Falling for You Review
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Each week, millions of fans tune in to the latest reality dating show, eager to indulge in the kind of romance, drama, and backstabbing that result when a house full of girls (or guys) are forced to live together while fighting over the same love interest—all for the entertainment and amusement of at-home audiences. Author Heather Thurmeier takes the same reality dating plot and gives it a surprising twist in her contemporary romance Falling for You.

It’s been six months since New Yorker Cassidy Quinn had her heart broken by shallow surfer boy Brad, who left her for a chance to rekindle his romance with the California surf. Determined to help Cassidy move on, her sister secretly signs her up for a new reality dating show called The One—and Cassidy is shocked to discover that she’s actually been chosen as a contestant.

But the surprises don’t end there. After she settles into her private room in the show’s spacious mansion in the mountains and faces off against the show’s mean girl, Zoe, Cassidy discovers that the show’s bachelor is her ex, Brad. As Cassidy tries to sort through her old feelings for the man who broke her heart, she finds herself falling in love—not with the handsome bachelor but with Evan, her gorgeous cameraman.

You’ve got to hand it to Thurmeier for coming up with an interesting new take on the same old reality dating plot. The problem, however, is that it isn’t done especially well. Though Cassidy is supposed to be wrestling with her feelings for Brad, it’s pretty clear from the start that she doesn’t have any. Sure, she’s still nursing old wounds—but, as soon as she reconnects with her ex, her eyes are opened, and she sees him as the shallow, selfish jerk that he really is. As a result, the story lacks the will-they-or-won’t-they tension that could have made it more suspenseful.

Meanwhile, Cassidy’s budding relationship with Evan feels immature and overdone. From the beginning, they have the kind of overpowering chemistry that’s only found in melodramatic teen romances. It’s lust at first sight, and they just can’t think about anything else—not even their professional obligations to the show. Instead, they dive into a supposedly clandestine relationship—despite the fact that she’s constantly giggling and making goo-goo eyes at the camera, while he gets huffy and jealous whenever she’s forced to spend one-on-one time with Brad.

In the end, this romance feels about as realistic as any real reality dating show. Though the setup had plenty of promise, the execution falls flat. The relationships feel forced, the characters are immature, and the story is loaded with clichés. Even if you’re just looking for some brainless chick lit, you can do much better.

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