Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

I’ve read this book about five times. Each time I half expect to not like it as much as I liked it the previous time, but that doesn’t happen. If anything, I love it even more. Trigger warning: this book contains themes of weight issues and diet pressure. Even though it’s in the context of a fun story, it can be a little strong and may bother people who are sensitive to these issues.

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One-Sentence Synopsis
After finding out she’s the subject of a bet, a recently dumped woman decides to play along to get a date for her sister’s wedding, but she quickly realizes it’s not going to work out…even if she can’t seem to stay away from the guy who made the bet. For a full synopis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
I love the characters, especially Min. She’s a larger woman who dresses conservatively and to hide her body, but who has a flair for awesome shoes. She’s also funny and sweet, and I love that as the book progresses, people are drawn to her when they get to know her.

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The side characters play just as big a part in the story as Cal and Min, and the gathering of their friends adds that camaraderie of a friends group that I really enjoyed. Besides the main plot, there are several other things going on, all stories that connect to form the novel. I think under a less skilled author, things could have gotten jumbled and messy, but Crusie nails the pace and timing.

The book also has a fairy tale, magical quality to it. Though they chalk it up to coincidence, Cal and Min seem to be getting loud messages from the universe every time they try to stay away from each other or deny their feelings. There’s also a very cool cat that shows up, and it’s questionable as to whether he’s the reincarnation of Elvis Presley. He’s also a good judge of character.

elvis

There are two scenes in this book that stick with me: when Cal sings to Min, and when Min and Bonnie are having their own emotional talk about what they want in the future. That’s actually a sad scene, and so well written that I cry every time. Min’s pain is my pain.

The Romance Factor
Reading this book means a few hours of just sitting in warm fuzzies. Cal and Min spend a lot of time in banter foreplay, but when they show affection, it’s genuine and sweet. The fact that they’re constantly trying to stay away from each other just makes it that much better. 5/5

The Steam Factor
Things don’t get sexified until later in the book, but these two have some of the most sensual kissing scenes ever, sometimes involving donuts. I never thought donuts could be hot in the sexy sense. This book explores the wild side of donuts. But for real…for a lack of full out sex scenes, this is still a steamy read. 4/5

Final Thoughts
This book will stay on my shelf because I know I’ll want to read it again. It’s one that I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of. It’s my favorite Crusie book and one of my top books of all time.

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