This is the first book in Penny Reid’s brand-new series and while it has her trademark humor and charming characters, this feels like the beginning of something new and exciting for her “Pennyverse.” I’ve loved her other books and her writing has always been great, but I can see the growth of Reid’s writing in “Homecoming King” and I enjoyed every minute I spent in this new world. I think every fan of contemporary romances will find something to love about this book.
I read a lot of and I’m a fast reader but it’s still rare for me to read a book in one day, let alone in one sitting, yet that’s what happened with this book. Once I started reading about Abigail and Rex, I didn’t want to stop. This was one of the most realistic fake marriage romances I’ve ever read, with this trope usually being so over the top that it’s hard to suspend my belief enough to enjoy the story. Abby has sworn off dating after a particularly damaging relationship that left her in massive debt. She has also harbored a major crush on Rex since elementary school so her hesitance to agree to his fake marriage plan makes sense. And Rex….oh my heart. Rex is the grumpy (but in fact super soft and lovable) romance hero of my dreams. His vulnerability is a rare trait not often seen in romance heroes and his willingness to wait for Abby to work through her own insecurities was wonderful. In turn, Abby sees through his gruff exterior and sees who he really is, something that very few people in his life have taken the time to do. This may be a slow burn story, but the chemistry between Abby and Rex practically leaps off the page the entire time. Even their awkwardness with each other is charming, thanks to Reid’s usual quirky writing style.
This being a Penny Reid book, the secondary characters in this book play a big part in the story. Abby’s friend Kaylee was a friend we would all want to have in real life; she supports Abby while also giving her a kick in the butt when she needs it. Cyrus ended up being the friend Rex needed the most, even though Rex didn’t know it and we could all use someone to have our backs like him. Even the football wives, who are only in the book for a short time, managed to make an impression. I can’t wait to read more about these characters in the next books in the series.
This was truly a wonderful and joyous book to read and a great start to a new series. It uses the fake marriage trope to perfection and features relatable characters and a swoon-worthy romance. I highly recommend it for any romance fan, especially those looking for something fun to enjoy over the holidays.
Author: Penny Reid
Release Date: December 14th, 2021
Rating: 5 Stars
*Thank you to Cipher-Naught and Social Butterfly PR for the ARC in exchange for an honest review*