Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin
Date of publication: January 31st, 2023
Genre: Romance, Contemporary Romance, Contemporary, Womens Fiction, Chick Lit, Fiction, Humor, Adult, Adult Fiction
Cheerfully irreverent, bitingly funny, and filled with romantic charm, The Second You’re Single is all about navigating the most romantic month of the year, and how love always seems to arrive when you least expect it.
Freelance writer Sora Reid believes in inertia. She’s the odd one out in a close-knit family of go-getters, including her Japanese-American mom, who hints about her need to lose weight, and her soon-to-be married, overachieving younger sister, who needs her to have a date for the wedding, since a wedding party couples’ dance with their Scottish great uncle Bob simply won’t do. For Sora, minimal input, minimal expectations is the way to go. She’d rather stay at home with her insufferable neighbor and her adorable pitbull.
The one thing that disrupts her inertia: an intense dislike for Valentine’s Day. What is it with the commercial love machine? Why do we pin our hopes on one romantic day, when staying home with a package of bacon and a bottle of tequila would be way better? Sora’s been betrayed and disappointed more than once and her heart is starting to feel like her Grandma Mitsuye’s antique Japanese ceramic bowl, with its many gold-filled cracks.
When her pledge to stay single in February inspires readers to #gosolo, Sora has a responsibility to empower her readers. But relationships aren’t built to last, so it shouldn’t be that hard. Right?
Enter Jack Mann. A muscle-bound baker who looks like he lifts logs on the weekends, Sora hasn’t thought of Jack since they were in elementary school together. When they see each other at the local grocery store and the attraction hits hard, Sora knows she has to shut it down, quick. She can’t #gosolo AND get the guy. She can’t let down her readers. And relationships always end, so why should Jack be any different–even though he’s confounding all her long-held expectations of love?
Valentine’s Day has snuck up on me like a porch pirate.The Second You’re Single by Cara Tanamachi
When I first read the blurb for The Second You’re Single, I didn’t like it. I am not a huge Valentine’s Day fan, but I am not an all-out hater. So I sat on this invite for a while. I wanted to make sure that I wanted to read a book about a bitter woman complaining about Valentine’s Day. I was confident and glad I did because this book was nothing like I thought it would be. It wasn’t a book about a bitter woman complaining about Valentine’s Day, that’s for sure.
Before I get into the review, I want to let you know that this book has several trigger warnings. They are body shaming (multiple people shame Sora about her weight throughout the book), fatphobia (ex’s new girlfriend and Jack’s ex both make comments), miscarriage (Sora and her ex), cancer (Jack’s niece had leukemia as a toddler), cheating (both Jack and Sora’s exes cheated on them. Also Sora’s sister gets cheated on by her fiancee), bullying (Jack was severely bullied by classmates growing up, Sora experienced online bullying towards the end of the book), death of a parent (Sora’s father dies before the book starts but she is still working through grief), verbal abuse (Sora’s father verbally abused them), neglect and its repercussions (Jack’s ex), stalking (Jack’s ex), and depression (Sora). If any of these trigger you, I recommend not reading this book.
The storyline for The Second You’re Single was funny and interesting. Sora had just found out that her ex was lying to her. He was married with children….not the single DJ she was led to believe. Disillusioned with men and the holiday that caters only to people in relationships, Sora writes an article for the online magazine she works for promoting #gosolo for February. What she wasn’t expecting was how much it resonated with people. She wasn’t expecting Jack to walk into her life right as #gosolo took off, and she certainly wasn’t expecting to fall in love with him. Can Sora keep her promise to her readers about going solo for the month of February? Will she be able to keep her relationship with Jack under wraps? What about Jack’s blonde model ex-girlfriend? Will Sora be able to compete with her?
The Second You’re Single was a fast-paced, hilarious romance that takes place in Chicago. Let me clarify that it takes place in winter in Chicago. I was cold even reading this book.
The characters in The Second You’re Single were well-written. I was able to connect with all of them, even the “villains” (aka Jack’s ex and Sora’s neighbor). Some characters I wished had more page time, and others I wished were scaled back.
- Sora—While I loved her character, I thought she was a hot mess for most of the book. I did think that she was depressed for a good part of the book, and guess what? She had reason to be. She had a tough few years with some awful things happening to her. I would have been surprised if she wasn’t depressed. She couldn’t trust her feelings when it came to Jack (because his ex was semi-stalking him), and she needed to be single until March 1st. Again, I wasn’t surprised when everything blew up in her face. But it was after that made me impressed with her. Oh, and her love of bacon. I think she and my 9-year-old would get along great. She also cut through the BS when it came to her sister. But I wish that it had been sooner.
- Jack–Did he have his issues? He did. He comes across as too needy and a little desperate at the beginning of the book. He was also too kind to his ex. He took everything that woman did with grace and understanding; that was amazing. I also liked that he understood Sora’s situation with solo February. But I didn’t think he got how big it was until he was forced to the side and hidden away. I didn’t blame him for feeling the way he did. I would have done the same thing.
The Second You’re Single fits perfectly into the romance genre. It was a friends-to-lovers trope with a healthy dose of Instalove thrown in. I am not a fan of Instalove but I did like it in this case. Because Sora and Jack knew each other in elementary school (Sora was Jack’s only friend, and she stood up for him against bullies), Jack loved her back then. So, it wasn’t hard for me to imagine them falling for each other within a few weeks of their meeting. Oh, let’s not forget the comedy angle of this book too. I was dying laughing at the one-liners that Sora had.
The storyline with Sora, Jack, their relationship, the #gosolo challenge, and Jack’s ex was interesting. I didn’t know how anything would end except Sora and Jack’s relationship. As I said above, I thought Jack was too nice to his ex, and it did come back to bite him in the butt, big time. Their breakup wasn’t unexpected (it happens in all romances), but what was unexpected was Sora’s come to Jesus moment with her best friend (who is a therapist) after. Everything said was true, and I liked that Sora took what she said to heart. The #gosolo challenge was fun, and I could see it happening in real life (maybe it has?).
There were several secondary storylines that I enjoyed reading. There are some that I hope the author follows up on (Jack has several unmarried brothers and Sora has a sister).
The end of The Second You’re Single was your typical HEA. I was surprised at who was instrumental in pushing Sora and Jack back together. But, considering what happened and the talk this person had with Jack, I should have seen it coming. I loved seeing Sora and Jack’s changes, both together and separately. But, it was the scene on the playground that got me. I was laughing and crying at once.
I recommend The Second You’re Single to anyone over 21. There are sexual scenes and situations, language, and mild violence. Also, see my trigger warnings above.
Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin, NetGalley, and Cara Tanamachi for allowing me to read and review The Second You’re Single. All opinions stated in this review are mine.
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