An upbeat, cute, and light romance
I read this book when it was released in 2021 and now that the audiobook version narrated by Abby Craden is available, I decided to give it a go. Jae is one of the best Sapphic fiction authors and a safe bet when it comes to well-written and entertaining novels. The audio version of Chemistry Lessons brought the story to life making it an even more enjoyable experience.
Regan and Kylie have been best friends since kindergarten and while everyone insists that they’d be the perfect couple, they maintain that they have no chemistry. Regan should know about it as she’s a chemistry teacher. In order to prove everyone wrong, they decide to go on three dates with each other. But what will they do when the chemistry experiment goes out of hand and they actually find out that there might be something else between them?
This is a friends-to-lovers romance between two very likeable characters that have known each other for most of their lives. For this trope to work well, the characters’ relationship has to develop organically from friends to lovers, something that takes time. Luckily for us readers, Jae is the queen of slow-burn romances and slowly but surely the author builds increasing chemistry between the mains.
Have you ever seen that sometimes people are oblivious to what is in front of their noses? Well, this is what happens to Kylie and Regan, who have been friends for so long that they complete each other sentences, know their favourite foods, understand their quirks, etc. They are made for each other and everyone knows it (including their fleeting partners) but Regan and Kylie have no idea. Tired of being encouraged to date each other, they decide to prove everyone wrong but somehow their experiment does exactly the opposite.
This is a character-driven book and it works really well because both mains are absolutely adorable. I like that Jae doesn’t write about larger-than-life people, her characters are usually normal women with ordinary jobs who aren’t rich or extremely attractive. They are people to whom you can relate to. Both characters have flaws and emotional baggage that they bring into their new relationship and their difficulties in dealing with their issues are absolutely believable. I guess that’s when being an author with a psychology degree comes in handy. Jae’s characters and their conflicts are never contrived.
Even though the book describes some tough family issues that one of the mains had to go through, the general tone is light, romantic, and fun. Abby Craden captures this overall tone perfectly. Maybe because I listened to a lot of angsty books performed by this narrator, I personally tend to forget how good she is performing lighter, playful stories like this one. If you are looking for an upbeat, cute, and light romance, this one is for you. 5 stars.
Length: 6 hrs and 30 mins