Romances are, by definition, somewhat predictable: MCs meet -> stuff happens -> HFN or HEA. What’s fascinating isn’t the result, it’s the journey, the “stuff happens” part, how the MCs fall in love, accept that they’re in love, work to make it happen. There are different ways of writing that journey. The twists can be unexpected or, on the contrary, introduced in such a way that the reader is caught in a web of foreboding. Both can be wonderful and both can keep me on the edge of my seat.
Cherry on Top falls in the second category. The delicious stomach-twisting foreboding category. Edge of seat included. One of the main characters – Cherry – is an up-and-coming influencer, the other – Ellis – abhors all things social media. Of course, they’re going to clash. Of course. Why did Georgia Beers have to make them so adorable though? How cruel is that? To be honest (honesty is what this book is all about), Ellis is a lot easier to love than Cherry who, while charming and kind, is, let’s face it, a liar. I don’t care that she lies online, who doesn’t? Her lying to Ellis however? Even by omission? I realise things aren’t black and white, truth vs lies. Life is more complicated than that and some lies are warranted, lifesaving even sometimes. Cherry’s lies? Not so much. As delightful as she is, she’s also greedy. I get wanting a career, I get waiting for the right time to come clean, I get being overwhelmed. I still don’t like how she behaved towards Ellis, and I was looking forward to finding out how Georgia Beers would get her out of the situation and make me want to root for her again.
And yes, Beers did it. I ached for Cherry as much as I ached for Ellis. Both are flawed, both are trying, both are relatable. They’re complex, as is their relationship, and I loved the way they reacted to the first undeniably-big bump on their road to forever, and how life took over, because that’s what life does. Things aren’t straightforward and neither are people. They make mistakes, they learn (or don’t learn, which is another problem), they grow. We’re all works in progress and that’s the story Beers tells, a story of growth and learning from mistakes.
Ellis and Cherry have huge chemistry and it makes the instalust entirely believable. In all aspects, the relationship is at once cute and intense, enthusiastic and tender. Georgia Beers writes excellent first kisses and this one… This one is sweet and passionate, like Ellis, like Cherry.
The instalust, the cheerful tone of the story, the easiness of the start of the relationship could make Cherry on Top seem frivolous. There’s depth to it, however, with both characters dealing with family trauma. It’s also brimming with lovely moments, between Ellis and Cherry, between Cherry and her roommates, Ellis and her colleague Kitty or with her friends. Two scenes involve meeting someone for the first time (besides the MCs’ meet cute) and both are enchanting. The first one shows Ellis being introduced to her cat – from Junebug Farms! – and it made my heart very full. I won’t spoil the second one because I managed to forget I had read about it in another review and I was as surprised as the character, which made the scene all the more powerful. All I’ll say is there was a lot of heart-fullness happening with this story, the perfect counterpoint to the stomach-twisting of the first half or so. 4.5⭐️
Cherry on Top @ Bookshop.org / amazon
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