Cover Image: Unnecessary Drama

Unnecessary Drama

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Member Reviews

My favourite book from 2022! There was really something about this book that just sucked me in and I could not put it down. I remember telling my boyfriend while reading that I couldn’t remember the last book that made me laugh this hard - it was just pure joy!

Brooke is a super organised new university student who moves into a share house and can’t believe it when she realises her new house mate is Jesse, her high-school nemesis. The rules of the share house are simple: no pets; no romance between housemates and no unnecessary drama, in general. At first Brooke tries to ignore Jesse but eventually they realise that ignoring each other is not so easy.

Brooke is such a completely relatable narrator and there was something on nearly every page that I found myself saying ‘omg, yes!’ to - “I once saw a cute guy in a bookshop but then I noticed he was buying a Jordan Peterson book and I lost interest”. Brooke is a chronic overthinker and I constantly felt so sorry for her and wanted her to just relax a little, but simultaneously couldn’t help but think I’d feel exactly the same way she did in each situation. Jesse was also a great character and he and Brooke complemented each other so well.

There are a couple of scenes in this book in particular that had me cackling with laughter. The dating app photo shoot scene was hilarious, and that scene in the pub with the fake dating is probably my favourite scene from any book in many years - I mean “the code word is wackadoo.” 

Brooke’s internal monologues are some of the best parts of the book however and I’m in awe at the author thinking of these things - “She always has the old-school Arnotts family assorted pack, and I open it and lay a selection of biscuits on a plate. This is kind of a psychological challenge. Whichever biscuit he chooses will reveal something about him.”

This review is possibly just a series of out of context quotes and references to scenes but I'm struggling to find the words to convey how in love with this book I am. Unnecessary Drama has 100% cemented Nina Kenwood as an auto-buy author for me. If you haven’t read this please do yourself a favour and read it immediately.
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Reading Unnecessary Drama by Nina Kenwood made me so nostalgic for my early 20s, but in the best way possible. It’s a wholesome, endearing story about Brooke, newly 18 and a high school graduate, as she navigates her first year of university while living in a share house with her former-friend-now-enemy Jesse. 

I loved literally everything about this book. The characters were so loveable. The Melbourne setting was familiar and comforting. The friends-to-lovers progression of Brooke and Jesse’s relationship throughout the book didn’t feel forced or overdone, but natural and relatable. 

Kenwood touches on some deeper themes of anxiety, alcoholism and mental health, but without moving into a dark place and challenging the reader too much. The overarching essence of the book is of friendship and finding yourself as you grow up. 

As the title suggests, you’re not going to endure unnecessary drama while reading this book. Instead it’s a refreshing, easy and fun read. If you’re looking for something lighthearted this summer that will have you smiling at the pages, I’ve found the book for you. I’ll be recommending this to anyone looking for a beach read this season.
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* I am so grateful to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Brooke likes to be in control and have everything arranged just so. This does not include living with her former school rival Jeremy as they both embark on their big adventure: uni. 

I really enjoyed this book, it was very sweet and wholesome Plus I'm from Melbourne too so it was wonderful to see my city portrayed in literature so accurately and it made me squee with joy whenever I recognised a place. Nina Kenwood had an incredibly strong narration style in this book. At times, Brooke does come off a little over the top and dramatic about her need for control, however she is also incredibly self-aware and insightful to her need for control. 

As someone who is still in uni and living in the same city, I couldn't help but recognise myself within these pages and I'd recommend Unnecessary Drama to anyone above the age of 16.
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Thanks to Text Publishing, Netgalley and the author for an ARC of this book - I am leaving this review voluntarily.  I picked up this book and could not put it down all day.  The characters had so much chemistry, the yearning was tugging at my heart strings from the very beginning and I loved the way everything wrapped up.

