Cover Image: How Not to Fall in Love

How Not to Fall in Love

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Member Reviews

What a cute story!  I love Theos character with his quirky personality and his heart on his sleeve. Harper of course doubts herself constantly which creates so many miscommunications which keep the suspense of who she will end up with.
 It s a well written easy read. 
My only complaint is the constant assumptions made by the characters that eventually lead to decisions or statements that could have been avoided by just saying what they were feeling or thinking. That does lead to a couple interesting twists in the story though. 
It’s a great good old fashioned teen love story.
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This was cute and a perfect YA rom-com type book. I’m not a huge fan of love triangles or friends to lovers tropes and this included both. But for what it was it was perfect. I felt like the relationships set healthy boundaries and overall were quite good examples for teenagers girls. 

The main character Harper was like able even if it was a love triangle. Honestly it was just an enjoyable read and I would recommend to teen girls, but it wasn’t really a YA adults would like too IN MY OPINION. 

3.5/5 thank you netgalley for the advanced copy.
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At the very beginning I felt Harper was relatable. She’s smart and funny. She is cynical about love after having witnessed bridezilla after bridezilla lose their minds in her mom’s dress shop. However I quickly became less than impressed with her when she accompanied her friend Theo into their Treehouse of Safety, where no one is allowed to poke fun at one another, and she proceeds to mock him for being upset over a breakup. Not cool. At best that’s really bad friending, and at worst a total violation of their code (which somehow goes completely unacknowledged by either character). So, yeah, that didn’t make a whole lot of sense and made me feel disappointed in Harper. And for most of the book she continues to be dismissive and a little judgmental of Theo and his “nerdy” interests. By the end, Harper redeems herself a bit in this regard and learns a lot of lessons but not without leaving damage in her wake. 

I’m not a big fan of stories that have a MC dating someone - a very *wonderful, thoughtful and kind* someone - the entire time only to have this person get dumped and have their heart broken for the You’ve Always Been Here But I’m Only Just Noticing You Now best friend. There’s better ways of doing the Friends To Lovers trope, imo. So this really wasn’t for me. 

However there were several points that I did like a lot. I appreciated how much trust and respect there was between Harper and her mom. They had an amazing relationship that you don’t see often enough either in real life or in fiction. It’s nice to see a good example here. 

Another thing I loved was that all parties (Harper, Felix, Theo, et al) were never not respectful to their partners while on dates and in intimate situations. There was always active listening going on and continuous consent seeking. A+ on that. Despite initial communication problems (mostly for plot purposes) there were plenty of examples of good communication happening in relationships. 

The behavior demonstrated by the teenagers in this book (especially the boys) was impressive, like when both Theo and Felix were open with Harper about their feelings. And when Felix put a stop to an intimate moment with Harper when he realized she wasn’t as emotionally invested in their relationship as he was. I definitely want my teen reading books that model these kinds of healthy, respectful behaviors. Not only do we *not* see toxic behavior where there could so easily be plenty, but we get actual proper healthy examples of the right ways to do things. 👏🏼 I applaud that. 

I also love how Harper, a self-proclaimed feminist, occasionally makes comments about things like the antiquated notion of a woman being given away at her wedding, handed from her father to her husband like a property transfer, and the significance of a bridal veil. 👏🏼 Go Harper. 

3.5 stars out of 5. (Extra half-star for all the Don Quixote references.)

Thanks to NetGalley and Clarion Books for the ARC.
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Almost all the characters felt likeable and real.  A quick, delightful read filled with missed timing and poor communication, culminating in a lovely and expected end to a rom-com.  I loved that it was set in a normal, safe and healthy atmosphere with supportive parents and a stable home.  There were no villians, backstabbing friends, or elements of contrived drama, and it was extremely refreshing.

