Arc Review: The Make-Up Test by Jenny L. Howe

Title: The Make-Up Test
Author: Jenny L. Howe
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: September 13th, 2022
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Rating: ⭐⭐✨

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

“Allison Avery loves to win. After acing every academic challenge she’s come up against, she’s finally been accepted into her dream Ph.D. program at Claymore University, studying medieval literature under a professor she’s admired for years. Sure, grad school isn’t easy—the classes are intense, her best friend is drifting away, and her students would rather pull all-nighters than discuss The Knight’s Tale—but she’s got this. Until she discovers her ex-boyfriend has also been accepted. Colin Benjamin might be the only person who loves winning more than Allison does, and when they’re both assigned to TA for the same professor, the game is on.
What starts as a personal battle of wits (and lit) turns into all-out war when their professor announces a career-changing research trip opportunity—with one spot to fill. Competing with Colin is as natural as breathing, and after he shattered her heart two years ago, Allison refuses to let him come out on top. But when a family emergency and a late night road trip—plus a very sexy game of Scrabble—throw them together for a weekend, she starts to wonder if they could be stronger on the same team. And if they fall for each other all over again, Allison will have to choose between a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and what could be a twice-in-a-lifetime love.” (Goodreads)

This one really spoke to my English major heart. One thing I loved about taking English Lit courses were the discussions that took place. It was interesting to see what others would think about while reading a certain passage. That part of this book didn’t disappoint me. The mass amount of miscommunication is what did and how most of the characters were not-so-great.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Allison Avery. She has worked hard in her life to get where she wanted to be and had a caring mother and friend who were there for her. Although with her mother, Allison did take it upon herself to care for her more than not. I definitely could understand wanting to help your mother in any way. I liked that quality about her. Her relationship with her father is very strained throughout the book. It’s been an unhealthy relationship and I can understand why Allison wanted to set boundaries with him. Boundaries are very important.

The other characters, besides her friend, were just okay. Most were just dillweeds and didn’t have any redeeming qualities.

Colin, the love interest, was fine but he wasn’t what I wanted nor liked. He was the reason for many miscommunications but wanted Allison to accept his apology and be okay with everything that transpired between them. She also was a bit selfish in some of her choices by not wanting him to apply for anything that she was applying for. That’s not very supportive and obviously had already caused issues in their relationship. Despite all this, they did have cute moments together (loved the scrabble scene). I also liked the little flashbacks of their relationship to help build into the present.

I liked the important talks about boundaries, toxic family relationships, and body positivity. I think most were done well but I didn’t like how the family one concluded. It kind of felt like an easy way out for the dad.

Overall, this was an okay to moderately fine read.

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