It Had To Be You by Melissa Kate

Rating – 3.5

Thank you to NetGalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  I thoroughly enjoyed these characters and their story.  Even the secondary characters were interesting.  In this story, we meet Oliver and Emma.  They were best friends growing up, but in their teens, Oliver walked away from their friendship and became the town Casanova.  Emma never understood why Oliver walked away and was left to deal with major life changes alone, and so begins their love-hate relationship.  After years of bickering, Oliver and Emma are thrown back together with the help of Emma’s friend Audrey.  As sparks begin to fly, will they be able to move on and put the past behind them, or will a secret tear them apart forever?

This was a sweet love story that had me rooting for Oliver and Emma from the start.  I mean, who doesn’t want the gorgeous town hero and adorable local sweetheart to end up together?  Their past friendship is the icing on the cake.  I was so frustrated with their backstory and really wanted them to face the past so they could move on together.  Oliver completely broke my heart.  I wanted to smack his dad for the damage he caused.  I was so sad this caused Oliver and Emma to lose so much time together.  I was also irritated with Emma’s parents.  It was so sad to think about her childhood and how alone she really was.  However, this sadness didn’t take over the book.  There were so many funny parts that kept the overall story lighthearted.  The “geriatric squad” cracked me up.  I also loved Adam and Audrey and the grief they gave their best friends.  Let’s not forget Oliver’s family.  His cousins definitely knew how to have a good time and bring out the fun side in both Oliver and Emma.  Overall, I was very happy with the story.

There were a few editing errors, but they were mainly typos that didn’t distract from the story.  My biggest complaint was that characters were not well introduced in this book.  Characters would pop up, and I felt like I was playing catch up trying to figure out who they were and how they fit in the overall story.  I didn’t realize Adam and Audrey already had a book.  I was actually thinking they needed one as I read this because I liked them so much and wanted to see how they ended up together.  Reading their story first may solve this problem, but as a stand alone novel, a bit more introduction to characters as they appear would be helpful.

I also wish there was an epilogue.  While we did get a lot of time with Oliver and Emma in their non-relationship, I would like a glimpse of them in the future.  Did Emma get the family she had always wished for?  Was Oliver able to fully move on from the past to wedding bells and baby carriages? Perhaps as the series continues we will get to see more.

There were a few sex scenes, but they were very tasteful and did not overpower the sweetness of this book.

I would recommend this book to others looking for a quick read that is sweet and has you rooting for the characters the whole way through.  I do think it might be helpful to read Kate’s book, Waiting for You first.  I definitely plan to check it out.  I’m looking forward to seeing what Kate has next.  Perhaps a story for Carla?  She might work well with Greg or Mike…just saying.