My only lament is that something with Felix and Harper wasn't quite lining up.  The central issue is Harper's lack of communication.  Harper clearly thinks things through, yet she let things get extremely hot and heated with Felix a month into dating and then everything halted with the word "girlfriend."  The scene would have made more sense had it occurred before things got really hot and heavy.  Also, if Felix felt that way, how had the word girlfriend not come up before, even teasingly or flirtatiously?  Or in a conversation with Pippa or Theo, who loved to tease her?

Thank you to NetGalley and Clarion Books for the ARC.
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This was a really fun read! The bridal store was a really fun backdrop to the story and I really enjoyed the characters. There were times Harper was sort of hard to relate to- she was pretty dense in seeing Theo’s affections. But, I did love their chemistry and watching her wake up to what was always there. Felix was a great guy too and I had to root for him some of the time (though I didn’t want him to be end game). So, hint of love triangle plus besties to lovers- got to love the tropes!! Overall an really fun, quick read with tons of character chemistry!
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A hardened cynic and a hopeless romantic, best friends..... or maybe something more. Harper works at her mom’s wedding shop and after seeing so any relationship squabbles and after a particularly horrible break up she is convinced that she just doesn’t think romance is where its at. Her best friend Theo is the exact opposite, he is constantly falling in love and being dumped. He loves rom coms, is very sensitive, a bit of a dork and really into larping. He believes in loving as deeply as possible. After his most recent breakup Harper offers to teach him how not to fall in love and he makes a counter bet with her that she will fall in love with the guy that she starts going out with ( Felix, a super sweet and cute guy who works out at the gym across from her mom’s store that she’s been running into (literally)). However, the more Harper tries to help Theo work out his relationship the more she finds herself conflicted between her feelings for Felix.... and her relationship with Theo. It doesn’t help that Theo and Harper have always been close, physically and emotionally. After a weekend at one of Theo’s larp events, Harper starts to re-evaluate everything she feels.. and hopefully snag the right guy before its too late. This was a pretty cute romance read. It definitely works the friends to lovers thing well and the issues of mixed signals and messages between two people who are complete opposites but so close to one another that ruining their friendship is something neither of them wants to risk. Though there was a bit of a love triangle/ square (?) everything works out in the end and both guys were really sweet and nice guys, there was no issue with one being better than the other it was just sorting out feelings between someone new and someone who is a lifelong best friend. I had fun reading this and definitely would recommend it for anyone looking for a cute romance read!

*Thanks Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review*
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This was a really cute, cliche-filled book that will absolutely hit the spot for somebody. As it's YA fiction, it's no surprise that the characters themselves are walking cliches: the quirky boy who is just SO unique and the girl who thinks she's a bit edgier than she actually is. Hey, I can relate! I definitely thought I was edgier and quirkier than I actually was in high school. and I've always loved a good cliche. However, looking at it from an adult lens, it's just a tad too cliche-y. I would probably recommend this is as a younger teen book thanks to the cheesiness.

While it's not personally my taste, I'm giving this book 4 stars because it is a YA novel and I can honestly see myself squealing over this when I was like 15. The book is well written and the plot is perfectly fluffy. A great summer read for teens who like the romance genre.
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*3.5 Stars* - review to be posted on my blog on 11/22/21

How Not to Fall in Love is a really quick, light hearted, young adult romance story. It’s about a girl named Harper who works at her mom’s bridal shop, helping her alter dresses for excited and stressed out brides. Being in the bridal industry has made Harper a cynic about love. It doesn’t help that her quirky best-friend and next door neighbor, Theo, falls in love easily and gets his heart broken often. So she tries to help him not fall so fast by giving him lessons in dating.

As for Harper she finally talks to Felix, her crush, and tries to show Theo how to keep things casual except it’s a bit challenging for Harper because Felix is perfect. Theo and Harper both date other people but it’s clear that the person Theo really likes is Harper. She’s pretty clueless about it until she thinks it’s too late for them.

I think I should note the boys in this book – cry! Yes, they both do and that’s rare to see in books. Theo is sensitive, very quirky, dorky, so smart and oh so cute. I can definitely see why Harper started falling for him – he seems to give really good hugs, emotional support and vocab lessons! They have such a cute friendship filled with affection. Felix, on the other hand is perfect as well, it just came down to who knew Harper the best, and that was Theo.

