Caught in a Bad Fauxmance / Elle Gonzalez Rose / Book Review


Devin Baez just wants to enjoy one last Christmas at Lake Andreas before they sell the family cabin. But a run-in with their longtime lakeside rivals, the Seo-Cookes, changes everything.

The Winter Games have always been competitive between their families, but the Baez family didn't plan to compete this year. Not until a bet was made. If they win, the Seo-Cookes will pay off the mortgage on the cabin so they can keep it in the family. If they lose, well, the Seo-Cookes need some space on the lake for their new boat launch.

With the stakes higher than ever, Devin would do anything to get the upperhand. So when Julian Seo-Cooke finds himself in need of a fake boyfriend, Devin jumps on the opportunity. There's no better way to sneak behind enemy lines and maybe, finally prove that the Seo-Cookes play dirty.



This book was exactly what I thought it would be. It's a middle-of-the-road romcom, with the added benefit of being queer. It's tropey and lighthearted and fun, but if you want more than fluff, this one probably isn't for you.


Shenanigans This book is absolutely full of shenanigans, and I adore that. These families are rivals, and there's no animosity lost between the fathers. And what this means, practically, for the kids is... prank war! There's a lot of (not-so-devious) scheming in this book, and I like that. The rivalry is intense, and the outlet of all that tension is so fun.

Cooking There's just something about a romantic lead who can cook. Especially when he's still kind of learning. If having your favorite snacks prepared just for you is part of your love language, this romance just might be right up your alley.

Lighthearted This book isn't particularly serious, but who wants their holiday romance to be? It's classically tropey, as the title implies, and it's good, lighthearted fun. If you want to escape for a few hours with some lakeside chaos this Yuletide, these families and their not-so-star-crossed lovers make a good getaway book.


The whole tone of this book is... rather immature. I kept doubling back to recalculate exactly how old these siblings were meant to be, because they seemed so juvenile. I was just very confused throughout my whole reading. This is a book definitely suitable for the younger end of the YA range, which is good--something that we need more of. But if you're looking for characters who actually act their age, this book isn't for you. Immature

The secondary characters here all felt a little flat. They were playing a role more than actually living and breathing like good characters should. The main characters were only marginally more developed, though I will say that, in contrast to their backdrop characters, the main couple really did feel rounded out. Which isn't exactly a good thing, all things considered. Caricatures

Our lead here knows things that he shouldn't. One of the benefits of first person POV is just how intimate the storytelling can be. It is told from the perspective of a character through that character's very voice. And that means the narrative itself needs to be an absolute mirror of the character. There were several points throughout this book that Devin's voice just didn't ring true. Because he was experiencing things he had never experienced before, but he had the words for new foods, tastes, and products... words he shouldn't have had. Words he shouldn't have known. The author-voice comes through, and that's a major writing problem. Specificity



Fans of Sophie Gonzales's Never Ever Getting Back Together will love this quirky queer romance. Those who loved Emma Lord's Tweet Cute will enjoy this tropey, rivals-to-lovers love story.

Never Ever Getting Back Together Tweet Cute

Publisher: Joy Revolution
Date: December 5, 2023
Series: N/A
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Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.


  1. I loved the premise for the book - it’s too bad it was disappointing however. Thanks for sharing your honest review.

  2. This does sound fun for Christmas as long as you are in the mood for something like this, sounds like. I like how detailed your review is- it really gives a sense of whether this book would work for the individual readers. I had to smile at the cooking part too

  3. It sounds like quite a fun book, might be good for Christmas time when you're tired and want an easy reader!

    Corinne x

  4. This sounds like a fun and light read, sorry it didn't really work that well for you. I also wouldn't like immature characters and undeveloped secondary characters. But I do love the cover and the shenanigans sound fun too!

  5. I love shenanigans and a lighthearted read. I'll check this out.

  6. Oh very good review, this looks like a light book


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