Review: The Break-Up Pact by Emma Lord

The Break-Up Pact: A NovelThe Break-Up Pact: A Novel by Emma Lord
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Break-Up Pact is Emma Lord’s upcoming release and one I was so excited for. Set to hit shelves in August 2024, this is also Lord’s Adult Romance debut.

In this story, we follow June and Levi, who were best friends as teenagers. A misunderstanding just prior to Levi departing for college, resulted in a falling out, and the two have essentially lost touch ever since. Now as adults, they’ve both returned to their hometown of Benson Beach.

June is struggling to maintain the beach-side tea shop opened by her sister. She also has just had a very embarrassing, very public break-up, resulting in her being dubbed ‘the crying girl’ on social media. Humiliating!

Levi has returned to town after an equally public break-up, wherein his long-time girlfriend left him for a celebrity. Everyone is talking about it. Trying to escape the limelight for a while, Levi flees NYC and returns to Benson Beach, where he can focus more on his writing.

As Levi and June come back into each other’s orbit, they begin talking and catching-up. After a picture of them caught in a very suggestive position goes viral, they decide to go along with the charade and pretend to be a couple.

If it’s drama and intrigue the people want, it’s drama and intrigue they shall get. The bonus being extra business for June’s shop and both of their ex’s getting jealous.

I love a fake-dating trope and I thought it was well-executed here. Both June and Levi were compelling characters and I enjoyed learning about their past history, as well as watching them learn about each other all over again.

They are both dealing with some fairly serious adult issues, with their careers and their recent break-ups, and the examination of those things does take up a good portion of the narrative. Because of that, this has a much more serious tone than Lord’s previous works, IMO, but it makes sense.

In an adult world, adult things happen. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows. Businesses end up in trouble. You end up in a career you aren’t passionate about. You worry you wasted time with someone who was never going to be the one for you. You worry that you are never going to find the place you really belong. You lose friends, you lose loved ones; these are all things that most of us can relate to…

My concern for this novel is that people will go in expecting a super punchy, witty, fun Rom-Com and they’ll be surprised by the more serious tone; maybe causing them to not rate it as highly.

I would pick this up expecting an Adult Contemporary with a convincing fake-dating trope. It’s not all giggle and laughs and swooning; although there is some of that too.

In my eyes, this is a successful transition into the Adult space for Lord. I thought the characters were very well-developed and it did fill my heart watching the evolution of their relationship. I feel like as far as couples go, Levi and June are perfectly matched.

I did enjoy how this was paced. I thought it had a fun introductory section and then it slows down a bit as we get into the meat of their relationship. As the fake dates begin, it does pick up again and then as we get closer to conclusion, it speeds along at a great pace.

In addition to the likeable main characters, I loved the side characters in this as well. June’s best friend, who helps the couple with their plot, and June’s brother and his fiance, all had fun-loving, supportive roles, that truly added to the feel of the narrative.

Overall, I think this is a very solid, heart-warming story. I enjoyed going on this journey with both of these characters as they found themselves, and each other at the same time.

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Griffin, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I adore Emma Lord and will continue to pick up everything she writes.

This was super cute and I’m proud of her for branching out into the Adult Contemporary space. Well done!!

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