Wednesday, February 22, 2023

ARC Review: The Neighbor Favor by Kristina Forest

The Neighbor Favor

Kristina Forest
Publication: Berkley (February 28, 2023)

Description: A shy bookworm enlists her charming neighbor to help her score a date, not knowing he’s the obscure author she’s been corresponding with, in this sparkling and heart-fluttering romance by Kristina Forest.

Shy, bookish, and admittedly awkward, Lily Greene has always felt inadequate compared to the rest of her accomplished family, who strive for Black excellence. She dreams of becoming a children’s books editor, but she’s been frustratingly stuck in the nonfiction division for years without a promotion in sight. Lily finds escapism in her correspondences with her favorite fantasy author, and what begins as two lonely people connecting over email turns into a tentative friendship and possibly something else Lily won’t let herself entertain—until he ghosts her without a word.

Months later, Lily is still crushed, but she’s determined to get a hold of her life, starting with finding a date to her sister’s wedding. And the perfect person to help her is Nick Brown, her charming, attractive new neighbor, who she feels drawn to for reasons she can’t explain. But little does she know, Nick is an author—her favorite fantasy author.

Nick, who has his reasons for using a pen name and pushing people away, soon realizes that the beautiful, quiet girl from down the hall is the same Lily he fell in love with over email months ago. Unwilling to complicate things even more between them, he agrees to set her up with someone else, though this simple favor between two neighbors is anything but—not when he can't get her off his mind...

My Thoughts: Two people meet by chance when she discovers that the author of one of her favorite books has finally gotten a website and sends an email, and the author writes back to her. This starts a six-month correspondence that lets them get to know each other before he ghosts her.

Lily Greene is the youngest in her very successful family and is feeling the family pressure to succeed. She wants to edit children's books but is stuck working as the assistant of a demanding publisher on nonfiction. Nick Brown is a man who writes for a travel magazine and is constantly on the move. Oh, and he wrote a fantasy book when he was twenty-two.

When Nick's college roommate who is now an agent in New York sells his book to a new publisher, Nick finds himself faced with a life change. Now he has to own up to his book and write two sequels. He's chosen to come to New York to do this partly in the hopes of meeting the woman he wrote all those emails to. 

However, Nick didn't expect to be renting an apartment on the same floor as Lily or finding it hard to tell her that he is the one who communicated with her for so long and then broke her heart when he stopped writing. 

They get together when she needs a date for her sister's wedding that isn't organized by one of her sisters and asks Nick to go with her or, at least, find her a date. 

I enjoyed this story of two people who find each other, lose each other, and find each other again. I liked that each of them was vulnerable. I liked the way their new relationship grew slowly and resulted in personal growth for both of them. 

Both of the characters are Black and some of the Black experience did inform their lives and choices. 

Favorite Quote:
"It's not what it looks like," Nick said quickly.

"Riiiight." Lily backed away from him.

"Last weekend was Yolanda's half-birthday," Nick said, lowering his voice. "We had a small celebration at her apartment and I forgot my boxers."

"It's really not my business. But how could you possibly have forgotten your boxers, of all things?"
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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