Her Good Side by Rebekah Weatherspoon
for an extremely cute fake-dating story, for characters I loved, for a heartwarming story with a little silliness thrown in
Sixteen-year-old Bethany Greene, though confident and self-assured, is what they call a late-bloomer. She’s never had a boyfriend, date, or first kiss. She’s determined to change that but after her crush turns her down cold for Homecoming–declaring her too inexperienced–and all her back-up ideas fall through, she cautiously agrees to go with her best friend’s boyfriend Jacob. A platonic date is better than no date, right? Until Saylor breaks up with said boyfriend.
Dumped twice in just two months, Jacob Yeun wonders if he’s the problem. After years hiding behind his camera and a shocking summer glow up, he wasn’t quite ready for all the attention or to be someone’s boyfriend. There are no guides for his particular circumstances, or for taking your ex’s best friend to the dance.
Why not make the best of an awkward situation? Bethany and Jacob decide to fake date for practice, building their confidence in matters of the heart.
And it works–guys are finally noticing Bethany. But things get complicated as their kissing sessions–for research of course!–start to feel real. This arrangement was supposed to help them in dating other people, but what if their perfect match is right in front of them?
I was so excited for this book, and I’m glad I wasn’t disappointed. I felt like everything I had hoped it would be, it lived up to, plus then some that I didn’t expect to get!
The way the “dating my friend’s ex” element is handled was done well enough to make me buy into it without it being weird or seeming too contrived. I thought it could be extremely weird and unbelievable for someone to be like “hey borrow my boyfriend for a date” but in this case they actually got me to buy into it.
You get chapter perspectives from both Bethany and Jacob, and I always love when that happens, and especially when romance is involved, because it’s fun to see how each person interprets an event or thinks about the same things in different ways. Also the chapter sub-headings made me smile every time and I love when chapters have titles, so that was a fun addition. There are text exchanges illustrated with speech bubbles and emojis in this too, which is a nice shortcut to communication and feels very relevant. A lot of books seem to forget that phones exist. xD Just a note though because I’m not sure how that might look in a digital copy for the formatting of the texts (maybe they just converted it for that so it’s not images) but in the printed copy it worked very nicely.
This is a young adult novel, and there are definitely elements of that besides the romance and dances thing. They struggle with deciding their future paths after high school, and with school projects, and navigating friendships, and in communicating with their parents, and so much more. It was a really robust amount to be included in one story, honestly, but it didn’t feel like too much and worked organically with all the other plot elements.
Where this mainly lost me was in the too-common issue of wondering why people don’t just talk to each other and be honest. I get that honesty can be kind of scary, and it makes more sense for teenagers with little romantic experience, but it still made me sigh a bit when they both steadfastly clung to this expiration date that neither of them actually wanted! Oy. Kids.
Anyway, overall this was a sweet and fun read with an impressive amount of extras thrown in — photography, body image, honesty, parental relationships, and so much more — that made it feel like the characters were whole complete personalities and not just boy & girl who want to kiss.
Thanks to Bookishfirst and Razorbill for a free advanced copy. This is my honest review.
2 thoughts on “ARC Review: Her Good Side by Rebekah Weatherspoon (5/30/23)”
This sounds like a fun, cute story Jennifer. However, and maybe it’s just me, but at 16 she doesn’t sound like a late bloomer to me.