Waking Up Married
Lisa Suzanne

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I’ve never seen Emily Clarke as anything more than my little sister’s best friend.

One drunken mistake later, she’s my wife.

My first thought is how to get out of this, except our wedding video has gone viral and record sales are skyrocketing. My manager thinks following the newlyweds on the second season of my band’s reality show will keep up the momentum.

I just have to get Emily to agree to faking this marriage for six months, and then we can quietly divorce.

Right?

Wrong.

Nothing is quite that simple when feelings blur the line between a contract and reality.

I ended up with more than just a hangover when I found myself waking up married.

⭐⭐

Here there be spoilers.

I’m a sucker for rock star romances, but this one was definitely not it for me.

Emily… drove me nuts. She swung between immature and worldly, and just never felt fleshed out to me. She shrieked a lot–when she wasn’t giggling. (Oh, man, the giggling. There were 42 giggles in this book, which was aggravating by the end.) It made her feel like a teenager instead of a 24-year-old woman who was coming out of an unfaithful relationship. Honestly, when even Adam thought of Emily as his annoying little sister’s annoying best friend–repeatedly–I should’ve clued in that I just wasn’t going to like her.

Adam was much more likable. By far. He was steadier and willing to go all-in on their relationship much sooner than Emily (who was decidedly wishy-washy about pursuing anything more than a contract despite her repeated assertions of loving him since she was 10 (or 12, whichever fit the plot at the time)). He felt much more balanced and (ridiculous abs aside) relatable.

The relationship in general felt lackluster and uninspired to me. There was far too much will-we-won’t-we on both parts, with each bemoaning the fact that they were falling for the other while the other thought it was just an act for the cameras. The drama with Bree was obnoxiously transparent, and Emily’s reaction to it (especially the second time) was overblown. Yes, she’d been cheated on in the past, but it was so obviously contrived. Even more annoying was that nothing ever came of the tabloid report–it broke, Emily flipped out over Adam’s perceived cheating, and then it kind of just… went away.

I also called Emily as preggers as soon as it was pointed out they didn’t use a condom on their wedding night. So not subtle.

Although proclaimed as a standalone, characters are introduced with their wives like we’re supposed to care who they are. I wish the book had been indicated as being part of a series, rather than a standalone, as reading the (at least) two books preceding it might have helped a lot with that.

The band’s manager is frightfully inconsistent. When she first learns of Adam and Emily’s marriage, she flips out:

She glances down at her own engagement ring, holding it up to show me like a damn trophy. “Weddings are supposed to mean something. Marriage is between you and someone you love, not someone you barely know.”

Yet two pages later…

“I’m saying maybe what you did last night isn’t the worst thing in the world. I’m saying maybe you need to stay married a little while. All of America saw you and Bree break up on Rock on the Road, Adam. You’re giving them the hope they need that they can have their happy endings even after suffering through a broken heart.”

The concept of marriage is reiterated as being forever by Emily’s mother. Upon learning of her marriage, she tells Emily that the Clarke family marries for life. Although it sounds like it should be sweet and romantic, the attitude irks me, like someone is ruined for life if they marry again. What if a relationship is abusive? What if they’re widowed? Are they supposed to wrap their single marriage around themselves like a security blanket and suck up everything else?

There are a lot of about-faces from characters in general, even aside from Kylie (whose interactions with Emily resulted in a lot of swears in my notes). Amber, supposedly Emily’s best friend, blasts her for saying she’s in love with Adam after a week, then gets all dewy-eyed over her relationship with Rascal. Emily’s parents flip out because Adam didn’t ask her father for permission to marry her and destroyed her mother’s dreams of Emily’s wedding, but relent after a speech from Emily about how it was both of them, not just Adam and get downright happy about their marriage.

It’s worse because Emily puts up with it–she doesn’t call Kylie or Amber or her mother on their BS. She basically smiles and nods, and two paragraph later they’re all best friends again. People don’t treat each other like that in real life without repercussions, nor should they.

In general, the men came through as far more sane than the women, with much less toxic relationships. They were mostly peripheral, though–I honestly can’t remember most of the other band members’ names.

The plot overall was mediocre, jolting from one cliché to the next. It felt like a book I’d read before, even though I’ve never read anything else by this author. Elements were introduced at what felt like a whim–Mitch’s embezzling, anyone?–and petered out.

Another thing that bothered me throughout: the finances. Emily, a bank teller, made $40,000 a year. I may be out of the loop of bank teller wages, but that struck me as high. Adam has the money to not only pay Emily $100,000 to pose as the perfect couple for the camera, but also $3,000,000 to drop on a beach house, so the band is obviously doing well, yet they don’t have a formal accountant? Their manager balances their books after each show? And then turns over the accounting duties to Emily because she’s good with numbers and wants to become an accountant but has not yet had any accounting classes, and she miraculously not only balances the book in an evening but also discovers the aforementioned embezzling? I couldn’t buy it.

The writing was… OK, if repetitive. Word choices could’ve used some help (see above re: giggling, among others). I’m also not sure how it was described as a “romcom”, given there really were no comedic elements and comparatively little romance that wasn’t happening in someone’s head.

In the end, there was just nothing to set this book apart from the pack.

tl;dr For a rock star romcom, there wasn’t much definitive rom and absolutely no com.

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