Finally! I finished a book! It was the fourth book of the year and probably the last book I’ll read in January, but I’m just happy to finally have enough mind space to finish a book. I think it helped that the book was super light-hearted with a tiny bit of drama. For some reason, my brain just doesn’t want to do anything so it always helps to have a few lighter reads hanging around for those occasions.
Beauty expert and influencer Jia Ahmed has her eye on the prize: conquering the internet today, the entire makeup industry tomorrow, and finally, finally proving herself to her big opinionated family. She has little time for love, and even less time for the men in her private messages–until the day a certain international superstar slides into her DMs, and she falls hard and fast.
There’s just one wrinkle: he has no idea who she is.
The son of a powerful Bollywood family, soap opera star Dev Dixit is used to drama, but a strange woman who accuses him of wooing her online, well, that’s a new one. As much as he’d like to focus on his Hollywood fresh start, he can’t get Jia out of his head. Especially once he starts to suspect who might have used his famous name to catfish her…
When paparazzi blast their private business into the public eye, Dev is happy to engage in some friendly fake dating to calm the gossips and to dazzle her family. But as the whole world swoons over their relationship, Jia can’t help but wonder: Can an online romance-turned-offline-fauxmance ever become love in real life?
Truthfully, I loved the drama. The story starts off super strong with Jia getting into a swank Hollywood party to meet this guy she’s been chatting to online; a famous Bollywood star that came from a famous Bollywood family. The only sad part is that he had no clue who she was when they finally meet. It’s only until later that we realize who was doing the catfishing, but I loved that their meet cute wasn’t anywhere near cute.
And I’m glad it worked out for them. I loved both Jia and Dev as a couple and as individuals. Jia was this average human who made a living being an influencer on YouTube. I related a lot with her internal struggles to figure out what it is she wanted to do as she “aged” out of the social media game. I sometimes feel like one of the influencer elders not because I’ve been doing this for a long time, but because I’m older than average. She seemed super kindhearted and willing to help someone out without hesitation; someone that you want as an influence in your life.
Dev is similar. I loved that he came from a famous family who struggled through all the lights and glam of Bollywood. It was interesting to see his family dynamic especially since Dev doesn’t seem at all similar to the rest of his family. While his brother and cousin are doing all the “bad boy” activities, Dev seems to be the one that’s professional and has his head on. For me, that’s my trope. I like a man who can take care of things. But what I also loved is that we got to know his brother and cousin a little bit more. While they may seem like bad boys, they did open their hearts to Dev’s niece, Luna.
There was also a lot of discussion on grief. It wasn’t too bad and it doesn’t keep you away from experiencing the light-heartedness of the story, but the way that it affected Dev’s life was interesting especially when he’s taking care of his niece.
I think my only issue was the ending. I felt like a lot happened that could have spread across the novel than be truncated to the last 50 pages. That’s not to say the book was paced funny and felt slow, it’s just that many of the events within the final pages felt like they could have been explored more if given the space.
I also thought there were too many tropes. First, it was the catfishing. Then it moved onto a fake relationship. Then the relationship turned real. And then we’re getting married. And then there’s Dev having his grandfather’s will that stipulates he needs to get married before he inherits his money. It truly felt like I was reading a drama where one issue would resolve and then surprise! There would be another issue ready to go. If the book was longer then maybe there would be a more natural progression of these tropes throughout the story so that it didn’t feel like we were jumping all over the place.
Overall, this was such a cute book and something that I really enjoyed reading. I loved getting to know the characters and reading the adventures they had together.
- First Comes Like by Alisha Rai publishes on February 16, 2021
- Find it on Bookshop.org
- I received a gifted copy of this book from Avon Books. My opinions have not been influenced by the publisher or the author.