Title: I’m So (Not) Over You
Author: Kosoko Jackson
Publisher: Berkley (Penguin Random House)
Length: 364 Pages
Category: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 Stars
At a Glance: I’m So (Not) Over You put me through my paces with the ups and downs—all those downs—but it was worth the bumps to get the payoff of Kian and Hudson finding their way.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: It’s been months since aspiring journalist Kian Andrews has heard from his ex-boyfriend, Hudson Rivers, but an urgent text has them meeting at a café. Maybe Hudson wants to profusely apologize for the breakup. Or confess his undying love. . . But no, Hudson has a favor to ask—he wants Kian to pretend to be his boyfriend while his parents are in town, and Kian reluctantly agrees.
The dinner doesn’t go exactly as planned, and suddenly Kian is Hudson’s plus one to Georgia’s wedding of the season. Hudson comes from a wealthy family where reputation is everything, and he really can’t afford another mistake. If Kian goes, he’ll help Hudson preserve appearances and get the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in media. This could be the big career break Kian needs.
But their fake relationship is starting to feel like it might be more than a means to an end, and it’s time for both men to fact-check their feelings.
Review: As much as we romance readers love our happy endings, it can also take a good bit of messiness to get to that payoff. Love isn’t always cut and dried, and that’s the case in Kosoko Jackson’s I’m So (Not) Over You, a second chance romance that offers up a little humor and a heaping helping of conflict for Kian Andrews and Hudson Rivers to overcome before they make their way to the HEA.
Kian and Hudson have already broken up when the story begins. Kian is our narrator, so we see firsthand how much he’s still reeling over Hudson’s unexpected rejection, and while Kian is understandably hurt and angry, he’s obviously not over Hudson yet either, despite how he might try to convince everyone otherwise. What we don’t know, since the story is told from the limited point of view, is why Hudson broke up with Kian, because all Kian got was the breakup message. No reasons, no excuses, just the part where he suddenly didn’t have a boyfriend anymore. This places Hudson in the role of the “bad guy” since we’re getting to know him so one-sidedly, which meant Hudson had to turn on the charm when he showed up with the fake boyfriends idea he’d cooked up for Kian in an effort to appease his parents.
As we get to know Hudson a bit more through his interaction with Kian, it’s easy to see why Kian fell for him. It’s also easy to understand why Kian’s discomfort with the vast gap in their social and economic statuses weighed on their relationship, placing him on unequal footing. Hudson comes from money—his family owns a multi-billion dollar brewery empire—and while he doesn’t have any interest in entering the family business himself, much to his parents’ disappointment, he still enjoys the excesses afforded him by the family fortune. He doesn’t blink an eye at spending thousands of dollars to dress Kian for their fake dinner date with Hudson’s parents and sister, which sits uncomfortably with Kian. He has some opinions about the Rivers family’s obscene wealth, which, for better or worse, he shares with Hudson. Let’s just say it wasn’t great. It also doesn’t help that Kian hasn’t found a job yet, post-graduation, let alone gotten his dream job in journalism, which Hudson uses as a means to get Kian to go along with everything. You could imagine the worst outcome for that, and still not get to the worst case scenario.
Kian also has a few opinions about Hudson’s relationship with his family. To be fair, once we meet the Riverses, he did seem to have a point about them, but calling Hudson out on it lands as badly as you’d expect. Dinner was tense, to put it mildly, after Kian has a less than comfortable exchange with Mr. Rivers at the dining table. It seem that Kian and Hudson are doomed to stay broken up forever, so the answer to the will they/won’t they question isn’t as clear-cut as you might expect in a romance novel, which was a nice change of pace. Even when Kian ends up getting involved in a second fake date to attend a Rivers family wedding in Georgia, and things seem to be on course for them, it’s Kian’s journalistic inquisitiveness that once again gets him into trouble. When I say trouble, I mean it in a relationship ending, boom, kind of way.
One of the ways we know all is not lost, though, is that Kian can’t stop comparing the guy he goes on a couple of dates with, with Hudson. Kian is just so gone on him, but he’s cut Hudson off completely, so once again we’re also cut off from knowing what’s going through Hudson’s mind and how he feels about losing Kian. One of the starkest contrasts that played into my compassion for Hudson, even after he blew up at Kian, was distantly observing that he didn’t have anyone on his side. Kian has his ride-or-die bestie, Divya, to lean on, to talk to, but Hudson didn’t seem to have that same sort of support from anyone. Help arrives, though, thanks to a little interference from an unexpected source, which prods Kian to try to put everything back on track.
I’m So (Not) Over You put me through my paces with the ups and downs—all those downs—but it was worth the bumps to get the payoff of Kian and Hudson finding their way.
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