Sally Thorne's debut hit novel, The Hating Game, was a polarizing book, but I came down on the side of really enjoying it. I liked it enough that I just looked past the issues and enjoyed the ride. That said, 99% Mine is not much like The Hating Game at all. I know that I'm a different reader than I was in 2016, when her first novel came out, so it fits that this book is different than Thorne's last. It's as though the book fits where I am now. Perhaps it'll fit for you, too.
For starters, this is a friends-to-lovers story rather than an enemies-to-lovers tale. Tom has been in a relationship for eight years and Darcy has been traveling the world, hopping from city to city and from fling to fling. When an older relative passes away and leaves her house to Darcy and Darcy's twin brother, Tom and Darcy are reunited as they start renovating the house for sale. There's some forced proximity, a first love trope, and lots of pining.
The story is told from Darcy's point of view, which means that the reader is left to wonder along with her if Tom reciprocates her feelings, or if Darcy ruined everything 10 years ago and will forever be alone. (Spoiler - she will not be alone forever.)
Darcy was born with a heart defect, which means that she's on medication and needs regular monitoring. She was kept inside, kept from a variety of activities, and generally stifled as a child. I worried throughout the book that the Black Moment would be something to do with her heart, like her skipping medication would lead to an emergency hospitalization or something. I've read one too many historical romances with a close call, I think. Anyway, you'll be pleased to know that the big bad thing is not, in fact, anything to do with Darcy's physical heart.
Things I liked about the book:
- Darcy's relationship with her twin. It's close, but competitive. Darcy and Jamie are extremely close but also very different. They start the book estranged, and Tom is in an awkward place between them. It's part of the reason for the book's title, but I'm not going to tell you more than that.
- Darcy's best friend, Truly, has an indie underwear company called Underswears. They're panties with things written on them, like "Human Flotsam." It's super cute but also very stressful. I thought this was realistically and humorously done.
- The sexual tension is bananas.
We wouldn't make it to my bed. I don't care if this ruins us, or the house. I need to feel him, deep. I never want to feel hungry again.
I want to kiss Tom Valeska until everything falls apart.
- Darcy is a photographer and a bartender. Between that and the house renovation, Thorne is able to use lots of metaphors and other figurative language to sweep us up in the sweetness, the stress, and the nostalgia of Darcy and Tom's decades-long relationship.
Things that I didn't like about the book:
- I'm still in book hangover mode, so I'm not sure I can help you out here.
Content Warnings: Death in the family, heart defect, Tom's dad abandoned him and his mom is not responsible, Darcy abuses alcohol.
Suzanne received a digital copy of this book from the publisher for review.