Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️+
Each author has this voice, this writing presence that is distinctly their own. When you read their stories, you know it belongs to them because the voice and focus is a tight thread that runs through all of their books. It’s what brings their readers back for more because reading their books feels like snuggling in a warm blanket on a cold day. It’s a reminder that we trust them with our hearts.
Layla Hagen exhibits this unmistakably. When you read her stories, we can trust these attributes of her story: a hero or heroine who doesn’t quite understand his/her feelings immediately, but they figure it out quickly, a sweet story following one of the main tropes of romance, some steamy chemistry between the hero and heroine, a family that surrounds them who add context to their relationship, and a lovely happy ending that leaves you on a sigh. Hagen’s newest book, You’re The One, is no different. In its basic form, it’s a friends-to-lovers, fake marriage story that reminds us that we oftentimes cannot see the perfection that is right in front of us.
You’re The One tells the story of Josie and Hunter who have been friends since they were in high school. They are each other’s best friend, and each big moment in their lives involved the other. At some point, Josie had a crush on Hunter but she didn’t want to ruin their friendship by acting on it. Presently, Hunter receives news that his visa is being withdrawn, and he must return to England where he was born. In researching the problem, Josie and Hunter realize that marrying each other will remedy his problem. Yet, as they enter into their marriage, dormant feelings arise, and both of them struggle to accept their temporary situation. Will they find their happy ending by making their relationship permanent? Is it possible that Josie and Hunter have always been fated for each other?
There is a guarantee with Hagen’s stories that the hero and heroine are fairly clueless about their initial attraction to each other. This is definitely the case with Josie and Hunter. As they both struggle with attraction, these two find every way initially to discourage and deny their feelings for each other. Hagen shows the complications of friends becoming attracted to each other and eventually falling in love. This is probably the best part of the friends to lovers trope, and Hagen writes this well in You’re The One.
As she has done with her other series, The Bennett and Connor Family, Hagen is crafting a new series. We meet Hunter’s aunt and cousins, and it feels as though Hagen is going to do what she does best: creating a universe of stories incorporated into one family. The promise of this is exciting as we move from the West Coast to the East Coast with this new series.
You’re The One is everything you love about Layla Hagen. Josie and Hunter finding their happily-ever-after comes with sweet moments and strife, yet it’s never too difficult to bear. As they journey forward, there is a promise that they are soulmates and will love each other dearly. Reading a Hagen romance isn’t a hardship. Once again, it’s like coming home after a long trip away. You can guarantee that you will find my nose within the pages of her books, and You’re The One is everything you love about them.
In love and romance,