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Review: First Comes Like by Alisha Rai

Title: First Comes Like

Author: Alisha Rai

Year Published: 2021

Category: Adult fiction (romance)
Pages: 432
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2021 Google Reading map) USA (CA)

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Beauty expert and influencer Jia Ahmed has her eye on the prize: conquering the internet today, the entire makeup industry tomorrow, and finally, finally proving herself to her big opinionated family. She has little time for love, and even less time for the men in her private messages—until the day a certain international superstar slides into her DMs, and she falls hard and fast.

There’s just one wrinkle: he has no idea who she is.

The son of a powerful Bollywood family, soap opera star Dev Dixit is used to drama, but a strange woman who accuses him of wooing her online, well, that’s a new one. As much as he’d like to focus on his Hollywood fresh start, he can’t get Jia out of his head. Especially once he starts to suspect who might have used his famous name to catfish her…

When paparazzi blast their private business into the public eye, Dev is happy to engage in some friendly fake dating to calm the gossips and to dazzle her family. But as the whole world swoons over their relationship, Jia can’t help but wonder: Can an online romance-turned-offline-fauxmance ever become love in real life?

Review: After reading the intense The Stills, I was in the mood for something light and this novel fit the bill. It's fun, entertaining, easy to read, and a good story.

The bright and happy cover of this book sets the tone for this contemporary romance. Going from catfishing to tentative friendship/fake dating to real dating is a great arc, especially since it probably wouldn't happen in real life. And I am totally okay with that fantasy version of reality. As with these novels, the general trajectory of the plot isn't a surprise, but there are things I didn't expect along the way and that's a good thing.

Jai and Dev are both likable characters and I wanted them to get together from the beginning. They are kind, thoughtful, unsure of themselves in social situations, yet confident in who they are as professionals and people. Yes, they have some family baggage, but don't we all! Actually, extended family plays quite a large role in the story, which is appropriate because Dev's family comes from India and Jai's comes from Pakistan. I like that aspect of the story.

With a good story, nice characters, some Bollywood/Hollywood, and an internet influencer, this novel all worked for me.

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • Diversity--South Asian (April challenge)

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