This is another one of those books I have to stop reading every few pages because there are too many feelings to process. At first it was because I was laughing too hard and had to keep breathing, then after a while it was because I felt my heart squeezing in on itself. Which is both painful and so so so good.
For one long Christmas weekend in Arkansas, Fiona, an out and proud lesbian, has agreed to pretend to be straight and her best friend Michael’s girlfriend. Of course she didn’t expect to feel almost immediately and very intensely attracted to one of his sisters, Lizzie.
The McElroy family is huge, and Hughes didn’t waste the opportunity to create exciting characters. Michael is a sweetheart and I love how ready he is to learn and do better. The relationship between him and Fiona is a dream. The youngest sister, Jessie, is darkly hilarious. And Lizzie is just so… Lizzie, I guess.
The story is told from Fiona’s POV. She was born and grew up in Los Angeles. Her father is Chinese, her mother is Malaysian, they met in Singapore. She now lives in St Louis, where she is studying to become a nurse. Besides the fake relationship and trying to resist falling for her best friend’s sister, her meeting with the McElroys is full of ups and downs. As an only child, she longs for a big family and the feeling of belonging the siblings seem to enjoy. And she’s also faced with racism, and has to deal with others’ reactions to it as well as her own. That first scene when she meets the grandmother, Sophia, and the aftermath is one of the best I’ve read on this topic.
I’m so happy I liked this book, because K.L. Hughes The Art of Us was one of my first 5* books when I began rating, so I had hopes for Popcorn Love but it fell a little flat for me, for some reason. The Wrong McElroy definitely doesn’t. It’s very different from The Art of Us, it’s more rom com than drama. It’s very nicely written as well, with loads of emotions and banter. I love banter when it’s well done. Also, as I’ve written before, I don’t often laugh at others’ attempts at being funny, so when I laugh reading, it’s usually a good sign (at least for me).
Oh, and now I want to spend Christmas with the McElroy family, and I don’t even like people.