Random Notes:
Harper has to pick between two boys so if you aren’t into love triangles then you might not be into this love story.

I think the “lessons” Harper was supposed to help Theo with was kind of lost in the story. I didn’t see too many lessons going on, just some advice she’d give him about when to call a girl back and such. Also I thought it was weird that Harper was giving lessons when she only had one ex-boyfriend and wasn’t the dating type – it took her awhile to talk to Felix. For awhile all she did was stare at him from the shop window.

It’s a sex positive book which was nice because yes, teens do have intercourse. I’m glad Harper’s mom was there for her to talk about her love life.

I’m not a fan of this book cover! I really think they could make it as cute as the story is, at least.

Final Thoughts:
This one is a really quick read and I think it’s such a sweet love story between two best friends. I enjoyed Harper and Theo’s relationship a lot. I thought the love triangle was handled pretty well considering Felix was a good guy too and it was no fault of his that things didn’t work out – sometimes, that’s just the way it is in young love. If you like a friends to lovers romance story, you may enjoy this one.
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Thank you, HMH Books for Young Readers and NetGalley, for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

How Not To Fall in Love was a quick read, cozy, and very delightful. The “friends-to-lovers” is my favorite trope ever, and I think the author did a great job here with the plot. 

The first thing I loved was that Harper was working in a bridal shop and helped her mother. However, she witnessed too many weddings and her only relationship with a boy that “she thought was love, but he just let her down,” all of this made her feel that the whole marriage thing is pointless and weddings were a waste of money and effort. However, when she gets to meet up with Theo and deal with him more often, she starts having another thought.

I liked the rom-com and the unexpected twist. And I loved all the characters; they were likable and seemed natural to me.

Overall, this book nailed my five stars, and I recommend this book to everyone who likes sweet rom-com books.
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How Not to Fall in Love was an adorable, quick, easy read. The characters were younger than I initially expected, but I enjoyed the book anyway. Thank you, NetGalley, for the eArc!

Harper is WAY to straight laced and serious for a teen, but I have known teens like that, she is absolutely a believable character! She works in her mom's bridal shop, helping with alterations, and trying to straighten out the business end of things, after mom made some not great business decisions. She has dealt with too many "bridezillas", between her past love life, and her experiences in the shop, Harper has become skeptical as to if love is a real thing.

Harpers best friend is Theo, the boy next door. Theo is a "word nerd", he plays the accordion, he is a LARPer, and he wears his heart on his sleeve. Theo falls in love, instantly, with every girl he dates, and gets his heart broken over and over again. Harper is there to pick up the pieces each time, but she decides that Theo needs to learn how to not fall in love, to protect his heart. However, the lessons start to backfire, and Harper finds herself falling in love.

I will say this, I felt that the outlook on teen sex was a little too laid back in this book. Harper apparently lost her virginity to a boy that she dated for 6 weeks, she almost has sex with a boy that she "dates" for less than a month (they went on a total of 2 dates, I think). All of the parents in the book seem to be okay with the sex, as long as they use protection. I am glad that using protection is mentioned every time sex is mentioned. It just felt like everyone was just a little too laid back about it
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I like the premise of this book because the friends-to-lovers trope is one of my favorites. The male lead, Theo, is a character that you don't often see in YA romances---he is a LARPer, cries at rom-coms, and a word nerd while Harper, his best friend and next-door neighbor, is a hard-working, no-nonsense type of girl. I like both of them but their interactions didn't have the push-and-pull that gives you the feels.
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This book exited my expectations and more. A classic retelling and an adorable romance, and Harper felt so real and I could just relate to her all the way and her Growth was amazing. I loved that Harpers mom was ready to talk about sex unlike most YA moms this was just overall an amazing read.
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This was a really fun, quick YA contemporary read. If you're looking for something cozy and a little predictable, but with enjoyable characters and engaging writing, I definitely recommend picking this one up!
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As soon as I requested and received this arc, I looked at the title and the cover and immediately expected a cheesy rom-com that would make me smile, but wouldn’t be all that memorable. I have never been more wrong in my life. How To Not Fall In Love follows Harper Jamison, a girl who, after working in her mother’s bridal shop and witnessing way too many wedding meltdowns, has fallen out of touch with the idea of true love, or even love in general. Her best friend Theo, however, falls in love too easily, and usually finds himself nursing a new heartbreak every week. So Harper offers him something; lessons on how to not fall in love. But as he starts taking her words to heart, she learns to open up her heart to the wild world of being in love.

