Hazel McCallister loves her life. Perfect grades. Perfect best friend. Perfect boyfriend. Until her perfect boyfriend cheats on her with her perfect best friend. Now Hazel’s in free fall—until her best friend’s brother, Felix, gives her the perfect idea. Reclaim her power by taking revenge on her cheating ex. Felix James loves his life. Casual relationships. Loads of surfing. He’s as drama-free as they come. But he can’t stand by when his sister steals her best friend’s boyfriend, and the dude insists it was Hazel’s fault. So Felix vows to help turn Hazel into a girl her ex can’t resist—so then she can break his heart. With an alliance in place, Hazel’s revenge is all but assured. But with each piece of payback, she feels a stronger attraction to Felix, even though revenge will turn her into a girl Felix could never be with. And soon Hazel has to make an impossible choice: revenge…or Felix, the boy who’s stolen her heart.
My Rating: 3½/5 stars
Felix James has a pretty fantastic life. He is just good enough without much effort to get through his classes, he is a wicked good surfer and surfs often, the ladies love him and he totally likes the ladies, and his reputation is solid. Felix stays out of the drama that seems to constantly surround his friends and every chance he gets, he mixes it up with his sister’s best friend, Hazel. Since they were kids, Felix and Hazel have taunted and teased one another mercilessly and neither would have it any other way.
Hazel McCallister’s life runs perfectly right down to the minute; her every action, her every plan is scripted. Hazel is top of her class and according to her life plan she will get into her first choice college, her damn-near perfect boyfriend will, of course accompany her, and at the appropriate time (see the schedule!) they will get engaged, married, and have children. The world, according to Hazel is meant to run with precision and accuracy and Heaven help the fool who dares mess with the plan. Enter, Hazel’s damn-near perfect boyfriend, Jay and her best friend, Kimmy.
Publicly and quite humiliatingly, Jay and Kimmy decide to announce their new relationship to the world. As Hazel’s world crumbles around her in the middle of the cafeteria, it is Felix who comes to her rescue. Felix, the flirt, the never takes anything seriously guy boldly stands by Hazel as her boyfriend and best friend rise to the top of her, those who must not be named list. Heartbroken and reeling, Hazel agrees to Felix’s crazy plan to fake their own relationship in order to get back at Jay and Kimmy. The goal, make the betrayers so jealous and upset that they will feel as awful as Hazel.
Because this is a YA read, Hazel and Felix keep the revenge on the lighter side and as you would expect their friendship (established long ago) and fake relationship blossoms into real feelings which leaves each wondering how to navigate the change in their relationship. Again, as expected each initially tries to deny his and her feelings and, once accepted refuses to talk to the other out of fear of rejection. Of course, this causes more drama which continues until it is almost too late. Just in the nick of time, Hazel and Felix realize sacrificing a potentially awesome relationship for the sake of a little revenge just isn’t worth it.
The Bottom Line: Not Okay, Cupid is exactly what it is advertised to be, a sweet contemporary YA romance with few surprises and an HEA. That is exactly what I was looking for when I sat down to read J I love the unconventional names, Hazel and Felix and both characters worked really well for me. Hazel evolves as she learns more about Felix and Felix evolves as he begins to accept his feelings for Hazel. Their banter is witty and spot on especially when they are firing back at Jay and Kimmy. Their revenge plans are just right for the age group and the HEA ties up almost everything in the end. The only thing that didn’t get resolved for me is what happened to Jay and Kimmy. With that being said, I put Not Okay, Cupid on the recommend list though it should be reserved for that time when you are maxed out on the heavy reads and looking for something light and easy.
Excerpt from Not Okay, Cupid:
I watched in horror as Kimmy’s lips grazed Jay’s ear. He leaned back and laughed. What the heck was going on?
“Oh God!” Hazel said, grabbing my hand. “Look at her hand.”
Kimmy’s hand was riding high up Jay’s shorts. High, high. Like top of thigh high. The kind of move that usually let me know a girl was ready to get down to business.
“Dude,” I said, because what else could I say?
Hazel swallowed. “Did you know about this?”
“Me? No way. Hell no. I’ve been looking for her all day, too. Look, Baze, don’t overreact. We don’t know anything. Who knows. He might have…lost a match and she’s…comforting him. Or his turtle died and they’re planning a eulogy together?” I was grasping and we both knew it, but I couldn’t stand to see that pained look on her face. “I once heard the best eulogy for a frog. It was amazing. It was all about the life cycle from tadpole to amphibian to…”
“Shut up, Felix.”
Hazel brushed past me and barreled toward them. It was no turtle eulogy, and I knew it. I mean, I didn’t know I knew it, but I knew the look of two people who were digging on each other, and those two were certainly all about the other one. God, poor Hazel.
Oh no. There she goes.
I had to follow her. I had to help.
“Excuse me,” I said to a group of three ladies in my way. Two of them grinned at me, one glared. The glaring one was a girl I’d forgotten to call back. I ducked, sheepishly, with a little apologetic wave, and came out on the other side.
I’d never even heard Hazel raise her voice, never mind cry. Never mind cry in public. But I didn’t need to use my astute Sherlock skills to see Hazel was on the verge of doing all three. She stopped close to Jay and Kimmy, like she was verifying what she was seeing was real.
One more intimate touch from Kimmy on Jay and that was it. Hazel moved in for the kill.
About the author and where to find her:
After earning her BA in Literature & Creative Writing Literature from UC Santa Cruz and finding her voice in YA, Heidi went on to earn her MFA in Writing for Children from The New School. She has directed and written children’s theatre on both coasts and lives with her husband and two children in Palo Alto, CA.
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