Rating 2.5 Stars
Warning: Contains *SPOILERS* below.
I really wanted to like this one more. There was so much build-up to Faker’s release date and look at how cute the cover is(!) but ultimately, it didn’t quite get there for me.
To start with, Faker was touted as the next The Hating Game. As a huge fan of The Hating Game (it’s one of my all time fave books), this immediately drew my attention! I was expecting a fun romantic comedy with a workplace enemies-to-lovers situation happening. However when a comparison is drawn, you expect something along similar lines. You don’t expect there to be so many similarities that it feels almost like a copy and unfortunately that was the case with Faker.
The story begins with a simple miscommunication when Emmie sees Tate’s “horrified” facial expression upon their meeting. When you find out later why he reacted that way (spoiler: Emmie looks like his ex-girlfriend), it doesn’t make much sense that he’d be horrified – shocked, yes; but horrified, no. So I struggled to visualize exactly what kind of expression he was really making. Afterwards, she continually overhears snippets of his private conversations and misconstrues this further which is one of my biggest pet peeves in novels. Despite her incorrect assumptions and subsequent poor behavior, Emmie and Tate still have to work together closely at Nuts & Bolts and eventually a relationship blossoms.
As previously stated though, there were many similarities to The Hating Game:
1) Mangoes – Instead of the strawberry theme throughout THG, there were several references to mangoes in this book; including the heroine mentioning they were her favourite fruit from the Big Island and the hero arranging an order of mangoes to be delivered to her.
2) Heroine got sick and the hero took care of her – In both books, this occurred in that awkward “I’m pretty sure my co-worker hates me so why are they helping me?” phase.
3) During the heroine’s illness, the hero knew the medical professional – In THG, Josh asks his doctor brother to check on Lucy. In Faker, Tate is old friends with the operating resident in the hospital.
4) Both heroines were teased in the past and mention being homesick – THG’s Lucy was teased for her shortness and strawberry farming childhood. Emmie for her ethnic background. Completely different reasons for being teased but again, referenced multiple times.
5) A formal event with a big reveal – Lucy accompanies Josh to his brother’s wedding in THG. Emmie and Tate attend his high school reunion (if I remember the event correctly?) together. At both events, the hero’s “big” secret is revealed.
While each of these points may seem minor, when it was all combined it just felt very familiar and ended up taking away from the story a little. The whole story wasn’t bad, however. It was still a charming debut by Sarah Smith and I think she has a lot of potential. It will be interesting to see what else she writes in future!