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One-Star Romance by Laura Hankin

Romance

One-Star Romance

Repeat author

Laura Hankin is back at Book of the Month – other BOTMs include Happy & You Know It.

by Laura Hankin

Excellent choice

Excellent choice

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Quick take

Fun, hijinks, and chemistry abound when a struggling artist and stern academic butt heads over a one-star book review.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Emotional

    Emotional

  • Illustrated icon, Multiple_Viewpoints

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Writers_Life

    Writer's life

  • Illustrated icon, Enemies_to_Love

    Enemies to Lovers

Synopsis

Natalie and Rob couldn’t have less in common. Nat’s a messy artist, and Rob’s a rigid academic. The only thing they share is their devotion to their respective best friends—who just got engaged. Still, unexpected chemistry has Natalie cautiously optimistic about being maid of honor to Rob’s best man.

Until, minutes before the ceremony, Nat learns that Rob wrote a one-star review of her new novel, which has them both reeling: Nat from imposter syndrome, and Rob over the reason he needed to write it.

When the reception ends, these two opposites hope they’ll never meet again. But, as they slip from their twenties into their thirties, they’re forced together whenever their fast-track best friends celebrate another milestone. Through housewarmings and christenings, life-changing triumphs and failures, Natalie and Rob grapple with their own choices—and how your harshest critic can become your perfectly imperfect match.

After all, even the truest love stories sometimes need a bit of rewriting.

Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of One-Star Romance.

One-Star Romance

1

Natalie Shapiro was twenty-​­four years old, walking down a city street that smelled like hot garbage and possibility. A couple of friends with whom she’d gone to college had moved out to the ­suburbs—already!—and she imagined they spent their time breathing in freshly mown grass. (And drinking wine? Waving to nosy neighbors? Power walking while wearing visors? Natalie didn’t really know anything about the suburbs.) Others had been picked off by consulting firms that sent them across the country each week, and the smell of an airplane was more familiar to them than that of their own bedsheets.

But to Natalie, that hot garbage stench was magic. Not that she wanted to stand right over the trash bag to her left and take a deep breath, but it was nice to know it was there. Because things weren’t supposed to be perfect and manicured at this age, not when you were bravely pursuing what you loved despite the difficulty of it.

Natalie loved writing. And sure, if the city’s most high-powered literary agent appeared in front of her, leaping over the trash bag in her high heels to scream, You! I could sense the power of your imagination from across the street, and I’ve already gotten you a ­six-­figure book deal!, Natalie would have taken that in a heartbeat. (Well, she might’ve had some questions: Was this agent in her right mind? Also, how did she jump in heels without breaking an ankle? Assuming it all checked out, though, Natalie would’ve signed right on the dotted line.)

But despite the occasional daydream, she knew it didn’t work that way. Becoming a writer was tough, competitive. Anyone pursuing it was supposed to struggle and get discouraged for a little while. In fact, the struggle and the discouragement were what made a writer good.

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Why I love it

It’s a rare phenomenon to find a romance novel that captures the breadth of life—career, friendships, family—but One-Star Romance does it all. A hilarious and heartfelt portrait of relationships in their many forms, this is Laura Hankin (author of Happy & You Know It) at her best yet.

When we meet her in her twenties, Natalie ties two things to her identity: her career as a (struggling) writer and her best friendship with the (newly engaged) Gabby. On the day of Gabby’s wedding, Nat learns the groom’s best man, Rob, wrote a one-star review of her first book. On top of fears that she is about to lose her best friend, the knock on her writing is a bridge too far. The two hope to never see each other again, but their respective friendships constantly thwart that desire. Across their begrudging reunions, an electric chemistry begins to form between them, and heated arguments turn into witty banter. While Nat and Rob have nothing in common on paper, they can’t ignore their uncanny ability to help each other grow. As they enter their thirties, they learn to give themselves grace through the turbulence of life—and just might find love on the way.

The characters of One-Star Romance are written with such relatability, both in sense of humor and insecurities, that I’m convinced Laura Hankin pulled them straight out of my life. Pick this book up, and I’m sure you’ll fall in love too.

Romance
Yours Truly
One-Star Romance
Leather & Lark
Happily Never After
The Paradise Problem
Not in Love
The Rom-Commers
Butcher & Blackbird
Ready or Not
Just for the Summer
How to End a Love Story
The Second Chance Year
A Winter in New York
This Spells Love
The Gentleman’s Gambit
Red, White & Royal Blue
You, Again
Love, Theoretically
People We Meet on Vacation
Hello Stranger
Stars in Your Eyes
Part of Your World
Love & Other Disasters
Georgie, All Along
It Ends with Us
The Heart Principle
The True Love Experiment
A Rogue of One's Own
The Holiday Swap
The Bodyguard
The Love Hypothesis
One Last Stop
The Bride Test
Love on the Brain
Head Over Heels
The Reunion
This Time Next Year
The Kiss Quotient
One Day in December
Things You Save in a Fire
Lunar Love
Bringing Down the Duke
Ana María and the Fox
Beach Read
Before I Let Go
The Boyfriend Project
How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days
The Heiress Gets a Duke
The Rewind
In a Holidaze
The Kiss Curse
Kiss Her Once for Me
Romance
View all
Yours Truly
One-Star Romance
Leather & Lark
Happily Never After
The Paradise Problem
Not in Love
The Rom-Commers
Butcher & Blackbird
Ready or Not
Just for the Summer
How to End a Love Story
The Second Chance Year
A Winter in New York
This Spells Love
The Gentleman’s Gambit
Red, White & Royal Blue
You, Again
Love, Theoretically
People We Meet on Vacation
Hello Stranger
Stars in Your Eyes
Part of Your World
Love & Other Disasters
Georgie, All Along
It Ends with Us
The Heart Principle
The True Love Experiment
A Rogue of One's Own
The Holiday Swap
The Bodyguard
The Love Hypothesis
One Last Stop
The Bride Test
Love on the Brain
Head Over Heels
The Reunion
This Time Next Year
The Kiss Quotient
One Day in December
Things You Save in a Fire
Lunar Love
Bringing Down the Duke
Ana María and the Fox
Beach Read
Before I Let Go
The Boyfriend Project
How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days
The Heiress Gets a Duke
The Rewind
In a Holidaze
The Kiss Curse
Kiss Her Once for Me