Series: Love at Knockdown, #2
Release Date: March 22nd, 2022
CW/TW: Bi/pan erasure, cheating (not the MCs)
Allie and Matt’s happy open relationship means they’re both free to find hookups. When Allie gets duped by a date, though, she’s found with someone else’s cheating boyfriend. Ugh!
Meeting Noelle by helping her leave the guy isn’t the night Allie expected, but after the women bond over drinks and a seriously dysfunctional tape gun, Allie’s hesitant to say goodbye. It’s weird; she doesn’t normally like-like people who aren’t Matt.
Matt’s questioning whether he’s entirely straight, and he hopes to find answers on his and Allie’s impending road trip. But he’s cool with bringing her new maybe-crush along, especially since he and Noelle keep finding things in common. And staring into each other’s eyes.
Noelle lost her demanding job right before her boyfriend cheated, and she’s looking for the next one—preferably back home. Allie’s fumbling charm and Matt’s flirtatious humor, however, make her wonder if her life compass needs fixing.
Late-night talks on Texas highways, first kisses, and hotel confessions might change a lot… if there’s a next step for Noelle that isn’t leaving.
There’s something so magical about Skye Kilaen’s stories and it’s not only because they’re incredibly inclusive and take all the steps to make everyone reading the book feel seen, but because the stories are about so much more than the romance between the main characters. I absolutely loved Vivi and Finn in Get It Right which came out last year and I was so excited to read about Allie and Matt in Shake Things Up and I was not disappointed. Not only did this story show me how one polyamourous relationship can be different from another, but it also really spoke to me on so many levels about my own sexuality.
One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was that it was low on steam, but it delivered everything in terms of heart. You have three people navigating their own lives and struggles, but also leaning on each other through it all. Told in third person and through the perspectives of Allie, Matt and Noelle, this book gives you a full look at their friendship and relationship. And can we please take a minute to talk about the communication in this book! I always have issues with the miscommunication trope (which shouldn’t be a trope, in my opinion), but Skye never lets that happen to the characters. Every time there’s a snag, they talk about it. Sure, they go through their inner monologues and panic, but there’s so much talking about it and figuring it out together. Especially since Allie and Matt have been a couple for years and Noelle is the new piece in their relationship.
I feel like talking about the surface-level stuff is the best way to keep spoilers out of this review. Because this book is about so much more than just the relationship between these three people. It’s a story of learning about yourself, discovering what works for you, it’s a story about labels and what they mean, it’s a story about doing something to make yourself happy instead of just going along with what other people expect of you. Like all of Skye’s books, this one is just so powerful with the queer representation and the beauty of polyam relationships. I don’t think anyone could have done this story justice the way Skye did.
The three leads are so brilliant in their own right. They’re all completely different, with paths in their lives that are nothing like the other. But their friendship and the other people in their lives also makes for such a large group of incredible humans. Also, going on a road trip with a stranger who you’re slowly developing feelings for is an interesting way to handle things. Bonus points for things never being awkward and uncomfortable between the three because…communication!
Skye always includes a list of content and trigger warnings at the beginning of her books, so while I’ve mentioned two here, there are more to be aware of before you go into the story. But just know that reading Skye’s books will completely change your life.
Thanks to Skye Kilaen for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.