NetGalley Review: “Four Ways to Wear a Dress” by Gillian Libby

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Steam: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: June 7th, 2022

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CW: character with ADHD, mentions of character on the autism spectrum, mentions of divorce

Millie Ward has been fired. Again. She’s tired of feeling like a failure, and she refuses to blame her ADHD the way her parents do every time she hits one of life’s speed bumps. This time, she’s going to let that speed bump actually slow her down, and jumps at the chance to visit her best friend—and Instagram influencer—Quincy in California. And she wouldn’t mind if that invitation also involved getting closer with Quincy’s brother, Pete.

When her best friends Kate and Bree help her pack, they rediscover the little black dress they shared in college. This dress helped them during first dates, exams, and job interviews—bringing each woman who wore it a bit of luck and confidence. Whatever comes during Millie’s next chapter, this dress will help.

But Peacock Bay is full of mega influencers who have perfected the look of the surf lifestyle, and a minor misunderstanding has Millie and her magical dress joining their ranks. Now she has to convince her crush Pete Santana that pretending to be her Instagram Husband will help bring new business to his struggling hotel and help her launch her influencer career. But maybe posting all her failures isn’t the best way to win Pete’s heart, no matter how good it is for his business. When she reveals her biggest screw-up of all—their fake relationship—there’s a good chance she could lose not only her new following, but Pete as well…

 

This was such an interesting book and I commend Gillian Libby on a fun debut. It’s got a combination of a lot of things I love about a romance and while I honestly thought this would be a women’s fiction sort of story, it had some steamy bits that really took me in the opposite direction. It’s got great friendships, a charming hero, a beautiful beach location and loads of surfing.

Millie Ward has just been let go from her job. The very same job where she poured her heart and soul into making magic happen. However, now that she’s jobless and directionless, Millie decides to go spend some time with one of her best friends in her small California beach town of Peacock Bay. The idyllic town is home to multiple influencers—including her friend, Quincy—and in order to fit in and do something different, Millie sets up a new Instagram account in hopes of becoming an influencer herself. But when one photograph has everyone thinking that Millie is married to the town’s most eligible and uninterested bachelor, she enlists him to fake it for the ‘Gram just till she can get her feet back under her.

Four Ways to Wear This Dress has a ‘Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants’ feel tied together with a fake relationship and falling for your best friend’s brother. And the whole time, Millie is battling her ADHD and fighting to prove to her parents that she’s not being flaky and her ADHD isn’t causing her to make bad choices. I had a weird relationship with Millie, because I related to her and loved her quirkiness, but I also felt like she was a little selfish and unnecessarily confusing when it came to her relationship with Pete. I think of all the characters, the ones I liked the most were Quincy and Sage, because they’re both going through so much and they never once give up or walk away because of the struggles.

I enjoyed Millie and Pete’s relationship, because I love it when the hero falls first and/or has been in love with the heroine from the moment they met. It adds something to the relationship and their friendship over the years. I liked their chemistry and banter. I loved how comfortable they were with each other throughout the book, because that really sets the tone for their connection. What I didn’t like was that they both kept their feelings a secret and it got messy because of that. I think they could have done away with all that confusion if one of them had just said something.

Alana was the worst. I could see where she was coming from, but the way she talked to everyone really made me dislike her. Plus, the way she handled Quincy’s decision to publicly talk about her son’s autism really rubbed me the wrong way. I know why she had to exist in the book, but I think she was a lot more harmful than interesting.

All in all, I breezed through this book and enjoyed it on the whole. I do wish we got to see more Millie and Pete’s relationship outside of the physical stuff, because it felt like everything happened as part of another scene or situation. I’m definitely going to keep an eye on Gillian Libby and see what else she’s got up her sleeves!

Thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca and NetGalley for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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