Wednesday 1 September 2021

Review | The Mix-Up by Holly McCulloch

Published by Transworld on June 24, 2021

I loved the sound of The Mix Up from the first moment I heard about it and couldn’t resist buying a copy. It definitely did not disappoint! More than just an eye-catching cover and an enticing blurb, this heartfelt romantic comedy was touching and empowering and entertaining from start to finish.

Paige is a wedding cake baker, and despite not being much of a romantic, she enjoys her job – at least when she gets to bake creative cakes and not a particular kind of design that is wanted by her jerk of an ex-boyfriend Chris and his wife-to-be. As her finances aren’t great, Paige agrees to bake a cake for the happy couple – at a high fee, of course. But being back in contact with her ex makes Paige stressed and confused, and in need of a distraction from this, she attends the party of her friend in search of a one-night-stand. When her friend tells her to head for the guy in the black top, she does exactly that, only there’s two guys in black tops… so has she picked the right one?

I enjoyed the fun concept to the story and can I just say that yes she absolutely picked her hook-up right because Noah was just a dream! I loved his character from the moment we met him and really I wanted to hear nothing more of Paige’s ex because that would waste valuable Noah time and it would have been a travesty. Paige does not want a relationship, just something casual, and short-term, yet Noah is more romantic and would like something more settled. Paige knows she needs to set him straight but despite her original plan, she does enjoy spending time with him. The Mix-Up sees her battling with her own insecurities as she tries to work out what she really wants.

I found Paige a likeable protagonist, if not one I wanted to shake a fair few times. She goes back and forth a lot and never seems to be able to stick to a decision but then it would be unfair to judge as that is pretty relatable. She is confident on the outside but more insecure than she would like to let on and I felt for her. One thing I really did enjoy was her friendship with Sara as they both could level with each other and support each other through everything, despite their different stages in life.

The overall plot in Holly McCulloch’s second novel (the first has since made its way onto my wishlist) is warm and witty yet affirming at the same time. Despite some harder subjects, such as Paige’s strained relationship with her mother, this book had me smiling the whole way through and I was incapable of putting it down yet at the same time reluctant to see it come to an end.

Towards the end of the book, I kept thinking we were running out of pages to resolve everything and in fact some things, which seemed quite major parts of the book at times, were left unresolved. When I thought about it, I wasn’t sure if I minded that they weren’t all settled. I don’t know if it’s because really I just wanted to read more of Noah or because maybe it was fun to get away from the typical feeling that books need to tie up all loose ends come the end, but I think I preferred it this way. The uncertainty just seemed to fit with Paige – she was one of those characters that deserved a happy ending yet I kind of feel like there would always be another drama on the horizon for her and you know I would be there to read it if there was!

Both moving and funny, The Mix-Up was a joy to read with a romance I just couldn’t get enough of.


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