"Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute" is Delightfully Delicious | Book Review
In which I wax poetic about one of my favorite books of last year
You need to know this: I'm big a Talia Hibbert fan. Before last year, I'd read multiple of her adult romance series (including, of course, the Brown sisters trilogy), which are steamy, fun, and romantic. So when I heard she was writing a YA romance (my favorite type of book to read tbh), I was all-in.
And then I actually, you know, started the book, and — y'all, the best description I have for this book is that it's delicious. Reading it is akin to indulging in the most decadent, rich chocolate cake that you can handle. It's just a delight!
Like many Hibbert books, HSaUC is filled with voice and personality. The narration jumps off the page and burrows into your heart. Each of the main characters (Bradley and Celine) have their own personality and you can always tell whose chapter you're in because the writing is tailored to them. It was a bit of a shock at first, coming from more toned-down book narrations, but within like 10% I was totally immersed and just having a grand time on this adventure. Hibbert seemed to land so smoothly in the voice of the teenage main characters and the writing felt really natural.
This book is simply delicious. I could read it for days. I could read it again. There were so many moments I had to pause to laugh out loud and underline funny moments — the banter between Brad and Celine is on point all the time — and reading it felt like taking a trip back to my happiest memory and basking in it.
Brad is a Black, bi teenage boy who lives with OCD — and I say "lives with" because that's how it's portrayed in the book — and so much about the way he was painted was just perfect. I loved seeing an unapologetically bi male main character. I loved how joyful Brad was. And I loved that we saw a character who recognizes and has coping mechanisms for his mental illness. Yes, there are moments where it, maybe, gets the better of him, but there are also many where he has it in check. That's so real.
And Celine! Celine is a Black teenage girl with a super spiky exterior who makes conspiracy theory TikToks. She thinks the world is against her and her arc in the book was incredible. I loved seeing her walls come down and watching her learn to accept people's love.
Like any good dual-POV novel, the scenes we spent in each character's head mattered.
Just...this book is so well-crafted. It's pure delight and it's a shot of joy straight to the veins. If you're interested in checking it out, you should absolutely order a copy (that's an affilliate link to Bookshop, so I may get a commission if you use it). You won't regret it, I swear!