Updated: Sep 26, 2022
Title: The UnHoneymooners
Author: Christina Lauren
Published: 14th May 2019
Genres: Romance, Humour, Contemporary Romance, Fiction Pages: 400
Start Date: 19th July 2022
Finish Date: 23rd July 2022
Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, and in well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests. Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.
Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.
Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of... lucky.
This is the first Christina Lauren Book I have read and I will be honest, this was so funny, this was so heartwarming. This is a hate to love, enemies to lovers, fake dating romance that features two characters who are forced to be around each other because their siblings are marrying each other.
And these two had a very rocky, and very confusing, first meeting. But they are trying their best to put their differences aside for this wedding, even if they are antagonizing each other every single chance they get. But the wedding takes an unexpected turn when everyone gets sick from the seafood buffet that was served, except for Olive and Ethan, since neither of them ate from it.
Their siblings insist that they take their Hawaii honeymoon, instead of letting the trip go to waste! And they both decide to, because once they get to Maui, they won’t have to see each other except for sleeping. That is, until Olive's boss and Ethan’s ex fiancé happen to be at the same resort, and they are forced to play the part of happy newlyweds, because Olive doesn’t want to get caught using their sibling’s honeymoon by the resort and be forced to pay for it out of their own pocket, and Ethan doesn’t want his ex to see him single. And honestly? It was just the perfect fake dating setup, let’s be real.
And I truly believe the banter in this book is the best that these authors have ever crafted. It’s smart, witty, and truly hilarious. I also just loved Olive and Ethan as characters so much, and I easily shipped them together; maybe harder than any Christina Lauren characters. The setting was perfect, the plot was genius, and this was just an overall really easy book to escape into and love.
But I am very curious to see how plus-sized reviewers are going to feel about the representation in this book. This is not my lane, so please know that while reading this paragraph, but this book puts a huge emphasis on how Olive thinks Ethan fat-shamed and body-shamed her. She constantly talks about her body, her curves, her stress baking and eating, and how things look on her body, and even tears clothing that’s too small for her, while always kind of comparing herself to her thin twin sister. Like, I was 100% sure Olive was plus-sized through the entire start of this book, but then, once they arrive in Hawaii, it seems like the only big and curvy thing about her is her breasts, which are obviously perfect! And then, at the end of this book it starts feeling like she and her thin sister are identical in bodies, too, and she also gets compared to Selena Gomez. Like, I just didn’t understand. It was like they wanted to have a plus-sized main character, but they didn’t want to actually go there or hire any beta readers. Like, again, this isn’t my lane, and I’m obviously not saying that thin people can’t have body dysmorphia or just have unhealthy relationships with food and their bodies, but the way this read personally felt bad to me. I just honestly think this book could be really triggering because of the emphasis it has on Oliva’s relationship with food and her inner monologue about her thoughts about her body, while also painting a very hazy picture of her actual body.
Also, there is a very small conversation between Olive’s family members questioning if a family member is queer, and to be completely honest, it was really badly done. "Because lesbians use those strap-on things" and apparently have short haircuts. And I completely understand it was supposed to be funny because older generations “don’t get it” or whatever, but it wasn’t cute; it was offensive and poorly done. Like, it was so minuscule, and I have no idea why it was even part of the book or why editors thought it was a good thing to keep included, but it just made me side eye and put a bad taste in my mouth.
Okay, I know those last two paragraphs seem bad, and they are, I’m not making light of them whatsoever! But I will say that if you took those two elements out, this is a really good book. It was laugh out loud funny, it was romantic and swoon worthy, and I really shipped this enemies to lovers dynamic. I never wanted to leave Olive, Ethan, or Hawaii.
I loved watching Ethan and Olive together. They seriously cracked me up. Olive is an endearing main character. Her luck was awful, but maybe at the end she really did end up being the lucky one. And Ethan. Ethan is hilarious, sweet, and completely misunderstood. Olive realizes that soon enough.
Where this was a fun rom-com, there were also a lot of obstacles this couple faced. It wasn’t all laughs and smiles. There was a bit of drama, a bit of angst, but overall it was hilarious, sweet, had the best banter, and I adored it! For all my friends that love a good enemies to lovers story and a book that will make you laugh out loud, pick this one up!!
The reason I went with a 4 star instead of a 5 star rating is a bit complex, and I'll try to unpack it below, complete with spoiler tags. While I understand that this is fiction, I felt conflicted about how the book ended. Once Olive and Ethan return from the "honeymoon" and insert themselves into real life mode, they have some issues that they have to deal with involving family members on both sides. On the one hand, I love how we see Olive grow as a person, taking ownership for her shortcomings and choices in life, and becoming ok with who she is and finding who she wants to be in her professional career. This portion felt deeper than in previous "fluffy" novels, which perhaps raised my expectations on how the ending would handle her and Ethan's "disagreement". After everything Olive goes through in trying to start a discussion involving Dane's unacceptable behavior, I was really disappointed that, after Ethan was such an ass LITERALLY until the last possible second, how quickly Olive took him back and how little everyone seemed to think the way he acted was ok. For me, his behavior was the last in a major list of red flags, and I think an ending on par with CoHo's "It Ends With Us" where each character finds themselves without getting back together would have been more effective. Obviously, this is just personal preference, and a small blot in an otherwise delicious, steamy, feel good romp. Highly recommended for anyone who needs a good laugh and a story you can fly through in record time.