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Not Your Valentine-Review

Not Your Valentine

By Jackie Lau

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publication Date: January 24,2023

Publisher: Kobo Originals

Source: Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 3.75 Stars


Helen Tsang is tired of the pitying looks. From her parents, her friends, and even the bubble tea shop guy, who recognized her from the video. Almost one year ago, some loser couldn’t mind their own damn business and filmed an unsuspecting Helen’s very public break-up during what was supposed to be a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. A video of her ex-boyfriend saying, “It’s not me, it’s you. You’re holding me back” went viral.

Desperate to give everyone something else to talk about and with Valentine’s Day approaching once again, she asks her long-time friend Taylor Li to be her fake boyfriend, just to prove that she’s moved on and hasn’t sworn off love. (Spoiler alert: She’s totally sworn off love.) Taylor is the perfect option—single for once, and for some godforsaken reason, he loves Valentine’s Day.

But Helen didn’t expect was how easy it would be to get Taylor on board, fitting right into the boyfriend-shaped hole in her life. All she wanted was a couple sickeningly sweet dates to fill her social feeds, not corny text messages of silly heart-shaped cakes, and bouquets of flowers that harbor hidden meanings. Wanting to be around his sunshine attitude and delicious forearms all the time? That definitely wasn’t expected.

With February 14 quickly approaching, it’s getting increasingly difficult to ignore her feelings, especially when she starts wishing it wasn’t all an act.

Oh God. What has she done?


I had a hard time rating this book. It was a quick read but it felt longer because it took a while for me to be pulled into the story. I usually love Jackie Lau’s brand of unconventional heroines, dare I say unlikeable at times, but I really just didn’t click with Helen. And because the book was entirely from her POV, I had a hard time getting a read on Taylor. Add that to fake relationships not being my favorite and I think I’ve figured out why this wasn’t my favorite Jackie Lau book. That said, there were adorable moments and chances for Helen and Taylor to bond even more than their previous friendship. I’m not sure I bought the reasoning behind Helen deciding she needed a fake boyfriend. I felt that she should have been able to tell her friends to get off her back and if they were true friends, they should have respected that. As usual, this book made me want to explore Toronto’s food scene and I thought the heart shaped cakes were a funny addition to the story. And there were moments that were pleasantly steamy. I’d say, if you like fake relationships and prickly heroines, pick this one up. If not, it’s okay to skip.

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