The Best Thing I Never Had

best thing i've never hadThe Best Thing I Never Had
by Erin Lawless
Published by HarperImpulse
318 pages
Genre: women’s literature
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
4 / 5

You have a friend – a good friend, a roommate – and she fancies herself in love with a man. They share a few flirtations, but nothing more. You and this man have some college classes together. You study together, you work together. You get closer. You fall in love with each other.

How do you tell your friend and roommate?

If you’re Harriet and Adam, you don’t.

Part of a posse of pals, the two forge their undercover romance, determined to keep it away from the jealously prying eyes of Leigha, a gorgeous – if not a tad insecure and bitter – woman who always gets her man. Adam’s roommate, Johnny, loves Leigha with a burning passion that she completely ignores, unless it suits her to nudge him on.

Harriet and Leaha have two other roommates: Sukie, every bit as manipulative as Leigha, and Nicky, a sweet, determined student who is in love with Miles (who happens to round out the trifecta of roommates at Adam’s place). Get it?

The story alternates between 2006, when the seven students meet and mingle, and the present, when Nicky and Miles get married. The 2006 story is more interesting and intriguing than the present-day, but only because you want to know how all these people wound up together.

Nicky wants a career and to stand on her own, but Miles’ career will require that she go with him. Will she?

Will Sukie stop being a frosty B with an ITCH and give Harriet a chance to explain herself?

Will Leigha get out of her own way and recognize someone who truly loves her, as opposed to chasing after one who does not?

And what of Harriet and Adam? Will they be together?

I liked Harriet, in spite of herself. There were times, though, that I wanted to wallop her. She’s a runner. When life gets difficult and challenging, and when she finds herself overwhelmed, Harriet runs. I felt Adam’s frustration with her, even as he loves her.

I know the secretive romance is the crux of the story, but there were times I couldn’t understand why they kept it a secret. It isn’t as though Leigha is a nice person. Why not come out with it?

Ah, but then we wouldn’t have the angst. And where Harriet is involved, there is angst.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. You will get hooked by Erin Lawless’ writing: she crafts seven unique characters who have their own voices. You will care about these people, maybe even Suki and Leigha. And you will want to make sure that Harriet and Adam figure out their way, whether together or not.

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