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Read This Book

The True Love Story is Friendship

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Emily Martin

Contributing Editor

Emily has a PhD in English from the University of Southern Mississippi, MS, and she has an MFA in Creative Writing from GCSU in Milledgeville, GA, home of Flannery O’Connor. She spends her free time reading, watching horror movies and musicals, cuddling cats, Instagramming pictures of cats, and blogging/podcasting about books with the ladies over at #BookSquadGoals (www.booksquadgoals.com). She can be reached at emily.ecm@gmail.com.

Welcome to Read This Book, your go-to newsletter if you’re looking to expand your TBR pile. Each week, I’ll recommend a book I think is an absolute must-read. Some will be new releases, some will be old favorites, and the books will vary in genre and subject matter every time. I hope you’re ready to get reading!

one star romance book cover

One-Star Romance by Laura Hankin

When it comes to rom-com novels, 2024 has been a year of wins. I’ve already recommended others for you this year, and I’ve even recommended another Laura Hankin novel recently. But this new release is such a win that I have to bring it up. In fact, One-Star Romance is probably my favorite rom-com of the year so far. And you know what’s super wild about that? This is actually Laura Hankin’s first romance novel. This author is such a natural fit for this genre, though. I loved everything about this book, and I think you will too.

Fun fact: this novel is based on something that really happened to Laura Hankin. She did, in fact, have to walk down the aisle with a man who rated her book one star on Goodreads. For the full story, check out her Instagram video. And yes, she decided to develop that experience into a novel. (From there, the stories deviate.) In One-Star Romance, Natalie is the maid of honor at her best friend Gabby’s wedding. It should be a day of celebration, but Natalie knows that the best man, Rob, rated her newly-released novel one star on Goodreads. And she can’t let it go.

Natalie and Rob are opposites in every way, and if it weren’t for their friends, they’d probably never run into each other again. But they do so love their best friends (who are now married to each other). So as they keep showing up to support their friends, Natalie and Rob keep having to hang out with each other again and again through every milestone. As the years go by and their twenties turn into their thirties, Natalie and Rob continue to be thrown together. As you can probably guess, hatred turns to friendship turns to romance.

I enjoyed seeing the romance between Natalie and Rob grow through the years, but what I loved most about this rom-com is that the true love story is the friendship. We also get to see Natalie and Gabby’s friendship grow and evolve through the years, and by the end of this novel, it’s their relationship that had me tearing up. This is a story that values and prioritizes friendships and the people in our lives who remain at our sides through our triumphs and our tribulations.

One-Star Romance is not your conventional rom-com. You’ll get some fun romance tropes (hate to love, sharing a bed — you get the idea). You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. Ultimately, you’re going to get a great romance, but even if you come for the romance, you’ll stay for the heartwarming friendship.


Happy weekend reading, bibliophiles! Feel free to follow me on Instagram @emandhercat, and check out my other newsletters, The Fright Stuff and Book Radar!