This book was AMAZING. ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. The first thing I loved was how the author didn’t have conflict where there usually is conflict; for example, unaccepting parents, enemies, expectations. Instead, it was a normalized healthy atmosphere. I saw one review talking about how they loved the amount of sex positivity from the parents in this book, and I wholeheartedly agree. It was such a nice change to see a supporting parent who helped their child through absolutely everything. 

I loved how not one person was demonized. There was no villain in this book. There was just two kids trying to figure out what they wanted. It made me really happy. Speaking of, I LOVED the other relationships in this book, namely Harper and Pippa. Their friendship was absolutely golden, and (as I said earlier) didn’t have that conflict element that many authors put into friendships. I also loved Harper’s relationship with Felix, and I loved how he wasn't slandered whatsoever. 

Now onto the main relationship; Harper and Theo. I’ve never been a friends to lovers kind of person, but this book has changed my mind. It was messy, fun, and so dynamic. I loved how they weren’t a picture perfect relationship, and how it was made very clear that there were issues. But they fit together so well. I loved both of their characters individually as well. I absolutely ADORED Theo. I love characters like him; the attractive yet completely nerdy type. Absolute gold. 

Plot-wise, this book was still perfect. Like I said earlier, I expected a cheesy rom-com, which meant I expected a cliche plotline. This was anything but. The tropes were insane, and I was not expecting some of the twists (trying not to spoil, so I’m leaving it there). It was such a welcome change. 

Overall, this book blew me away. It is so much more than just an average, cheesy, cliche rom-com. It’s dynamic, funny, fast-paced, and an amazing depiction of complicated, modern love. If I could give this more than 5 stars, I would. Absolutely worth it.
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This was a sweet and hilarious romance between friends to lovers.

Harper and Theo are childhood friends, they are neighbors, grew up together and shared the cutest memories, but they cant more different, Harper doesn´t believe in love and is guided more by her head than by her heart, meanwhile, Theo, literally is a knight with shiny armor who can play the accordion and write poems

I loved all the characters, they are realistic. likable and a little quirky. Harper is a smart girl and a hard worker, she helps her mom with her bridal shop and wants to study business to help her with finances, she has a strong relationship with her mom, who trusts Harper and gives her good advice when she needs it. 
Theo is adorable, he always gives his heart and does big things, not afraid to be different and be true to himself. And Pippa is a great friend, her personality is very colorful and bright, everyone needs a Pippa in their life.

It's summer, Harper is too busy for a serious relationship, but she doesn't mind the idea of ​​a summer love affair, and Theo, on the contrary, he wants the HEA. Both will go through a series of adventures and misadventures, especially Harper, her head and feelings can be a mess and she needs to focus and think about what she really wants.

It's fast-paced, if you want something cute, laugh and relax this is ideal
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I received this story as an e-arc. Oh my gosh! I could not stop reading it.  I did have some issues trying to download it. Luckily I did get some help from Netgalley!  Thank you. 

Back to the story - I love all the names in this book for the characters.   The beginning of the book hooked my attention and kept going throughout the entire story.  When I kept reading on so many interesting things were happening with Harper.  I loved the fact she helped her mom out and that their relationship was pretty interesting.

