My Imaginary Ex Chic Manila 2017 by Mina V. Esguerra
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 Zack and Jasmine never dated, but no one else knows that. That story started in college, because she was being a good friend, and he needed help with something. The friendship and affection that followed were very real, but the lie kept causing trouble.

Years later, after a falling out and real relationships with other people, the lie resurfaces to bother Jasmine one more time–when Zack’s exes ask her to stop him from marrying someone they think is totally wrong for him. She’s the only one who can help him, they say, because she’s his best friend. They also believe that Zack loved Jasmine the most–and maybe still does.

(This is a revised and expanded edition of My Imaginary Ex, the first book in the Chic Manila series. All books in the series can be read as standalones.)

I have a confession to make: I’ve been slacking off. I actually finished this book a few hours after I started it and yet it took a while to rate and review it. It was so good!

One of my resolutions this year was to read romance books written by Filipino authors, featuring Filipino characters, and set (more or less) in the Philippines. I’ve had the pleasure of reading Mina Esguerra’s previous books and I’ve always enjoyed them. My Imaginary Ex has all the things I love about a Mina Esguerra and then some.

My Imaginary Ex is a friends-to-lovers story with a bit of a twist. See, it all started with a lie. Zack really wasn’t Jasmine’s ex but there was that time in college where Zack ask Jasmine to pretend to be his girlfriend. It was just one time but the lie snowballed into something beyond their control. Now Jasmine is the ex that Zack could not get over.

I fell in love with Jasmine and Zack. Their friendship is so weird but so relatable and their road to happily ever after wasn’t a smooth one. I read the new updated version and I understand that the author added some scenes for context and lengthen the story a little bit. I haven’t read the original version but judging from what I’ve read, Ms. Esguerra did a great job not just with the story but the characters. Ugh. I love her characters so much. They’re so imperfect. They make mistakes and do things that make you shake your head in exasperation but it is what made them interesting to me.

There’s one character in this book who is going to have her own story. She’s a bit of the antagonist keeping our star-crossed lovers apart but there was definitely more to her than just being the villain. I loved that the author avoided slut-shaming and othering this character just because she’s the antagonist. So that’s definitely a plus in my book.

My Imaginary Ex definitely checked all the boxes that I want in my romance book. It has a trope that I loved with complex characters that you want to root for in spite of everything.