Jack Nolan is a gentleman, a journalist, and unlucky in love. His viral success has pigeon-holed him as the how-to guy for a buzzy, internet media company instead of covering hard-hitting politics. Fed up with his fluffy articles and the app-based dating scene as well, he strikes a deal with his boss to write a final piece de resistance: How to Lose a Girl. Easier said than done when the girl he meets is Hannah Mayfield, and he’s not sure he wants her to dump him.
Hannah is an extremely successful event planner who’s focused on climbing the career ladder. Her firm is one of the most prestigious in the city, and she’s determined to secure her next promotion. But Hannah has a bit of an image problem. She needs to show her boss that she has range, including planning dreaded, romantic weddings. Enter Jack. He’s the perfect man to date for a couple weeks to prove to her boss that she’s not scared of feelings.
Before Jack and Hannah know it, their fake relationship starts to feel all too real—and neither of them can stand to lose each other.
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is one of my favorite rom-coms from the aughts, so when I initially heard that there was an updated, gender-swapped version written by a WOC, I was over the moon.
Unfortunately, I just didn’t care for this one. I admit that I may have set this book up for failure—my expectations and excitement may have been too high—but this was lacking for me. Notwithstanding the millennial update and gender swap, Not the Girl You Marry is basically an exact remake of How to Lose a Guy. I had thought that the author would keep the basic premise but change enough so that the story felt fresh and fun, but it felt too similar in the ways that really mattered.
As for the sex: It was underwhelming to say the least. Hannah had more chemistry with the taco she ate the night she and Jack met. I’m also the last person anyone would call a prude, but I actually found this book to be way too vulgar at times. At times, the innuendo was so blatant (although, is it even innuendo at that point?) that I actually cringed.
I also think How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days works because it’s fairly superficial—it has to be. If you really unpack what’s happening, it’s a pretty problematic premise, and that becomes painfully apparent when you dive into the main characters’ mindsets. I actually found myself a little ashamed that I was such a fan of a story that is, essentially, about one character being terrible and emotionally abusive to the other. There are multiple points where Jack, fully aware that Hannah has trust issues, still convinces himself that it’s worth it to treat her terribly so that he can get his promotion.
Problematic premise aside, it was also just needlessly repetitive to hear in almost every chapter how much Jack and Hannah regretted that they had to go through with their respective bargains. I’m not even exaggerating–this was something both characters repeated over and over. At a certain point, I started skimming past those points because I had seen them so many times.
There were some cute moments, but not enough to save this book. I appreciate what the author was trying to do with this, but it unfortunately missed the mark for me.
I received an ARC from Edelweiss+ and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.