By: Jen Morris
My Goodreads Review: 3/5 Stars
I was fortunate to be given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review, so thank you to Jen Morris! I haven’t read any of the other books in this series, so I was a bit worried I would be confused, but I was assured it would not be a problem, and it wasn’t.
Outrageously In Love, by Jen Morris follows a woman named Harriet as she navigates through her fears and insecurities while falling in love. Harriet is a book-loving, game-board-playing nerd who lives in New Zealand. Since being bullied as a kid, she struggles to open up and rarely leaves her comfort zone. When her sister announces she is moving to New York, Harriet wonders how someone could quickly make such a huge decision. After a year in New York, Harriet’s sister gets engaged and begs Harriet to come to the wedding. After at first declining, she decides to push herself and eventually boards a flight to New York City for the wedding. She promises herself that she will try to step out of her comfort zone on this trip, calling her alter ego Harriet 2.0. During her flight to New York, she meets Luke and, after a couple of drinks, decides to join the Mile High Club with this stranger, except the problem is he is not a stranger at all.
My Review (contains some spoilers):
This is an adorable, heartwarming love story. As a board game lover myself, I loved Harriet’s obsession with board games. The thrill she got from learning new games and mastering them connected me to Harriet’s character. My husband also loves playing board games, so I enjoyed reading about how much Luke and Harriet bonded over their love of gaming. These parts of the book made me like them as a couple. Also, as a Harry Potter fan, I loved the ongoing Harry Potter references!
This story was filled with great side characters. Harriet’s sister Alex and her husband Michael were so good together, and the love they had for each other and their families was endearing. Alex’s friends, Geoff and Cat, were exactly what Harriet needed to get her out of her comfort zone to explore new possibilities in New York City. As well, her best friend Steph continuously reminded Harriet how great she truly was. Steph is the type of friend everyone should have. These side characters added a great layer to this story.
I also liked that Jen Morris chose to give her main character occasional panic attacks. I believe it is important to show readers what mental illness looks like. When people are more informed, it breaks stigma towards mental illness and helps people learn how to help others who suffer from similar illnesses.
There were some things I struggled with in this story. My biggest issue was with Harriet 2.0. I found the ease in which Harriet jumped into her alter ego would not be easy for someone as reserved as her. This aspect was a bit unrealistic. I also found Harriet 2.0 was mentioned far too often, not everything has to be done in a larger-than-life way, and I found some parts a tad immature for someone her age.
This brings me to Harriet; sometimes, I loved her, but sometimes I found her a bit annoying. I tried really hard to look past this, but it wasn’t always easy. I had similar feelings when it came to Luke and Harriet’s relationship. I struggled to get on board with how quickly Luke and Harriet fell for one another, especially since Luke was recently in a very committed long-term relationship. They also had so much in common it almost became a bit over the top. In addition, the discussion around her moving to New York City made it seem like it would be very easy just to pick up her life and move across the world and open up her own business, something that I think would be very difficult to do in reality. I struggled with the unrealistic aspects of this relationship.
Overall, it was a cute romance novel about two nerdy characters with some family and personal baggage, who seemed to fit into each other’s lives pretty seamlessly. It was an easy and light read. I liked Jen Morris’s writing, and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.