Betting on You by Lynn Painter

Published on February 15, 2024

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Reviewed by Samantha Calderone

In the aftermath of her parents’ divorce, 17-year-old Bailey is still struggling to adjust to her new normal. Now living in Omaha with her mother, Bailey feels like the pieces of her family are falling apart. With her father having remarried, and her mother’s new boyfriend Scott, Bailey feels like she is being left behind. In an attempt to find her place, Bailey and her best friend find jobs together at the new hotel waterpark. Yet her first day on the job proves more difficult when she realizes she will be working with Charlie, the obnoxious boy she met on the flight when she moved to Omaha.  

Charlie’s cynicism and endless commentary are the complete opposite to Bailey’s well-behaved temperament, yet as the two spend more time working together, Bailey finds herself looking forward to hanging out and gossiping about the waterpark guests. The pair’s relationship gets even more complicated when the two begin to “fake date” to create tension between Scott and Bailey’s mom.

The more time Charlie and Bailey spend together, the more Bailey begins to rely on Charlie, and she begins to see him as more than a friend. While Charlie struggles with his own feelings for Bailey and his fear of losing her should they date and breakup, another secret threatens the closeness they have built.

This fun grumpy x sunshine romance will have readers kicking their feet in joy and laughing out loud. This novel does a spectacular job of remaining lighthearted even when faced with emotionally fraught topics such as divorce and loneliness. Painter has created characters that are not only funny and quirky but also relatable. Each character’s background is fleshed out in a way that gives them depth and dimension in a way that makes them feel real. Painter has created a novel that will not only resonate with teens but will also have them searching for more.

This book is recommended for fans who enjoyed Better Than the Movies and Check & Mate.   


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