This is funny and sweet - the perfect summer read if you are in the southern hemisphere like me.  Also, it's set in Melbourne, and I very rarely read books by Australian romance contemporary authors, but Nina Kenwood is one I will be watching for in the future,
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Aaah where was this book when I was 18/19 and navigating moving out and all that kind of stuff?

I’m well out of the age demographic of young adult – actually, my oldest child is basically in that demographic now. But I still love reading YA now and then and it’s surprising sometimes, how often I still find one that speaks to me. And this book just gives me so much to identify with, both back when I was the same age as the characters and even now.

Brooke has finished school and is about to start university in Melbourne. She’s a highly anxious person, the sort of person that is always worried about looking after other people, making sure the vacuuming is done and that there’s a nutritious meal in the fridge. She’s living with Hannah and Jesse, her former high school best friend turned nemesis and it’s a lot to navigate. She’s trying to make new friends and just….deal with life.

There’s a great bit in this book about where Brooke talks about why she doesn’t drink and the Various Excuses she has to give people to excuse her from drinking like: taking antibiotics, doing a cleanse, etc and I felt this in my soul. I’ve never really enjoyed drinking, nor am I very good at it. I always skipped the drunk part and seemed to get right to the ok, I’m going to vomit a lot now. Alcohol also triggers a chronic illness I have but explaining this to people, that you don’t like drinking or don’t like hangovers or simply don’t want to, has never been a good enough excuse. Ever. People always try and convince you, saying you just need to drink more, or drink this instead or do this or that and it’s so boring when people don’t drink. I wish I could say that it stopped but it doesn’t seem to and I was questioned often in my 20s and 30s as to why I wasn’t drinking or didn’t want to drink. I’m 40 now and I haven’t actually faced a social situation that brings this up yet but honestly, I don’t see it changing. If you are at a gathering or a party and politely refuse an alcoholic drink, there are almost inevitably questions. And like Brooke, I have cycled through a myriad of excuses and reasons and I’m not even particularly social. Normalise not drinking, for whatever reason. Australia has a huge binge drinking culture and it definitely seems to garner a lot of sideways glances and ‘but why?’ when you tell people you don’t drink or don’t feel like drinking.

I really enjoyed the romance in this – Brooke and Jesse were best friends in high school but then Something Happened and they stopped talking. It has haunted Brooke ever since and Jesse moving in definitely brings a lot of that back up again. And then you find out Jesse’s feelings on what happened as well and…..look, Jesse did a horrible thing. For sure. But I liked the way that it played out and honestly, I felt like it was so believable. Teens make mistakes. They do and say stupid things to save face, to look cool, to save themselves from embarrassment and ridicule. This deals with the fallout of that and two people navigating their way back to friendship….and maybe more. It involves coming to terms with what happened in the past, understanding it and being able to move on and for the longest time, Brooke doesn’t even want to talk about it. Which, I also get. But she needs to hear him out in order to ever have the chance to actually move forward and the two of them….there’s definitely something there that needs exploring but it can’t be done effectively until Brooke has dealt with the past. And Jesse too, because Brooke isn’t the only one haunted by it.

This was super cute and I thought it was a great read with a sweet romance and even though Brooke’s relationship with her family is mostly in the background, the interactions that are showcased all serve to show why she is that responsible one, the one that worries about things. I really liked Nina Kenwood’s previous novel, It Sounded Better In My Head as well and I feel like she’s an auto-read now.
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I enjoyed this book so much! Utterly engaging & so relatable, once I started reading UNNECESSARY DRAMA, I couldn’t stop. 

This YA rom com is the feel-good read to turn to the next time you want something warm-hearted and adorable! 

The behaviour and over-thinking of 18-year-old protagonist, Brooke as she navigates her first year at uni and living in a share house was so damn relatable. Her anxious thoughts and attempts to fit in resonated with me and I thought her inner monologue and feelings were really well portrayed. I was nodding alone the whole time. 

This was the author’s second book & I’ve already bought her debut to enjoy over summer. 

