Thank you to SourceBooks Casabalanca/NetGalley for a copy of 10 Things That Never Happened in exchange for an honest review.
Fake amnesia. Real feelings. Real problems.
Sam Becker loves — or, okay, likes — his job. Sure, managing a bed and bath retailer isn’t exactly glamorous, but it’s good work and he gets on well with the band of misfits who keep the store running. He could see himself being content here for the long haul. Too bad, then, that the owner is an infuriating git.
Jonathan Forest should never have hired Sam. It was a sentimental decision, and Jonathan didn’t get where he is by following his heart. Determined to set things right, Jonathan orders Sam down to London for a difficult talk … only for a panicking Sam to trip, bump his head, and maybe accidentally imply he doesn’t remember anything?
Faking amnesia seemed like a good idea when Sam was afraid he was getting sacked, but now he has to deal with the reality of Jonathan’s guilt — as well as the unsettling fact that his surly boss might have a softer side to him. There’s an unexpected freedom in getting a second shot at a first impression … but as Sam and Jonathan grow closer, can Sam really bring himself to tell the truth, or will their future be built entirely on one impulsive lie?
OK People Doing Bad Things
Alexis Hall‘s 10 Things That Never Happened is about very mid people. Not that they’re mid in how interesting they are, but by their decency as humans. In real life, faking amnesia is probably not a forgivable trait. In a book, it can seem almost understandable. It likely works because we’ve all let things get out of control. A misunderstanding can quickly snowball. It’s just not usually something as high stakes. If the plot puts you off, try not to let it: it isn’t “as bad” as it seems.
OK People Being Endearing
Of course, these characters, Sam and Jonathan, in particular, are ultimately endearing and move beyond “mid.” Once you slowly understand what makes them tick, you start rooting for them. And the larger cast of characters is also endearing in the way only an Alexis Hall cast could be. Cheesy jokes, wordplay, and, frankly, mean people are all present in 10 Things That Never Happened. Hall takes it just to the limit without ever crossing — another of his specialties. I suppose this humo(u)r could be grating to some, but I have a low tolerance for twee Britishness, and I love Alexis Hall.
The romance, too, is quite sweet. Later bloomers or people who are generally insecure are in less short supply these days, but they are still not the usual suspects of the romance world. People literally tripping around each other is a nice change of pace.
Should You Read It?
If you like ridiculous 90s British rom-coms, you’ll love 10 Things That Never Happened. Though it’s part of Alexis Hall’s London Calling series, it’s only very tangentially related to the characters of Boyfriend Material. If you liked that book and its follow-up, Husband Material, you’ll like this one. They’re very much cousins with the same vibe. I just really loved this book, and I think most rom-com lovers will, too.
10 Things That Never Happened is out on October 17, 2023. Preorder a copy at your local indie bookstore or put one on hold at your library! 📚🤕🚿