I had a hunch that this book would be up my alley to read and it was. </p>

I can see how some people might see this book as a triangle love story but to me it seemed more about Harper's sense on love and how to figure out how love works in a relationship.  She learns how to cope with those feelings.   I also believe these same concepts go to Theo.   The story focuses on Harper as the main character and I think Theo would be the second main character.   Felix, Pippa, Harper's mother and Theo's family also come into play which is great.

Such a sweet novel with friendship and love!   I really liked it. 

So if you are looking for something sweet, fast paced,  coming of age of what love is, friendship and a geek like me who likes great endings, then you need to read it.

Some things that I liked:

Harper helping her mother out at the bridal shop

Communication between Harper and her mom about birth control

Loved Theo's creativity of stories and LARPing

Harper and Theo sharing a tent



Harper and Theo share and help each other with SAT/ACT vocabulary.  There were some words I did not even know. 

Love that Theo plays the accordion

Funko Pop is mentioned 

Harper finding out who she is and what love it

Theo finding out who he is

Pippa's description

The ending!
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How Not to Fall in Love by Jacqueline Firkins was delightful! It is set in New Hope, PA which is one of my absolute favorite places. Many of my own teen days were spent exploring the shops and I could immediately picture Main Street and the bridge over the Delaware. The two main characters are only 17 and it is the summer before the start of their senior year of high school. Harper has sworn off love, but her best friend Theo is a sensitive soul who always falls hard but gets his heart broke. So Harper decides to teach him how not to fall headfirst over heels in love and he agrees as long as she also agrees to give dating a try. When I read the description of the book, I thought that meant dating each other, but the story took a different path towards finding love. Sometimes you have to make some mistakes first. The book is marketed as a YA book for 14 and up, but sexuality is a very open topic in the book. The characters are diverse and all uniquely crafted. I think part of the big appeal for me was how familiar I am with the location and being able to picture the scenes, but the story was woven with so much detail that I had no trouble envisioning everything else. It was a feel good story even if it did start out in the friend-zone… I am also thrown by the fact that dating apps for teens are real and do exist. Who knew?
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Harper is a rising senior in high-school, spending the summer working at her mother’s bridal shop. She’s not a typical teen, while most of her class is spending the summer in her small town, New Hope, PA, relaxing and going to parties, she is working 40+ hour days, trying to help her mom keep the shop afloat. After a series of bad business decisions on her mom’s part, Harper, an aspiring businesswoman, stepped in to take over the books and some sewing. Being surrounded by brides and wedding chit-chat all day is proving to be challenging though. After an ill-fated summer romance from the previous year ended in heartbreak, Harper has sworn off love and the brides at the shop just make her more cynical. 

Theo, her long time best friend, could not be more of Harper’s opposite. He wears his heart on sleeve, constantly falling in love, and is always authentically himself; fencing, LARP-ing, playing the accordion, helping Harper study SAT words because he loves vocabulary, and wandering around without shoes. One day Harper comes home from the shop and finds Theo bawling his eyes out over another girl who broke up with him after 2 dates because he came on too strong. This is always Theo’s pattern and Harper doesn’t want to see him keep getting hurt. They make an agreement; she will give him lessons on how not to fall in love and Harper will go on a date and try not to fall in love. 

What begins in lessons about how not fall in love, turns into a story about how to fall in love. This is a very sweet  contemporary YA romance about opening up oneself to the possibility of love. Light-hearted, with realistic characters. Would definitely recommend.
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Cute book! I liked it, but did not love it. A fun romance that is generally sex positive, but a little lackadaisical about sex in a way that I don't know if teens are? I loved the bridal salon/ Ren faire settings. It was easy to tell from the beginning that the two main characters would fall in love, but the journey was still satisfying to read.
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If you like friends-to-lovers romances, this book is definitely for you. It's one of my favorite tropes in this genre, so I absolutely adored this cute, quick read. The characters were likable, the premise was fun, and the writing was great. The title of the book is catchy and makes sense, and even though it's probably more of a YA romance (the main character is 17), and my inclination is more toward the adult romances, I still found it very enjoyable!
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