UNNECESSARY DRAMA is the kind of book that will fill you with nostalgia for your post high school days. This was such a delightful read!
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Thank you to NetGalley and Text Publishing for a copy of this ARC. All thoughts are my own.

Brooke is a young woman ready to start over at university. She has moved out of home, over to a new town, into a share house - ready to do her literature degree, write her great novel and leave her past self behind. When the guy from high school that she hoped never to see again turns out to be one of the roommates - her plan of reinvention is halted, and she has to live with the curveball.

This coming of age romance has elements of enemies to lovers, forced proximity, and childhood friends. It was sweet, and allowed for Brooke to grow as a person - seeing people for more than what she had assumed them to be.

I loved reading this, and would definitely read more from Nina Kenwood.
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A friends-to-enemies-to-lovers romance set in a Melbournian university share house... 

With university about the kick off, Brooke has moved out of home and into a share house in Melbourne. It’s a big scary next step in her life, but she’s excited for all the new experiences living in the city will offer her. That is until she meets one of her new housemates – Jesse, her former best friend who broke her heart in high school and she’s hated ever since. With one of the rules of the house being ‘no unnecessary drama’ Brooke and Jesse spend most of their time ignoring each other unless their other housemate – is present. But when Brooke is in severe pain while on a run and then needs to go the hospital, Jesse is there for her the entire time and she ever so slowly begins to soften to him again. As they spend more and more time in each other’s orbit, Brooke can’t help but be drawn to him as they slowly rekindle the friendship they once had. But things turn complicated when they bump into Brooke’s ex and pretend to be dating, and a comment by Jesse reminds her why they stopped being friends in the first place. 

This was such a sweet coming-of-age story about finding yourself once you move out of home, with a fabulous Aussie twist. It was super refreshing to read a book set in Australia and full of Australian-isms, which is something that I’ve just not experienced enough in books – we desperately need more Aussie new adult romances because they are SO good!

Brooke and Jesse’s relationship was definitely a slow burn, but it was a sweet journey to be on as Brooke dealt with her conflicting feelings towards her former friend turned housemate. You really can’t go wrong with the forced-proximity of being housemates! 

I will say that I didn’t always vibe with this book. I don’t know if it was Nina’s writing style, Brooke as the narrator, or just because I haven’t read a more young adult based book for a while, but there were times when I just didn’t enjoy the book as much as I wanted to. In saying that, the further through the book I got, the less I experienced this, but it was still something I was aware of as I read. 

If you’re looking to add some more Aussie romances to your TBR or just can’t get enough of the friends-to-lovers trope, this is definitely a book you should be checking out.
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Loved the cover! It immediately drew me in with the great colour palette and illustration style. It was very easy to picture the living dynamic of the share house through the authors descriptions of the characters and the place itself. Brookes reserved personality trying to be chill and fit into a newly social environment was interesting to read and led to some heartwarming moments of self discovery and friendship.

This book was full of laugh out loud moments, from mouse mishaps to questionable party attire. I loved the seeing how the tension between Brooke and Jesse started to thaw with their Vampire Diaries binge watching and fake dating scenario mixed in. Who doesn’t love an enemies to lovers plot that is underpin by total misunderstanding from the past.  It was the perfect romantic comedy that came together with a great ending that left me smiling. I really enjoyed ‘Unnecessary Drama’  and look forward to reading Nina Kenwood’s next book. She has a very engaging writing style.
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Give me a book by Nina Kenwood and I know I'm going to love it. And this was no exception. In the simplest terms, Nina just knows how to write a good book. 

Unnecessary Drama follows Brooke who has just moved in to a share house in Melbourne where she discovers one of the housemates is someone she knew from school. Someone who she may have not gotten along with with back in high school. With the rule of  'No Unnecessary Drama' she has to learn to live with Jessie.

