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From the New York Times bestselling author of the Brown Sisters trilogy, comes a laugh-out-loud story about a quirky content creator and a clean-cut athlete testing their abilities to survive the great outdoors–and each other.

Bradley Graeme is pretty much perfect. He’s a star football player, manages his OCD well (enough), and comes out on top in all his classes . . . except the ones he shares with his ex-best friend, Celine.

Celine Bangura is conspiracy-theory-obsessed. Social media followers eat up her takes on everything from UFOs to holiday overconsumption–yet, she’s still not cool enough for the popular kids’ table. Which is why Brad abandoned her for the in-crowd years ago. (At least, that’s how Celine sees it.)

These days, there’s nothing between them other than petty insults and academic rivalry. So when Celine signs up for a survival course in the woods, she’s surprised to find Brad right beside her.

Forced to work as a team for the chance to win a grand prize, these two teens must trudge through not just mud and dirt but their messy past. And as this adventure brings them closer together, they begin to remember the good bits of their history. But has too much time passed . . . or just enough to spark a whole new kind of relationship?

Title : Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute
Author : Talia Hibbert
Format : eARC
Page Count : 336
Genre : YA contemporary romance
Publisher : Joy Revolution
Release Date : January 3, 2023

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Hollis’ 4 star review

If there’s one (or two.. or three) thing(s) you can count on when picking up a Hibbert? It’s banter. Also, chemistry. Also also a variety of diverse representation. And while she’s shifted gears to a younger target audience in this, her debut YA, all of those things are still very much present here.

I don’t think this is going to be a very long or articular review because I’m swimming in that glowy squishy “I have no notes” feeling. Though honestly? My one complaint might be the ending. In the sense that.. it ended. Rude. But also it is one of those quicky endings that does maybe feel, just a bit, abrupt.

Everything else? So great. The aborted friendship, which became a nemesis slash enemies situation, only to revert back to friendship, and then more? Each stage was so well done, feeling gradual, natural, and genuine. These characters felt so real, so alive, but that’s typical Hibbert, too. I will say, though, that I think Bradley was my favourite of the two leads. He is just such a sweet cinnamon roll of a human and I appreciate everything about him.

Also, while there was some element of a complicated family dynamic present, it was a different spin of things I’ve seen done in YA before and I loved it. I loved all the dynamics, actually, familial and sibling. Big win there.

How many other things can I say I enjoyed or loved? Probably lots more. But instead, I’ll just say this : read this book!

Side note, I’m not saying I am a conspiracy theorist like Celine but both my blog buddy and my name were present in this book. And so was the book title our blog took homage from. This is (hah) highly suspicious. Stay tuned for a breakdown of our theory on TikTok (just kidding! we love you, Talia! stalk us all you want).

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **