Book Review: Hang the Moon

Image from BarnesandNoble.com

Synopsis

In a delightful follow-up to Written in the Stars, Alexandria Bellefleur delivers another #ownvoices queer rom-com about a hopeless romantic who vows to show his childhood crush that romance isn’t dead by recreating iconic dates from his favorite films…

Brendon Lowell loves love. It’s why he created a dating app to help people find their one true pairing and why he’s convinced “the one” is out there, even if he hasn’t met her yet. Or… has he? When his sister’s best friend turns up in Seattle unexpectedly, Brendon jumps at the chance to hang out with her. He’s crushed on Annie since they were kids, and the stars have finally aligned, putting them in the same city at the same time.

Annie booked a spur-of-the-moment trip to Seattle to spend time with friends before moving across the globe. She’s not looking for love, especially with her best friend’s brother. Annie remembers Brendon as a sweet, dorky kid. Except, the 6-foot-4 man who shows up at her door is a certified Hot Nerd and Annie… wants him? Oh yes.

Getting involved would be a terrible idea—her stay is temporary and he wants forever—but when Brendon learns Annie has given up on dating, he’s determined to prove that romance is real. Taking cues from his favorite rom-coms, Brendon plans to woo her with elaborate dates straight out of Nora Ephron’s playbook. The clock is ticking on Annie’s time in Seattle, and Brendon’s starting to realize romance isn’t just flowers and chocolate. But maybe real love doesn’t need to be as perfect as the movies… as long as you think your partner hung the moon.

Review

Read: July 2021

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

My rule regarding romance novels is that I don’t read them if they occur in a realistic setting. I usually want the romance to be secondary to the overarching plot – I don’t normally like it as the plot. Too much romantic angst tends to put me on edge, and because I read for fun, I try to avoid that. But Hang the Moon is the exception to my rule because its premise isn’t overburdened with angst and drama. It’s good enough that I plan to read Bellefleur’s prequel as well as the upcoming third book in this series. It’s fun. It’s cute. It’s so, so wholesome.

Brandon, the CEO of the dating company One True Pairing (yes, this author is after my heart indeed), still hasn’t found the love of his twenty-six-year-old life, but all that might change with the arrival of childhood friend/sister’s best friend Annie. But how to win over the romantically jaded girl? Well, that’s another question. Refusing to let Annie get away without at least shooting his shot, Brandon embarks on a quest to romance her – all before her impending move to London just a few weeks down the road.

I love this book about love. I am an unapologetic sucker for friends-to-lovers romances, and Hang the Moon does not fall short. Like I mentioned earlier, this book isn’t as angsty as so many romance novels tend to be – or perhaps it’s less the amount of angst and more the nature of it. The question in this story is never “Which guy/girl will X person choose?” The questions instead are “Will she stay?” and “What do I need in a relationship and in my life in general?” Annie’s work life heavily influences her social life, both before the story begins and throughout its duration. Her attempts at relationships have ended in failure, in part because of her travel-intensive work schedule, and she doesn’t really have friends where she lives when she isn’t traveling. Although she’s young and successful, Annie isn’t really happy. It’s beautiful to watch Brandon and Darcy try to show her that success in your career and happiness in the rest of your life aren’t mutually exclusive while still giving Annie the space to make her own decisions. The cherry on top of all of this is Brandon himself. He’s absolutely the kind of love interest I love to love – the one who’s hot and sweet and drives a Smart Car with a replica of a windup key attached to it. Seriously, the last part is totally swoon-worthy. Hang the Moon isn’t solely about Annie and Brandon though. After all, Annie did come to Seattle to visit her best friend, Darcy, and meet Darcy’s new girlfriend. Annie and Darcy love each other like sisters, but distance doesn’t always make a friendship easy. As the book progresses, Annie and Darcy work through the knot that distance has created in their friendship, and Darcy promises to put more effort into that relationship.

It’s also worth noting that Hang the Moon contains a lot of queer rep: Annie and Elle are bisexual, Darcy is a lesbian, and Margot is definitely not straight (I can’t remember if she’s a lesbian or bisexual). On a more personal note, this book was validating to me. I recently realized that I’m bi, even though I’ve never dated a woman. Since Hang the Moon focuses on a romance between a bi woman and a man, it’s a reminder that just because you end up with someone of the opposite sex doesn’t mean you aren’t bi – nor does ending up with a same-sex partner mean you aren’t bi. Annie and Darcy each represent different relationships for bi people, and I’m here for it.

Packed with lovable characters, refreshingly non-toxic relationships, and beautiful friendships, this novel is a worthy beach read to talk about with your friends. Aside from the major characters’ lack of racial diversity, Hang the Moon is an enjoyable, light-hearted read that calls your name when you’re craving some fluff.

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