I absolutely loved this book. From the way it was written the storyline itself. This book was everything I wanted and more. It's the perfect New Adult rom-com that everyone needs to read. The characters are relatable. Especially Brooke, I can relate to her a lot. And not just because of the name. 

I just thing people are going to really enjoy reading this book.
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This cute second novel by Nina Kenwood was sweet, very funny, and super relatable. Brooke has just moved out of home and into her first share house to attend uni in Melbourne, when she discovers that one of her new housemates is Jesse, an ex-friend and now-nemesis. It was a fun take on enemies to lovers and one I whizzed through in a few hours.

Brooke's anxiety and need to control everything was SO STRESSFUL, but I feel like it made me love her (while simultaneously wanting to throw her in a pool). After loving Kenwood's first novel and now this one, I will officially read anything she writes. Thanks to @text_publishing for a digital ARC of this one!
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"Damn it. I like him. I like him so much. I need a feelings exorcist."

Unnecessary Drama is all about Brooke's experience moving into a sharehouse in Melbourne during her first year of uni. What she doesn't realise is her new housemate is Jesse, her nemesis and the boy who broke her teenage heart.

Brooke was one of the most relatable and endearing characters I've ever met in a YA novel. Here are just some of her relatable moments: being "mum-sick" (like homesick for your mum), her anxiety (especially the part about sleep anxiety), her caretaking tendencies, being the responsible sister and her fears. 

She had insecurities like all of us and was scared to give into her feelings for Jesse because “good things are scary”. But sweet Jesse showed that she could unequivocally trust him. Their relationship was a slow burn as Brooke struggle to forgive him for his past transgression, but then he took care of her when she was sick and agreed to be her temporary fake boyfriend. They were so cute and comfortable together, which is the best kind of first love ❤️.

The grand gesture at the end was so Brooke - I loved it! Add in some fun side characters and a Melbourne setting and you have Unnecessary Drama, an amazing Aussie YA novel.

Thank you to Text Publishing for the ARC via NetGalley - all opinions are my own.
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I think Nina Kenwood is in my head. Natalie (from It Sounded Better in my Head) was very me. And Brooke has many of my anxieties, eg needing plans, and lists, and thinking people don’t like me because my stupid brain tells me they don’t. And who hasn’t profusely denied their feelings for someone because they’re afraid of getting teased for said feelings! I did this very thing at the same age as these characters, in class no less! 

This book was a walk back to my teenaged school years, and one that shone a light on the idiot things we do when we’re young and… well…idiots. Adult lenses on teenage memories and behaviours, can I just say…what a cringe fest! 

Even though is doesn’t quite pack the same level of punch as It Sounded Better in my Head, Unnecessary Drama was still a delightful and adorable read. My only criticism is that it felt a little, I don’t know, short? Shallow? I’m not sure what word to use here but what I mean is that it hovered a little too close to the surface for my tastes, I would have loved a little more depth to the story. 

Many thanks to Nina Kenwood, Text Publishing, and NetGalley for an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Brief Synopsis
Brooke is the responsible friend, the one who always follows the rules. She likes organisation, routines and spreadsheets. When she moves into her new share-house in Melbourne, Brooke is given only one house rule to remember - No unnecessary drama - meaning no fights, tension of romance between housemates. Easy right? Well it was until the third housemate turns out to be her high school nemesis.

What I loved
There was plenty of drama in this book and it was all necessary! From the first chapter this was such a fun, light-hearted read. The main protagonist was instantly loveable and at times very relatable. I really enjoyed all of her inner monologues about the daily occurrences in her life. Who doesn't enjoy the sound of a book of house rules, printed, laminated and binded! Plus, this one has one of my favourite tropes! 

I recommend you read this book if you are looking for a feel good, funny romance novel by an Australian author! 

