My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina LaurenMy Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren
Published by Gallery on December 4, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship...but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

It’s no secret that I love Christina Lauren’s romance novels. I actually just reread all of the ones before this one because, even though they’re not connected at all, reading My Favorite Half-Night Stand and The Unhoneymooners were a good excuse to do so. I do not regret my life choices in the slightest. Their books just get me. I love the characterization and the ships, even if they do have one plotting thing they do every single time I wish they would stop doing every single time, which I’ll discuss more. My Favorite Half-Night Stand falls on the bantery end of the Christina Lauren spectrum, and there’s a big friend group, which is rare for one of their standalone novels. Super cute and with a great character arc, this is another fabulous Christina Lauren contemporary.

Millie’s a professor whose focus is on female serial killers, but most of the time she’s just one of the guys. She hangs out with a group of four other male professors, and they’re really close, complete with a group chat they update constantly and highly competitive games of Monopoly. In Lauren’s previous novels, there really haven’t been girls who have straight male best friends, so that made a nice change. I also really loved the dynamic between them all from the very beginning when all the guys argued about which one of them would be Reid’s type.

The romance is friendship to love, which is a trope I love in cases like this where you get to watch the feeling shift. One night, Millie suddenly starts noticing how hot her best friend Reid is, and so they end up having a half-night stand (which apparently means sex where you don’t sleep over after ward). They keep it pretty chill mostly and end up both trying to do online dating, along with all their friends, to try to find dates to a black tie gala at the university. It doesn’t get that much into online dating, but what is there is mildly relatable. It’s pretty clearly set on Millie and Reid from the start, though, even online.

The one thing I didn’t love about My Favorite Half-Night Stand was the way that Millie ends up messaging with Reid from a separate profile. It starts innocently, as a joke, but ends up being a way for the incredibly private Millie to open up to him without having to do it in a particularly vulnerable way. All of that’s fine, actually, and I get it, but I wish it hadn’t played out exactly like you expect it to play out from the outset. Christina Lauren love to break the couple up and let them mourn the relationship for a bit before they get back together. They literally have done it in every single book, and I’d love to see them throw a twist on that.

However, given that I don’t love that formula they use, I do think it works better here than in prior of their novels, just because it does really feel like something that Millie would do. She’s very convincingly closed up, turning anything emotional into a joke or a changed conversation. Even with her best friends and family, she cannot talk about her feelings, and, as someone who once really struggled with that, it’s so much easier to talk when you’re not face to face. Sometimes the fights that cause the nth hour separation feel manufactured because it’s something the couple really would have just talked through, but I did believe that Millie would be that bad at conversing and that Reid might be overwhelmed.

Also, I do just love romances with an emotionally withdrawn heroine and a guy who fucking loves feelings. Reid’s such a squishy, hot, nerdy marshmallow who just wants Millie to tell him how she feels. He’s so frustrated and honest, and that’s just not really the guy you get much in romance novels. He even says that he’s uncomfortable with sex without a relationship. That’s still rare to find in a romance hero, though Lauren have done a couple guys more like that.

Millie’s character arc is so strong, and I love that at the end she gets therapy and starts truly working on her communication, not just with Reid but with her family. Her characterization was set up initially clearly enough to explain how she got to be this way, and her journey is pretty slow and very believable. I love when romances work in mental health stuff in a way that’s not overpowering but very clear.

The friend group adds some cuteness to the background, though I’ll admit I’m unsure on how acceptable Ed’s romance in the end really is. Chris and Rayme are pretty cute, and I hope there’s a spinoff book about them at some point. I loved the group chats a lot throughout and the constant banter between the group, along with the nerdy references.

In case you couldn’t tell, I loved this book. Christina Lauren’s romances are outstanding, and I hope they keep gifting us with two per year.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

One response to “My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren”

  1. Well this sounds delightful!! I’ve only read two Christina Lauren books but I liked both of them a lot. I am all here for banter, big friend groups, and sexy, hot, nerdy marshmallow love interests 😀
    Morgan @ The Bookish Beagle recently posted…Review: Don’t Date Rosa SantosMy Profile

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