I’m so excited to be participating in my first TBR & Beyond Tours blog tour of 2023! I’m extra excited because it’s for a book by an author who is swiftly becoming a favorite: Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert! This is Talia Hibbert’s YA debut and, spoiler alert, I adored it.
But, before I jump into my review (and a playlist I threw together while reading!) I want to say thank you. Thank you to the people at TBR & Beyond Tours for choosing me to take part in this tour. Thank you to the publisher for granting me access to the book via Netgalley. And thank you to all my readers for supporting my little blog! Also, if you’d like to support the other incredible bloggers and bookstagrammers participating, make sure to check out the tour schedule by clicking here.
Alright! Now let’s get to the tour post!
- Title: Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute
- Author: Talia Hibbert
- Publisher: Joy Revolution
- Publication date: January 3rd, 2023
- Genre: Romance
- Age group: Young Adult
- Content/Trigger Warnings: Depictions of anxiety and struggles with OCD, child abandonment, depictions of intrusive thinking
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?
Talia Hibbert is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author who lives in a bedroom full of books. Supposedly, there is a world beyond that room, but she has yet to drum up enough interest to investigate.
She writes steamy, diverse romance because she believes that people of marginalised identities need honest and positive representation. Her interests include makeup, junk food, and unnecessary sarcasm. Talia and her many books reside in the English Midlands.
Thank you to TBR & Beyond Tours, the publisher, and Netgalley for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions contained within are my own.
Y’all know that I am, first and foremost, a reader of fantasy. It’s my home, my comfort genre. But in 2022, I started exploring a genre I hadn’t really delved into much: romance. In doing so, I discovered the work of Talia Hibbert, a Black romance author who writes some of the best banter (and steamy scenes…) I’ve read in my romance journey. So, when I discovered she was going to be having her YA romance debut in 2023, I was curious. Then I saw the cover, read the synopsis, and knew I wanted to get my hands on this book!
Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute is a friends to rivals to friends to lovers (say that five times fast…) romance that follows our two main characters, Celine and Bradley. Celine and Bradley used to be best friends when they were younger. Then, Bradley threw his lot in with the popular kids and Celine was having none of that, so they part ways. Not amicably, mind you. Now they are sworn enemies who constantly snipe at each other whenever they are within a five foot radius. So, imagine Celine’s surprise and disgust when Bradley ends up signing up for a survival camp right alongside her. Now, they need to work together and, wouldn’t you know it, silly feelings start to get in the way.
After reading this book, I can confirm that I want to read any romance that Talia Hibbert writes, whether it be adult or YA. The wit and charm that I always felt leaking from the pages of her adult romances transferred effortlessly into this YA offering! I loved the banter between Celine and Bradley and the inevitable tension that formed once they were back in each other’s orbit. It was wonderfully written to the point where I verbally said (to my phone as I was reading) “JUST KISS ALREADY!” Love when a romance has me rooting for the main couple so much that I get heated about it 😂 Honestly, I just love Talia Hibbert’s writing in general. It’s engaging, fun, and incredibly heartfelt.
She also knows how to craft some amazing characters! Celine and Bradley are both such fascinating leads in this story. They are interesting, complex, flawed, and just so human that you instantly become invested in their love story. I thoroughly enjoyed how much we get to see their internal struggles as they try and figure out not only their feelings for each other, but life stuff in general. I think that’s an important aspect to highlight in a romance geared towards teens, especially older ones who are at the same stage of life as our main characters. I know reading helped me to process complicated feelings about life and my future when I was that age and I think that this book is a great mix of that and escapism. It’s something I would gladly give to my own teenaged daughter to read and I think she would love it.
And can we talk about the great rep in this book?! We have two Black leads, which *chef’s kiss*, yes, more of that, please. We have casual queerness (you love to see it) and mental health rep. We have characters casually talking about therapy like it’s normal because it freakin’ is. This book is a smorgasbord of much needed and beautifully integrated representation that we need more of in YA books in general and certainly in YA romances. I, of course, can’t speak to the OCD rep as I don’t have it, but the author was recently diagnosed with OCD, so I like to imagine she handled it well.
Overall, this was a stunner of a book that had me feeling a lot of feelings as I sped through the pages. It was light and fun, but also touched on some important topics that I think are important to showcase in books for teens and young adults. The banter was A++, the tension was beautifully done, and I was invested in this love story. In the end, Talia Hibbert has found her way to my ‘favorite authors’ list and I cannot wait to read whatever she comes out with next!
6 thoughts on “Blog Tour: Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert”
Amazing review , this sounds so good and your review has made want to read this and check out the author
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you! I hope you do because she is a fantastic author 😊
[…] first finished book of the year was one for a blog tour and, also, a five star read! Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert was such a cute […]
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[…] Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert: This was my first read of 2023 and, with it, I have cemented Talia Hibbert as one of my favorite authors! Her brand of humor works for me so well and the way she writes romantic pining is just unparalleled. I mean, I am a romance newbie, but it is definitely my flavor! This is her first YA romance and it was just as stunning as her adult romances I’ve read. You can read my full review here! […]
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