Author: Sophie Sullivan
Audiobook Length: 10 hours 6 minutes
Hailey Sharp has a one-track mind. Get By the Cup salad shop off the ground. Do literally everything possible to make it a success. Repeat. With a head full of entrepreneurial ideas and a bad ex in her rearview, her one and only focus is living life the way she wants to. No distractions.
Wes Jansen never did understand the fuss about relationships. With a string of lackluster first dates and the pain from his parents’ angry divorce following him around, he’d much rather find someone who he likes, but won’t love. Companionship, not passion, is the name of the game.
When Hailey and Wes find each other in a disastrous meet cute that wasn’t even intended for them, they embarrassingly go their separate ways. But when Wes finds Hailey to apologize for his behavior, they strike a friendship. Because that’s all this can be. Hailey doesn’t want any distractions. Wes doesn’t want to fall in love.
What could possibly go wrong?
A Guide to Just Being Friends is the third novel in the Jansen Brothers series, but it can be read as a standalone. Each novel in the series features one of the brothers and their stories. The first, Ten Rules for Faking It, followed Chris, How to Love Your Neighbor, followed Noah, and now it is Wes’s turn. While I did have the chance to experience the Noah’s story, I still need to read about Chris. The three brothers are together throughout the story along with the girlfriends, so there were moments where I felt I was missing out by not reading the first novel and others where I felt otherwise.
Hailey Sharp is new in town and has just opened her dream shop, a salad restaurant. After a messy break-up, she is not in the mood to date so when Wes mistakes her for his blind date at the café next door, the two do not get off on the right foot. The two end up on the way to agreeing to just be friends through Wes agreeing to help Hailey with her shop. As she is very reluctant to accept help and believes that she needs to do everything on her own to be successful, I feel I needed a lot more to understand this part of her character. The two spend time together and develop a genuine friendship that is a very slow-burn towards romance.
Each character has their own reasons for not wanting a romance due to past relationships and other feelings. I connected more towards Hailey’s side and wanted a little more exploration of Wes’s side and reasons. They are given in the story, but I wanted more exploration about the reasons since they did not seem enough, for me. Their transition to friends followed by lovers was expected, but I wish there was more build up to each transition as they seemed to happen quicker. While their friendship does last awhile before taking the next step, I did not feel that build up of romantic tension that leads to them admitting feelings for each other. They spend a lot of time around Hailey’s business, which I loved in a way as I felt the salad restaurant was unique and not something I usually read about; however, there were times it felt too involved in the business details that it took away from the characters and their relationship. Overall, I greatly enjoyed this story and its concept. Since I have not read the first in the series, I look forward to going back and experiencing how Chris finds romance!
**I give a special thank you to Netgalley, St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin, and Macmillan Audio for the opportunity to read this novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**