A Guest Review by Andrea
Review Summary: A delightfully light and fun romance topped off by a meddling Italian mother who had me laughing out loud.
Jacob’s time working a booth for a gay lit publisher at a huge New York City book convention isn’t turning out like he hoped. One of the publisher’s boxes goes missing, and when he finds it, the box is wrapped up in union red tape. Then he gets into a nasty debate with Toni, a hunk Jacob would rather stare at than argue with.
Maybe his first day at the book fair couldn’t get worse, but it certainly gets weirder when, after an hour-long snarling match, Toni offers Jacob a ride to his hotel. Jacob accepts, but his day does not improve—the ride is nothing but awkward silence.
Over the rest of the week, Jacob’s life disintegrates, and Toni’s repeated offers to drive him to his hotel become bright spots. Silence turns to civility turns to friendship, and though Jacob hopes for more, work keeps the two of them from spending much time together. Finally Jacob is free of obligations—but suddenly he can’t find Toni anywhere, and Jacob’s time in New York is coming to a close.
What can I say… sometimes I’m in the mood for a light, fun read. That’s what I was looking for, and that’s exactly what I got with Book Fair. It isn’t amazingly well-written and it doesn’t have the greatest characters ever, but what it does have is something a lot of books lack. It’s fun, it’s entertaining, and it’s good… really good.
It starts out with Jacob trying to set up his booth for the book fair. It’s been a long day and Jacob is getting tired of waiting around for his final box to be delivered. He goes searching for the box and ends up getting into an argument with one of the guys working at the convention center, Toni. They have a heated confrontation, which ends up accomplishing nothing other than leaving them both pissed off. I think most of us have been in a similar situation and can sympathize with Jacob’s frustration. For me it was an instant connection with the characters, so I was pulled in and engaged after a few pages.
Jacob and Toni realize they had let a bad day push them into behavior which was embarrassing to both of them. A mutual apology is the start of an unexpected friendship. After yet another long day of work, Jacob’s hunger and desperation lead them to Toni’s family restaurant, where we meet Toni’s mother. She is an over the top stereotype of a meddling Italian mother. She forces homemade meals on everyone she loves, she manipulates her kids into doing exactly what she wants, and they all fear her and adore her at the same time. What I love most about her is that her mouth has no filter. She is constantly embarrassing Toni by making inappropriate comments. She cracked me up.
In case I wasn’t clear enough before, I’m going to say it again. Book Fair is not a literary masterpiece. The characters are sometimes too dramatic and their difficulties were worked out a little too perfectly. But you know what… I can overlook that because it was fun and entertaining the entire time. The characters are adorable. The strength of familial bonds, while a major source of humor, are also comforting. I even liked the behind the scenes look at working for a small gay romance publisher. Book Fair is quirky and corny at times, but in a way that also adds to its appeal. If you want a fun, romantic read that will make you laugh and leave you smiling, then this book is a great choice.