Book Review — Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert

I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book from Netgalley and Joy Revolution. This has not impacted my rating and this review is voluntary.

  • Genre: Young Adult, Romance
  • Published by: Joy Revolution
  • Publish date: January 03, 2023
  • Number of pages: pages
  • Author’s website:
  • Support local! Buy the book on BookShop!

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Brown Sisters trilogy, comes a laugh-out-loud story about a quirky content creator and a clean-cut athlete testing their abilities to survive the great outdoors–and each other.

Bradley Graeme is pretty much perfect. He’s a star football player, manages his OCD well (enough), and comes out on top in all his classes . . . except the ones he shares with his ex-best friend, Celine.

Celine Bangura is conspiracy-theory-obsessed. Social media followers eat up her takes on everything from UFOs to holiday overconsumption–yet, she’s still not cool enough for the popular kids’ table. Which is why Brad abandoned her for the in-crowd years ago. (At least, that’s how Celine sees it.)These days, there’s nothing between them other than petty insults and academic rivalry. So when Celine signs up for a survival course in the woods, she’s surprised to find Brad right beside her.

Forced to work as a team for the chance to win a grand prize, these two teens must trudge through not just mud and dirt but their messy past. And as this adventure brings them closer together, they begin to remember the good bits of their history. But has too much time passed . . . or just enough to spark a whole new kind of relationship?

Rating: 4/5

Hibbert’s foray into the young adult genre is a success! I felt the characters’ behaviors felt natural and realistic for high schoolers. There was also commentary on mental health as one of the characters has OCD. If you’re into YA and second chance tropes, this one is for you!

I personally love stories of precocious kids in a battle of wits. Celine and Bradley are top of their class and have a mild enemies-to-lovers trope of former best friends, the mystery of what caused them to fall out, their undeniable chemistry, and the setting of a competition in the wilderness.

The competition was really interesting and exciting. I wish we could have seen more of that in detail, but the romance of this is so dang cute that it was enough.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to know!

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