Meet You in the Middle

Devon Daniels. Berkley, $16 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-19921-3
Daniels misfires in her tone-deaf rom-com debut. When Kate Adams, a liberal congressional staffer, pitches her conservative colleague Ben Mackenzie on a child care bill, he dismisses her out of hand, sparking a heated exchange. Their mutual ire leads to an immature prank war, but as they come to enjoy debating each another, their animosity evolves into grudging respect. Daniels hits all the expected beats of the enemies-to-lovers arc, but treating Ben and Kate’s arguments as foreplay strikes a sour note given that their differing opinions have nationwide consequences, and though they’re presented as equal sparring partners, Kate compromises her ideals far more frequently than Ben. Ben, meanwhile, treats Kate’s emotional response to politics as irrational, as when he takes a horrified Kate to a shooting range to try to change her stance on gun control, an outing that improbably ends in a steamy hookup. The result is that Ben reads like a condescending bully and Kate comes across as spineless rather than the “ballbuster” she’s repeatedly described as. The politics themselves are hazily sketched, and actual policy is kept conveniently vague. Readers will be unconvinced by this lopsided romance and its weak argument for separating the personal from the political. Agent: Kim Lionetti, Bookends Literary. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/20/2020
Release date: 09/08/2020
Genre: Romance/Erotica
Book - 978-0-593-19922-0
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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