Helena Hunting. Meet Cute. Forever, 2019. 384 pp. ISBN 978-1538760185. $15.99
Kailyn and Dax literally run into each other on their first day of law school. Dax was a teenage heartthrob on Kailyn’s favorite television show and to make matters even more embarrassing, she fangirls all over him…and bumps into him again later. They spend law school debating one another and competing for the top spot, and when Kailyn’s father passes away, she asks Dax to turn in her final paper… and he turns it in late, ruining her class standing. When they next meet, Dax’s parents have died in a terrible accident and leave him as the legal guardian for his thirteen year old sister. Kailyn is managing the trust, and when Emme’s aunt challenges the guardianship and sues for custody, Kailyn is established as Emme’s conservator. Her boss promises her a partnership at the law firm, more pro bono hours, and great benefits if she can reel Dax in to firm. She decides NOT to reveal this detail, making the plot not as sweet as the book’s cover hints.
It turns out Dax has always liked Kailyn with her fancy patterned hose and pencil skirts, brains and curves. Their chemistry is real, but she has put herself in an unethical position by sneaking around and dating him while becoming a support for his sister. The book details Aunt Linda’s escalating attempts to present Dax as being unfit to parent, Kailyn’s dilemma about when to reveal her motives, and Dax and Emme moving through their grief.
While I didn’t find Kailyn particularly likeable, her moments with Emme and her soothing Dax through parenting a teenager were redeeming. I didn’t find the writing strong or compelling, there was more showing than telling, and for two self-aware, supposedly smart adults, they didn’t figure out the mystery too well.