Title: All the Right Reasons
Author: Bethany Mangle
Genre: YA Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: February 15th, 2022
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.
“Cara Hawn’s life fell apart after her father cheated on her mother and got remarried to a woman Cara can’t stand. When Cara accidentally posts a rant about her father online, it goes viral—and catches the attention of the TV producers behind a new reality dating show for single parent families.
The next thing Cara and her mother know, they’ve been cast as leads on the show and are whisked away to sunny Key West where they’re asked to narrow a field of suitors and their kids down to one winning pair. All of this is outside of Cara’s comfort zone, from the meddling producers to the camera-hungry contestants, especially as Cara and her mother begin to clash on which suitors are worth keeping around. And then comes Connor.
As the son of a contestant, Connor is decidedly off-limits. Except that he doesn’t fit in with the cutthroat atmosphere in all the same ways as Cara, and she can’t get him out of her head. Now Cara must juggle her growing feelings while dodging the cameras and helping her mom pick a bachelor they both love, or else risk fracturing their family even more for the sake of ratings. Maybe there’s a reason most people don’t date on TV.” (Goodreads)
I wanted to read this one mostly because of the cover, haha. I love illustrated covers and this one also reminded me of an older comic like Jughead. How could I resist the urge to request?
The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Cara Hawn. She is seventeen and trying to manage life with divorced parents who don’t get along. Throw in a stepmother and it’s one thing after another to deal with. I have not had to deal with divorced parents personally, but my husband has and from his own stories I can understand how relatable Cara will be. It’s a hard situation to deal with and when you have your own feelings it can be hard to express them because you don’t want to cause more issues among them, let alone start another round of fighting. Cara also just wants what is best for her mom who she adores. It’s easy to see why this is being compared to Gilmore Girls. Their relationship is very fun and sometimes more friend-like than mother/daughter. It’s good to see a close bond between a parent and child.
I have only read a handful of books that have a show as a setting. It’s always a unique experience because the show is always quite different minus it usually being a reality one. Second chance dating is a fun trope and adding a family dynamic made it all the more better. It was cool to see the children of the parents interact and sometimes cause chaos! It was never a dull moment, especially if you know how wild reality shows can be.
My biggest complaint about this book would be the romance. There are two different ones going on. Cara has found her own love interest but it was hard to tell if she was doing it to add more to the show for the producers or if she really was interested. It could very well be the first and she required feelings along the way but I’m just not totally convinced. As for the mother, I hated how she didn’t listen to her daughter as much once the show started and that not only impacted their relationship but also who she wanted to end up with by the end. I do like that ending was very much a surprise and she came to her senses. Although, it felt very much like insta-love which isn’t my thing. I do understand that it is a shorter book so the author has to cram everything in.
Overall, this was a light, fun, and fast-paced read.