College was supposed to be my chance to get over my ugly-duckling complex and spread my wings. Instead, I wound up in a sorority full of mean girls. I already have a hard time fitting in, so when my Kappa Chi sisters issue the challenge, I can’t say no.

The dare: seduce the hottest new hockey player in the junior class.

Conor Edwards is a regular at Greek Row parties…and in Greek Row sorority beds. He’s the one you fall for before you learn that guys like him don’t give girls like me a second glance. Except Mr. Popular throws me for a loop—rather than laughing in my face, he does me a solid by letting me take him upstairs to pretend we’re getting busy.

Even crazier, now he wants to keep pretending. Turns out Conor loves games, and he thinks it’s fun to pull the wool over my frenemies’ eyes.

But resisting his easy charm and surfer-boy hotness is darn near impossible. Though I’m realizing there’s much more to Conor’s story than his fan club can see.

And the longer this silly ruse goes on, the greater the danger of it all blowing up in my face.

*mild spoilers ahead and CW for fat phobia

I went into this book prepared to love it. Why? Well for one, the blurb promised a heroine with “an ugly duckling complex” + a popular jock hero + fake relationship = pure NA romance catnip.

Unfortunately, this book didn’t deliver the kind of romance that I would associate with Elle Kennedy.

There are things that I still liked. I mean, I genuinely liked Conor. And the way his story unfolded was satisfying. Not my favorite EK hero but I liked him a lot.

The chemistry between the main characters was great and I enjoyed the romance between Conor and Taylor. Plus, there were some great secondary characters that I really enjoyed.

However, there are two things that dragged down the rating for me. One was about Taylor’s weight. The other one is a spoiler so I’m save that for last.

When the blurb mentioned Taylor’s ugly duckling complex, I didn’t expect it to mean that Taylor was fat and therefore ugly. I’m tired of equating fatness with ugliness. Tired of it. This book is just one of the many popular books out there with this trope and it bothers me that in the year 2020, we’re still parroting the same old harmful message: fat people are/feel ugly and therefore, need a hot man to feel validated.

Sure, insecurity is a real thing but I feel like Taylor never learned how to accept herself. She accepted herself because Conor loved her, which is fine but ugh, I wish the book had a moment where Taylor had made a decision to be comfortable in her own skin even without Conor’s acceptance.

And you know what’s even more annoying? Being constantly told that Taylor was fat and in the next sentence, she’s described as a Marilyn Monroe lookalike and describes her weight as somewhere between Ashley Graham and Kate Upton.

I. cannot. Even.

The other thing I didn’t like was how the only queer character in the whole book was treated. I won’t go into details but basically, this character was outed in the worst way possible. It left such a bad taste in my mouth because this character was just there to serve as a device for the final conflict in the book.

sigh