Originally published: 7 April 2022
Author: Justin Myers
Published by: Sphere
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Length: 384 pages
Reading dates: 13-17 April 2022
TWO EXES. ONE BIG SECRET. LET THE GAMES BEGIN…
Dylan and Flo are in love. The only trouble is, they broke up months ago and everyone was delighted for them.
At first, it’s exciting sneaking around, hiding from disapproving friends, climbing through bedroom windows to avoid family, and concocting hilarious disguises. It’s like Romeo and Juliet. With more sex and less poison.
But soon it becomes harder to separate truth from lies. Dylan and Flo are in way over their heads, and the games have only just begun . . .
Dylan is an aspiring actor, working in his best friend’s bar, looking for that big break. Flo is a talented singer/songwriter, performing in bars with her less talented partner. Dylan and Flo have been a couple of a while, are madly in love, wildly supportive of each other but are living the life of impoverished performers in a dingy flat. They are not without their problems – Flo’s upper class family and friends especially don’t approve or support of Dylan. When they stresses of their lack of success become too much, they split.
But Flo writes a hit song based on her heartbreak and Dylan gets a dream role in a hospital soap opera and they both get the success they dream of. When they bump into each other again, both on the rise to stardom, they admit to still having feelings for each other but realise admitting their relationship would hold back both their careers…so they decide to get back together but to keep it secret from everyone.
I do sometimes wonder if I should be reading books about characters who are 20 years younger than me but I guess in my head I’m still 21 so that’s OK! I really enjoyed this sweet read and their reasons for keeping their relationship a secret are completely understandable. Because Flo’s breakout hit is her heartbreak song about Dylan, it would “ruin the narrative” (as their publicists would say) if they got back together. But it is hard having a secret relationship in the public eye, especially being able to see what each other is up to on social media. And Flo’s publicist in particular is keen for her to get together with another up and coming singer (even if they are only pretending) to increase their exposure.
The Fake-Up is a light-hearted read, which looks into the pressures of stardom. With romance, some amusing moments and some more serious issues tackled, and it was just what I needed after my last read which was a little intense. There are a few gentle twists and turns along the way and I liked both characters equally.
Many thanks to Clara at Little Brown for sending me a copy for review.
About the author:
Justin Myers is a writer and editor from Shipley, Yorkshire, who now lives in London. After years working in journalism, he began his popular, anonymous dating blog The Guyliner in 2010, spent five years as dating and advice columnist in Gay Times and is now a weekly columnist at British GQ. His work has appeared in a number of publications including the Guardian, BuzzFeed and the Irish Times, and his first novel The Last Romeo was published in 2018.