That Thing You Do
Fake-dating-to-love trope alert! I know this is a favorite of some readers, so get that one-click finger ready as That Thing You Do is a delightful example of it.
Greta is in absolutely no hurry to be in a relationship. She did that once, it ended painfully, and now she’s quite content to collect bridesmaid dresses and go about her merry way. However, her two best friends have completely different ideas and a conversation at one particular wedding leads to an agreement. Each of them will go out with someone the other two deem acceptable, as an experiment of sorts. Greta rolls her eyes, but agrees to date the wedding’s DJ – largely because she has a plan up her sleeve.
Before her friends can get to him, she finds the DJ and makes him agree to several fake-but-public dates so as to fool her friends. He’s been eyeing her all night, so this is no real skin off his nose. Jon, otherwise known as DJ Force, has become quite the international sensation and is getting tired of being with women who are only into the connections he can bring or clubs he can get them into. Greta clearly has no idea who he is and he is super into that. (I’m thinking he’s the next Calvin Harris, without the T.Swift connection, by the way. So when I say ‘famous’, that’s the level.)
Of course, beloved readers, we know what happens. They keep going on fake dates, which quickly become not-fake for each of them. Jon is honest far faster than Greta is and he delivers some seriously swoon-worthy moments. You can tell that he understands her and trusts her quickly and I got the distinct vibe from him of the ‘I’m too old for games and bullshit. I like this lady, let’s just get on with it, eh?’ variety, which is one of my favorite attitudes in a romance hero. When I met my husband, we were both in that place, and it was so insanely refreshing.
Greta takes a little while longer to warm up to the idea of official and forever. As I said above, the past breakup knocked her for six and she spends most of the novel fighting her own feelings. Can she really trust a dude again? Does she really want to risk this vulnerability and is having Jon in her life worth it? Her final moment of realization that yes, he’s worth it and perhaps even impossible to live without is worth the whole journey.
I found That Thing You Do to be delightful and engrossing and perfect for anyone looking for a literary palate cleanser after an angsty or intense read. It’s slightly longer than it needs to be, but the plotting is mostly on point, and I only reached the ‘get on with it all’ stage once or twice. I’ve never read anything by Kayti McGee before, but she’s one I’ll keep an eye on now – especially if she writes stories about Greta’s two friends.