Sophie Evans wants nothing more than to get out of her sleepy southern town and be a fashion designer in NYC. To save for college, she works for the town florist, where she is forced to decorate every town event.
At the annual Senior’s Valentine’s Day party, Sophie meets Andrew Hart, son of famous (and jerky) chef, Jett Hart. Jett happens to be working with Sophie’s best friend’s dad to grow his catering business— meaning the “obnoxious” new guy will be sticking around for the next year.
The story is told over the course of an entire year, starting on Valentine’s Day and ending on New Year’s. Sophie and Andrew are thrown together at nine different events, where readers see if their initial hatred for each other could turn into friendship…or maybe something more.
To say we are disappointed in this book is an understatement. Don’t get us wrong, we adore West’s books for the most part. Out of her 12 books, this is only one of two that we didn’t love.
We’ll start by saying the premise of the book made us so excited. Maybe This Time had the potential to be a super cute dislike-to-love relationship like Donovan and Lacey in Fame, Fate and the First Kiss. The only problem? Most of the characters and the major plot points fell flat.
First, Sophie wants to be a designer in NYC, yet she always criticizes Northerners (we promise we’re awesome!). The whole time we kept thinking: “We get it, you live in Alabama, but you want to leave Alabama, yet Southern culture is too superior for Andrew to understand?” Plus, Sophie talks about her big dreams of becoming a designer, but spends most of the book depleted and complaining about her lack of talent. We would have liked it if Sophie had a little bit more confidence and tried to be proactive with ditching her sketching funk. Also, Sophie spent much of the book idolizing the “sophisticated” NYC style, but the way she’s described throughout the book makes her sound more like a stereotypical small town housewife, not a creative teenager.
One of the more glaring issues with the book was Sophie’s constant negativity. We understand that she wanted to get out of her small town, but Sophie spent the better part of the book ragging on her town and everyone in it. She was not realistic at all about a potential life in the city, and she came off as pretty naive about the reality of her situation.
Next, Andrew wasn’t actually that rude. Sophie continually complained that Andrew was a rude, snobby city guy, but in reality he was cute and flirty from the beginning. For the main couple of the story, they didn’t have much banter and they definitely lacked chemistry. While Sophie saw Andrew as an epic jerk, we saw him as a nice guy trying to help Sophie despite her determination to see the worst in him.
The supporting characters also didn’t contribute anything to the story. Sophie’s mom is selfish and unsupportive, her dad is MIA, and her best friend is super entitled. The best minor character was Sophie’s little brother, Gunnar. He was the only character that Sophie has a positive relationship with throughout the story, and he was one of the few high points of the book.
Overall, West’s latest book is not a fun-to-read YA Contemporary Romance. The constant negativity in the book made this one hard to finish. Our final thoughts: Andrew, wake up, you were too good for Sophie; Go back to NYC and enjoy the winter weather.
While we didn’t love this novel, we’ll always read West’s books. We just hope her spring 2020 book focuses more on character development and chemistry.