Review of The Friendship Pact by Jill Shalvis

Hey, y’all! As I was writing this review, it occurred to me that I’m still not up to writing coherently–🤪 because I did find myself rambling on so I’ll proof and pare but do forgive me.

The Friendship Pact
Jill Shalvis
June 14, 2022

Blurb: Alone in the world, Tae Holmes and her mother April pretty much raised each other, but as Tae starts asking questions about the father she’s never met, April, for the first time in her life, goes silent. To make matters worse, Tae is dangerously close to broke and just manages to avoid financial meltdown when she lands a shiny new contract with an adventure company for athletes with disabilities and wounded warriors.

Her first big fundraiser event falls flat, but what starts out as a terrible, horrible, no-good night turns into something else entirely when Tae finds herself face-to-face with Riggs Copeland. She hasn’t seen the former Marine since their brief fling in high school, and while still intensely drawn to him, she likes her past burned and buried, thank you very much. Hence their friendship pact.

But when April oddly refuses to help Tae track down her father, it’s Riggs who unexpectedly comes to her aid. On a hunt to unlock the past, the two of them find themselves on a wild ride and learn a shocking truth, while also reluctantly bonding in a way neither had seen coming. Now Tae must decide whether she’s going to choose love … or walk away from her own happiness.

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Tae was once a rebel, goth hair, sullen expression, apt for trouble, but now she’s an adult and her rebel-streak is far, far gone–unfortunately. Strangely one of her best friends, if not only friend, in high school was straight arrow Riggs Copeland, who always saw more in her than anyone else. But after a fling, Tae’s panic forced Riggs at arm length and the two went their separate ways.

Fresh out of the Marines, Riggs is back to help his older brother but finds himself once again attracted to Tae. Despite the fact that their attraction has never subsided, they agree to be just friends.

Jill Shalvis has created a story that should be a success because it has all of the elements in it that she does so well and yet her sparkle wasn’t there. I didn’t laugh a single time (never before happened with a Shalvis novel) and I may not have even grinned! Frankly, for the most part, I was–gasp–bored.

Riggs was a standard Shalvis MCC, alpha, almost stoic, and I wished he hadn’t been. I wish he’d been more fun. Tae’s transformation from rebel goth to event planner was, well, a boring one, and her reaction near the end of the novel (the big betrayal) just seemed like a bit of a tantrum.

However, you know, Shalvis writes so well that even one of her lesser stories is better than most other romances being published, which leaves me in a quandary regarding rating. (By this point in my book blogging life, I’ll just be honest and say: I hate giving ratings.) Suffice to say, a Shalvis 3 butterfly story would be a 5 butterfly story for so many other writers. Just don’t let The Friendship Pact be the first Jill Shalvis novel you read because it will so totally give you the wrong impression.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Three butterflies and a ladybug

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