Review: Date Me Like You Mean It by R.S. Grey

Best friends and roommates who secretly harbor more-than-friendly feelings face a predictable gauntlet of crossed wires and guarded stubbornness before giving in to the inevitable.

Verdict: decently entertaining but not too memorable, with somewhat less chemistry than the books that R.S. Grey is best known for

Honestly, you can’t go too wrong with any of R.S. Grey’s romances. You know exactly what you’re getting, too, because she delivers so consistently. I devoured this in one sitting.

Look, this review is probably colored by my ever-increasing desire to escape into a pile of fluff. But it’s Election Week in the US, and we’re all trapped at home, refreshing news apps in the middle of a pandemic, surrounded by dangerous rhetoric that stokes public impatience around an uncertain future – well, what else is this blog for, anyway, if not to escape the truly craptastic for a brief moment?

Enter R.S. Grey, novel-writing workhorse, clearly on pace to become a Nora Roberts for the Instagram crowd. (Full disclosure: I’m not a diehard Nora fangirl – I just don’t feel a need to know about my fictional heroes’ work out routines or home remodel lighting fixtures – but no one can match that woman’s work ethic.) R.S. Grey titles are likewise dependably frequent and solidly written. And damned if they don’t stop even during worldwide lockdown – or her own ninth month of pregnancy!

(Ms. Grey, if you’re reading this, congrats on the baby! I have no idea if it’s already born, so this may be premature. But you produce both cute reads and cute kiddos, a combination that is that much more impressive when it’s in tandem.)

What’s that? You want to actually see a review of the book? Well, it’s similar in tone to her previous releases. Sweet and just a touch silly, gently humorous but not laugh-out-loud comedic. Has an obvious destination, per the classic rom-com mold, but meanders through some fun times on the way there. Of Grey’s many cute hetero couples, I would rank Aiden and Maddie relatively low. They had less chemistry than other pairings, with more of a telling-rather-than-showing vibe to their relationship (and consequently fewer laughs). Still a solid read, just not top of the list.

If you’ve never read an R.S. Grey book before, a good friends-to-lovers one is Not So Nice Guy. Excellent chemistry and great Ben-and-Leslie style history, better than in Date Me Like You Mean It. I also like her enemies-to-lovers books, e.g. Coldhearted Boss or Arrogant Devil. And one of her best-known titles, Scoring Wilder, is particularly enjoyable because it’s the rare romance that offers the satisfaction of seeing the couple get together happily pretty early on in the novel, rather than at the end, thereby giving the reader more time to enjoy the good stuff. (If I have any generalizable criticism about her books overall, it’s that a number of them have less satisfying pacing, which doesn’t allow as much time as I’d like to really let that happily-ever-after sink in nice and deep. Also true of this one.)

That said, R.S. Grey is a master at churning out satisfying romances, so she’s set the bar high for herself. That’s why I think this one is just okay.

I’m not the kind of reviewer who writes gushing all-caps tributes that scream about the five stars I’m bestowing on this or that title. Actions speak louder. So it probably says a lot, and at a decent volume, that I’ve read pretty much her whole catalog at some point.

TLDR: Read to take your mind off the less lovable things in life, but look elsewhere among this talented author’s works (recs listed above) for truly sizzling chemistry and deep belly laughs.

(Credits: Image c/o Alex Rosa. Published Nov 5 2020.)

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