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At the end of my review for Take a Hint, Dani Brown, I wrote: “My love for these sisters and this series knows no bounds. I cannot wait to read Eve’s story. I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that it might just be my favorite one yet.” Y’all, I’m going to start a new side hustle because apparently I’m clairvoyant. Act Your Age, Eve Brown is, hands down, my favorite of the series. You really can’t go wrong with any of the books in this series, they’re all fantastic, but there is something so special about Act Your Age.
It’s taken me a few tries to write this review because society tells me that “DROP EVERYTHING AND READ THIS, I’M OBSESSED” doesn’t count as a legitimate review, which, okay, fine, I’ll try to think of some other ways to convey my potent enthusiasm for this story.
Act Your Age, Eve Brown follows Eve and Jacob. Eve Brown is the youngest of the Brown brood and the “hot mess” of the family (but not actually, okay, she’s just misunderstood!!). No matter how hard she tries, she always seems to disappoint her parents, fall short of her sisters, and just make a mess of things; she’s chaos walking. Fed up with Eve and determined to force her to grow up, her parents kick her out and Eve finds herself in need of a home and a job, and quickly.
Jacob Wayne is a perfectionist through-and-through. The owner of a lovely bed and breakfast, he’s determined to create a place that can be comfortable and accommodating for all and has no patience for disorder or chaos. Eve shows up—unscheduled and out of the blue—to interview for his open chef position and it takes Jacob all of a second to know that it would be a terrible idea, which he makes known. After Eve hits him with her car (accidentally, of course!), Jacob finds himself with a broken arm, an understaffed B&B, and a new roommate and chef determined to help make things right. It’s the perfect recipe for an enemies-to-lovers and forced proximity romance.
As the two are forced to work and live together, their animosity evolves into mutual respect and understanding. While on the surface, the two couldn’t seem more different—they are the epitome of grumpy/sunshine—they understand each other on a visceral level and offer each other acceptance and safety, something that neither of them is used to. Jacob, especially, offers Eve something she’s rarely experienced: respect.
“Your abilities,” [Jacob] said slowly, “lie in the places people usually overlook. So you’ve been convinced you don’t have any at all. But you’re smart, and you’re capable, and if people struggle to see that, it’s their problem, not yours.”
Despite the book’s title, Act Your Age, Eve Brown is not about Eve growing up, it’s about her growing into her own; it’s about her learning to value her skills and abilities in spite of her family’s focus on more traditional accomplishments and careers. I found Eve’s struggles with feeling optional, with feeling how she always liked folks more than they liked her, to be particularly relatable. And I loved that, despite all of her insecurities, she still wore her heart on her sleeve and was hilarious and optimistic and caring—she made people feel cared for and seen, even if she didn’t always feel that way.
Hibbert’s writing is a delight to read and she’s one of the funniest and wittiest authors out there. I’m always impressed with her ability to infuse humor and levity into her scenes without ever invalidating or taking away from her characters’ emotions. And, alright, I’m just going to say what we’re all thinking—she writes some of the best steam, period. I loved the steam in the first two, but Act Your Age is hot on a whole other level.
Equal parts intoxicating, quick-witted, and emotionally resonant, Act Your Age, Eve Brown is one of the best romances I’ve ever read.