Am I allowed to write a review consisting of nothing other than hearts and exclamation points?
Fine, here is a review:
Mia Sosa's The Worst Best Man is full of laughs, family and stabby feelings. Through a twist of fate, jilted wedding planner Lina has to work with the man who told her that her fiancé had run off--his brother Max, who apparently talked Andrew out of the marriage over drinks the night prior. Fast forward a few years. After seeing Lina in action at a wedding, the new owner of The Cartwright Hotel asks her to work on a pitch to become The Cartwright's in-house wedding planner. Meanwhile, Max and Andrew have been assigned by their boss (who is also their mother) to work with the hotel on their marketing and branding. Unlike their usual approach, the brothers split up and pair off with the two competing wedding planners, giving Max the opportunity he wants to distinguish himself from his brother. Even though they don't want to work together, Lina's lost her office space due to ever-climbing DC rental prices and needs a new space to work, ASAP. With neither of them able to say no, Max and Lina are reluctant but determined partners.
The enemies-to-lovers and forbidden romance set-up of this book is so strong that even as the two main characters flirt and argue and develop a deep respect for one another, it's hard to see how they can make it work. After all, it's not as though Max will suddenly not be related to and work with his older brother just because he's in love with Lina. However, the animosity never approaches the level of meanness. Neither of them are cruel or interested in hurting the other's career.
An an Afro-Brazilian woman, Lina has been suppressing her emotions with everyone but her family in order to appear professional and to avoid being judged as over-emotional or aggressive, so Sosa shows the developing relationship between the characters through moments in which Lina lets her guard down. The level of trust and comfort she requires in order to express emotions with another person is pretty high and she's been betrayed by the last man she committed to. Even worse that it was Max's brother and she worries that he only wants her because of their life-long brotherly competition. Though he worries that their deception will explode his already strained relationship with Andrew, Max gives in to his feelings pretty quick.
Balancing this angst is a lot of humor. Beyond the plentiful banter between the main characters, Lina's family and friends are so fun to be around. Sosa's characters are loving and supportive, but don't hesitate to call each other out and possibly get over-involved in their personal relationships.
Side note: Lina eats far too much delicious food for anyone to read this book on an empty stomach. Get thee some Brigadeiros!
Between Lina's subtle revenge pranks, the enemies-to-lovers set-up, One Bed at the Inn and a strong family network, The Worst Best Man is a thoroughly satisfying read. You'll fall for both characters, even as they fall for each other.
Suzanne received a copy of this book from the publisher for review.