I’ve never read anything by this author before, but I liked Twist so much that I went on a Kylie Scott book-binge immediately afterwards and devoured some of her previous books. One weekend and four books later, I had a book hangover that made Monday difficult to embrace, but I don’t regret my overindulgence. Ms. Scott writes passionate, interesting and funny stories with endearing and relatable characters, and Twist is a thoroughly enjoyable book that weaves copious amounts of humor into a poignant and empowering story of a woman who falls in love and finds herself in the process.
While this is the second book in the Dive Bar series, you do not need to follow the series order, but book one – Dirty – is wonderful and should be in your TBR pile, if it’s not already.
Alexandra (Alex) Hall isn’t one to put herself out there – emotionally or physically – and she lives her life within the safety of a self-created bubble. She works from home as a graphic designer and limits her public outings; some of her closest friends are the food delivery men and the UPS guy. She avoids romantic entanglements, indulging instead in one-and-done hookups, but she reconsiders her stance on romance after she meets Eric Collins through an online dating website. They began exchanging emails and hit it off immediately, which leads to a regular correspondence. Eric lives in a different state, so Alex feels that there is some safety in their exchanges and the distance allows themselves to be more authentic in their online interactions. Their casual, flirty and comical emails evolve over time into meaningful exchanges, where both open up and share intimate details of their lives. Alex develops feelings for Eric, and she decides to risk the pain of rejection and fly out to surprise him at his birthday party.
She arrives at the party dolled up and with high expectations, but it turns out to be her worst nightmare – she’s not greeted warmly and in fact, Eric has no idea who she even is. It turns out that Alex was catfished by Eric’s brother Joe, who was actually the one corresponding with her all these months, although to give Joe credit, he never intended to deceive Alex. He went on his brother’s rarely-used online dating account to help him with something when he happened to read Alex’s initial email and was intrigued by it. One email multiplied into frequent communications, by which time he’d passed the point of no return and was unwilling to reveal the truth for fear of alienating Alex and because of his own insecurities over the fact that some of the women in his past preferred his brother’s classical good looks and smooth charm to Joe’s more reserved nature and rugged, ‘lumbersexual’ looks.
Besides being horribly embarrassed, Alex is understandably pissed at Joe and doesn’t really find him attractive – physically, he’s not her usual type. She plans to leave this quagmire on the first plane available but is struck by an illness that keeps her stuck in town. Joe feels horrible about everything and genuinely likes Alex, so he uses this opportunity to further explain himself and try to make it up to her by taking caring for her while she’s ill.
Alex is too sick to refuse Joe’s offer of help, and their time together allows her anger to cool and them to begin anew. While she doesn’t believe she’d ever be romantically interested in him again, he’s still the man she got to know and like virtually and that connection proves to be a strong aphrodisiac.
Twist is told exclusively through Alex’s point of view, allowing the reader to get to know her well, and she’s a wonderful character. She has a razor-sharp wit that makes her one of the funniest heroines I’ve ever read, and she also has a very tender and sensitive side as she deals with the fear of intimacy that has controlled many aspects of her life. Witnessing that journey makes her both genuine and utterly relatable, and you can’t help but cheer for her as she finds motivation through her evolving relationship with Joe to face and conquer her fears.
Supporting Alex along the way is her longtime best friend Valerie, whose inclusion adds another level of depth to Twist. Valerie is a steadfast friend who helps Alex through the use of tough love softened by humor, and she is a trans woman who has experienced significant bullying. Ms. Scott seamlessly weaves a serious, topical social issue into a love story and sensitively and compassionately shines a light on the heartbreaking challenges faced by the transgender community.
The only reason I haven’t made Twist a Desert Isle Keeper is that I couldn’t get a good read on Joe, because we never are given his point of view. I wanted to understand his motivations better and craved to read of his developing feelings for Alex, but this lack of insight made it difficult to fully connect with their love story.
Kylie Scott’s Twist is a captivating and uplifting story of a woman who becomes a stronger version of herself when she makes the terrifying, stomach-dropping fall into love. Alex reminds us that love has the power to make us fearless in the face of our own uncertainties, because knowing someone loves us just the way we are – with all of our flaws – provides the ultimate safety net and motivation to leave our comfort zones and seize all that life has to offer.