Book Review: Hot British Boyfriend

Title: Hot British Boyfriend

Author: Kristy Boyce

Pub. Date: February 9, 2021

Pages: 336

Pub: HarperTeen

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

After a horrifying public rejection by her crush, Ellie Nichols does what any girl would do: she flees the country. To be more precise, she joins her high school’s study abroad trip to England. While most of her classmates are there to take honors courses and pad their college applications, Ellie is on a quest to rebuild her reputation and self-confidence. And nothing is more of a confidence booster than getting a hot British boyfriend.

When Ellie meets Will, a gorgeous and charming Brit, she vows to avoid making the same mistakes as she did with the last guy she liked. Which is why she strikes up a bargain with Dev, an overachieving classmate who she’s never clicked with, but who does seem to know a lot about the things Will is interested in—if he helps her win over her crush, then she’ll help him win over his.

But even as Ellie embarks on a whirlwind romance, one that takes her on adventures to some of England’s most beautiful places, she still needs to figure out if this is actually the answer to all her problems…and whether the perfect boyfriend is actually the perfect boy for her.

This will be a spoiler free review. I listened to the audiobook via Audible and enjoyed it for the most part. This book definitely didn’t live up to my expectations, and having read it, I wish it had a different title. Based on the title alone, I had certain expectations and this book ended up going a completely different route than I thought it would.

Let’s start with the most embarrassing thing ever to happen to a character. I’ve never had such bad secondhand embarrassment. I was listening to this at work and had to get up out of my chair and walk off the terror that was coursing through me.

To put it mildly, I’d want a pit to open up underneath me and swallow me whole, if I’d been in Ellie’s shoes. I think it took me like 20 minutes to chill tf to be able to continue reading. I can’t think of a single time I experienced secondhand embarrassment to that extreme. Even just thinking about it now makes me want to crawl into a hole and never return.

And fuck Andy and Crystal. They can swan dive into a hole and never return. What shit people.

While I truly felt for Ellie in the beginning – because that shit sucked – I really wasn’t a fan of her character. I felt like she was very surface with really no depth. I also found her reactions over the top and kind of annoying. So. Much. Squealing.

About everything.

And everything was The Best Thing Ever. Or The Best Day Ever. And the single-track mind of Boys. Boys. Boys. It was tiresome after a while.

It wasn’t until closer to the end of the book, where she turns off whatever “likeable” personality she’d been running nonstop, and actually started to figure out what she wanted, what she’d done wrong, and telling the damn truth, that I kind of liked her.

Will fucking sucked. He’s a walking red flag, and honestly one of the biggest disappointments about this book. It’s titled “Hot British Boyfriend” ffs, and Will is trash boyfriend material. He’s good for like, eye candy, or arm candy for a single night out to make your friends jealous. He’s super immature, flighty in what he wants and just overall entitled as hell. He’s the kind of guy who expects girls to like everything he does, and anything that doesn’t fit his vision, is lame.

Now, maybe he’s a nice guy underneath all of it, and maybe he could be a good boyfriend, but he has a lot of shit to figure out first.

Dev, Huan and Sage are highlights of this book. Easily my favorite part. When Ellie is with them, she’s less annoying. Dev is the best, and I loved him so much. Huan is hysterical and he was such a highlight. And Sage was solid – always there to support and bring a quite calm to the group. I did love that Ellie found true friendship with them. And I loved how they didn’t judge her for the events that happened at the start of the book.

Now, my biggest complaint is probably the world. I lived-in small-town England for three years, and this book felt like an imagined, romanticized, idealized version of what American’s perceive life in the UK is like.

Needless to say, I hated it.

Every time characters went to town, I just wanted to know where the fuck this shit actually existed. Why was there always an open farmer’s market? And a Christmas market, come holiday times? In my experience, not likely outside of London. And there was a phrase along the line of “British stores” or something, and they were completely unrecognizable. And again, I ask, where does this town actually exists. Small town UK is going to have a little convenience store, some restaurants, a grocery store in the downtown area and the farmer’s markets are going to be on the weekend – if there is one at all.

I wasn’t impressed with the world. London was okay in its depiction – I don’t have much to complain about there. Other than the four of them acted like annoying American Tourists.

And don’t even get me started on all the British things that were included. Harry Potter was basically a personality trait. Outside of tourist traps, you’re most likely not going to see a rogue Quidditch game, or people actively obsessing over the franchise.

Everyone wearing Union Jack shirts…again, in my experience, only Americans or other tourists would do that. I lived in a small English town and for the life of me, I can’t remember ever seeing a Brit wear clothing with the Union Jack on it.

And really, Doctor Who? I get it. It’s a great show, it’s British! Therefore, it has to be included, right?

You’re also telling me that they’re just going to let 17-year old’s travel across Europe unsupervised? No. That’s beyond reckless.

I have no idea if the author has ever actually been the England or any of the places that are mentioned in the book. But as someone who has lived overseas and traveled, I hated the setting of this book. It didn’t feel accurate and it really bothered me. I also really didn’t care for Ellie or Will and let’s be real – they’re the draw of the book. The title sets you up to expect a certain outcome, that it wasn’t met. I’m not mad at how it ended, and actually liked how much Ellie grew as a person, but this book was just a pretty big letdown. Not terrible, but not amazing like I’d hoped it would be.

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