts fun-in-the-sun shenanigans and a Shakespearean aura in the protagonist's clear chemistry, prank exchanges, and stolen kisses. Ages 12–up.