Thank you Netgalley and Text publishing for my gifted copy to read and review.
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Unnecessary Drama is the second novel by Australian author, Nina Kenwood. Eighteen-year-old Brooke Williams has left her hometown to attend university in Melbourne. She’s a little anxious about the housemates she’ll be sharing with, but she’s super-organised and is confident they can establish a set of rules to ensure a harmonious existence (she can print and laminate them, have them spiral bound). 

The house turns out to be a bit dilapidated, but she can cope with that, and she’s sure she and Harper will soon be firm friends, but their other housemate is a shock: unknown Jeremy turns out to be Jesse, her close friend at high school until an unforgivably humiliating incident in Year Eight that broke their bond. But she refuses to be driven out by his presence: they’ll just have to agree to quietly ignore one another.

That sort of works for a while, but it’s not easy to be barely civil to someone after they drive you to A&E and wait with you for hours: it seems Jesse has actually turned into quite a nice guy. And then there’s the situation in a pub with the last ex-boyfriend that requires a fake boyfriend to save face: Jesse volunteers, and maybe they’re not quite acting?

Kenwood’s protagonist is instantly loveable for her earnest good intentions and her guilelessness. The gradual revelation of her back story explains why she sees herself as the boring, responsible protector to her older sister, the wild reckless fun one, and why she doesn’t drink: “Being drunk would be messy, dangerous, out of control. My worst self might come out.”
 
She recognises that “I’m uptight, I’m controlling, I’m anxious, I worry about things too much, I’m not “fun”, although she’s probably way too hard on herself, but “being in control of myself is the most important factor to me feeling okay.” Brooke’s perspective is sometimes uniquely insightful: “And when you’re holding a party, and you need to invite people to said party and be sure they actually show up in person, it’s like a friendship exam.”

Brooke’s inner monologue and behaviour will resonate with any reader who admits to a tendency towards OCD even as it offers plenty of laugh-out-loud moments: the blind-date scene is absolutely hilarious. Reading this novel in the quiet carriage on public transport should probably be avoided; ditto eating or drinking whilst reading. 

Readers in the mood for a funny feel-good Aussie romance that might also require the tissues, but promises a happy ending, will find that Kenwood’s second novel ticks all the boxes. Very entertaining!
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Text Publishing.
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DNF

I could not get into this book at all. I found Brooke to be unrelatable and a bit annoying. The writing was very wordy.
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3.5 rounded up. A cute, entertaining, light read. Not as impactful as It Sounded Better in my Head but it still dealt with real New Adult and YA issues and misunderstandings in a sensitive, believable way. Sometimes you can escape your past, but more often than not it catches up with you, and only by facing it head on could these characters achieve closure and grow stronger as a result. The characterisations were spot on, all acted and behaved like new adults. This author always impresses me, and I will be there to read whatever she writes next.
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I loved Nina Kenwood’s first book, so I was super excited to see this one coming out.  I think this upper end of YA/new adult fiction is not only a good read, but really important. Without it there’s a jump from YA, with characters still in high school, to adult fiction, where characters have good jobs, houses, and their lives sorted…but what about the bit where you have just left school, moved out of home and are trying to figure it all out?  This is exactly where this book fits. It’s funny, it’s heartfelt, sometime cringe worthy, with friendship, romance and the drama of family dynamics.
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Unnecessary Drama was a quick light read that sits well in the YA/NA genre.  There isn't any big twist or anything overly dramatic, it's perfect for those who want to enjoy a story for the pleasure of a story. 

It's been a long time since I was a teenager, however I could still somewhat relate to the anxious feelings that plagued Brooke.  At times, I felt this was overdone and I wanted to scream "you're overthinking it!". I can appreciate that comes from maturity that most teens wouldn't have, though I still would have liked to see her get more into facing her issues.

Thanks NetGalley and Text Publishing for my advanced copy.
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I really enjoyed Nina Kenwood's first book, and this one didn't let me down at all! Very cute, very fun vibes, no real sense of tension but sometimes that's exactly what you need in your Geelong to Melbourne shabby housemates vibe romcom.
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