Book Review: When We’re Thirty

Casey Dembowski’s novel When We’re Thirty is an enchanting rom-com with thoroughly likable characters and a great premise.

Hannah Abbott is a music journalist, working in her dream career and living her dream life in the city. Except in her dream, she had health insurance and a less obnoxious boyfriend. When Will Thorne, a close college friend, shows up out of the blue to fulfill their drunken graduation night promise, Hannah is faced with the shortfalls of her dream life, and begins to wonder if marrying Will can fix all of her problems. What she doesn’t count on is reviving the will-they-or-won’t-they storyline she lived out in college, as her feelings for Will become a lot less dormant and a lot harder to ignore.

This delightful romp of a novel checks all the boxes for an indulgent, enjoyable read. Relatable, flawed characters in a just-wild-enough-to-work scenario with unforeseen consequences peppered with laugh out loud moments, grin-inducing banter, and a few tugs on the heartstrings to boot. With a fresh spin on beloved tropes– including the marriage pact, fake marriage ploy, and friends to lovers– this novel is all around fresh and just a joy to read.

The backbone of this novel is the excellent character development. These are fully fleshed characters, from our main storyline protagonists to the side characters you just can’t get enough of. I want to see Kate and Daniel, especially, in another book. Possibly together. I’d also love an entire Riley backstory, please and thank you. And more Charlanie! Basically I’m going to need every minor character to have their own novel. They’re just that lovable! Even characters only seen in one or two scenes are so vividly rendered they’re completely memorable.

The situations Will and Hannah get themselves into are both humorous and believable, invoking plenty of laughs and thoughts of oh, no! That’s a terrible idea. Please don’t do that! And of course they do, and even more hijinks ensue. It’s a light and fun read, sure to become a comfort re-read for many, and yet. Even though it is light and fun, there is still plenty of space for depth, thought provoking lines and right to the heart moments that will leave you wistfully staring off into space and imaging your own banter partner.

When We’re Thirty is a thoroughly enjoyable read, striking just the right balance of light and thought provoking. These are such lovely characters, and it is so fun to root for them. I’ll leave you with a quote from the book, a line that cuts right to the heart of matters:

“Sometimes the way you fit back together after you’ve been broken is better than the way it used to be.”

Fans of Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Sophie Kinsella’s Love Your Life are sure to enjoy When We’re Thirty!

Thank you to LibraryThing and Red Adept Publishing for sending me the ebook to review. All thoughts are my own honest opinion.

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