Even in always sunny Arizona, Victoria Shaw has lived under the shadow of her stunning but self-important younger sister, Dessie. When Dessie announces she’s getting married in three short weeks, Victoria’s single status and routine job suddenly seem like failures instead of choices. To make matters worse, Dessie expects, not asks, Victoria to help. Unable to deny her sister, Victoria soon becomes the bride-to-be’s wedding planner, chauffeur, roommate, and doormat, all while navigating family insanity and blind-date hell.
Victoria tries to cope with the help of ice cream, humorous retorts, and her best friend’s sassy reality jabs, but it’s not enough. Faced with a tidal wave of family dysfunction, disastrous dates, and plummeting self-esteem, Victoria is forced to discover who she is, what she wants, and how to live her life not under a shadow, but out in the sun.
Melissa Borg loves stories that are heartfelt, humorous, and portray vibrant characters. She has always been drawn to stories that explore everyday lives and struggles that are bursting with family, friends, and self-growth. She’s an electrical engineer, in degree only. When she couldn’t find a job with her degree, she dyed her hair funky colors, found a job managing multi-million-dollar contracts, & was roped into drawing pictures, as part of her job's "other duties as assigned" clause. Nothing is funnier than an engineer muttering dire things at a computer screen, drawing a horse, promise.
Yet her deep love of witty characters and storytelling led her down the road paved in crazy to be a writer. Her background in acting, directing, and zippy conversations, funneled out her fingers and on the page.
Melissa is a fourth-generation Arizona native and she may or may not be suffering from permanent heat stroke. She’s surrounded by her family, cats, dog, and the love of her life, Lawrence. Thankfully, he ignores the typing and maniacal laughter from her office and occasionally tempts her away from the keyboard with the lure of food.
Thanks to Discovery and author Melissa Borg for an advance readers digital copy. All comments and opinions are my own.
This was a typical, fun chick-lit novel. The title hints at the plot highlights: Victoria is the 25-year-old single girl referred to in the title, whose younger sister announces she’s getting married – in three weeks! Victoria and her sister Dessie have a love/hate relationship, and their mother seems to stir the pot and push all Victoria’s buttons. Supporting Victoria is her high school friend Sandra, a lesbian who has slimmed down from the heavy-set silhouette she and Victoria once shared. Victoria’s veterinarian boss Dr. Yaz also supports both her search for a plus-one for the wedding as well as her set-aside veterinarian career. Iggy and Ethan are two guys among many who Victoria meets during her search for a wedding date. The story is told by maid of honor Victoria as she counts down the days till the wedding and assists Dessie (who has become a typical bridezilla) with all the bridal details.
I liked that Victoria never feels compelled to lose weight for the wedding, although she does express lack of confidence about her attractiveness, thanks to her mother, sister, and her sisters’ “mean girl” friends. Several of the male characters assure her that she is pretty, and don’t seem turned off by her weight. I have read similar books where the goal is to lose weight by a specific deadline such as a wedding, so this was refreshing.
Victoria’s nightmare dates were sadly not that far from reality, though she handled each situation graciously. Somewhat implausibly, she repeatedly found herself at the same steak house for numerous dates and ended up making friends with the server and hostess. Throughout the novel, what was the most frustrating for me was Dessie’s mercurial attitude and callous treatment of her sister, and Victoria’s level of forgiveness and generosity. Their mother was probably the most unrealistic character, though the author provided a backstory that was supposed to explain her horrible attitude toward Victoria.
The novel concludes with a positive summary: “One phone call, two tyrannical family members, a relentless best friend, and a slew of crappy dates had shoved Victoria to get clear on what she wanted and desired in her life. Her high school self wasn’t too far off about what was important and how life was an unpredictable adventure, was tumultuous and intimidating, about 100 percent worth pressing forward and expanding her horizons to discover the most important thing – herself.”
I recommend this book to those who like rom-coms with strong female characters, dysfunctional families, and a happy ending which hints at a positive future for all, especially Victoria.
Last chapter could not make up for the rest of the book.
The main character, Victoria, is very likable and funny and it’s obvious from early on she has low self-esteem. After you meet her sister and her mother you understand why. It’s not a mystery that the book is about her sister‘s wedding, and the sister gives Bridezillas a bad name. There seems to be nothing redeeming about the sister. She says the absolutely most awful things about Victoria for no reason whatsoever. I could not handle that. It Was constant abuse and Very malicious. Victoria kept referencing that the girl was nice at some point when she was younger but I never saw any evidence of that. I finished the book. Mostly because I can’t stand not finishing a book. I would not recommend this book.
This was a highly enjoyable read with well fleshed-out characters, snappy dialogue, and a precisely executed plot that drives to the zany climax and satisfying ending. Melissa Borg has a unique voice expressed in the repartee of the characters and her attention to details, which make each scene jump off the page.