The Worst Best Man is my first novel by author Mia Sosa. It only made its way to my reading list recently when I was researching romantic comedy novels with plots and feels similar to Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game, Christina Lauren’s The Unhoneymooners, Elena Armas’ The Spanish Love Deception, among others I’ve already reviewed on the blog. I’m looking for effortlessly charming characters without the explosive animosity from my most recent read (see Sarah Hogle’s You Deserve Each Other).
Carolina Santos and Max Hartley’s story surely differs from the other ones I’ve recently read but not by far. The plot begins with Max receiving a text message from his brother, Andrew, telling him he won’t be showing up for his own wedding and that Max is bestowed the special task of informing the bride–yes, you guessed it, Lina–about it. You see, despite being the second–no, the third–option, Max is the best man for this upcoming union. And being the only sensible member of the groom’s family to deliver this news–also, it must be noted that Andrew cites Max as the reason for why he’s changed his mind, something about what he’s said to him the night prior to the wedding affected him, hence, Max was left with no other choice.
Not that Max is particularly close to his brother, no. They’ve been pitted in endless sibling rivalry since they were kids. As adults, this has not changed. Only now they are competing for their mother’s (and boss’) favor in the company they’ve been working for as marketing execs. Max is tired of this senseless comparison, and for once, he just wants to detach himself from his brother’s shadow. It would not come easy though, as we’d soon find out.
Lina is a stunning Brazilian-American wedding planner. Having previously experienced humiliation and hurt whenever she shows her emotions in public, Lina erected formidable walls around her heart. She never lets anyone in, never loses her temper, never cries in front of other people (unless it’s her family and best friend, Jaslene), never shows any signs of weakness. Even when Max delivers the news about Andrew’s sudden change of heart and that she is being abandoned at the altar, Lina stays in control, level-headed–not a tiny crack in that tough exterior. But Lina’s yet to find her match–the one person who will take care of her secrets and vulnerabilities. The one who will see the real her and love her regardless.
When Lina meets Max again three years after the wedding that did not happen, she did not expect to be in such a desperate situation. Her business is at a critical transition and she needs to secure this big opportunity which forces her to work with Max. She had no choice, actually. Her potential employer brings into the conference room both Andrew and Max, telling her she has to work on her pitch with one of them as they are the company’s marketing guys, come up with a stellar presentation within 5 weeks, and hope she gets the job. Shocked to see the brothers that brought her dream wedding to its demise, Lina refuses to break down and instead pretends to not know them, keeping their past hidden. Naturally, Lina, chooses to work with the brother instead of the ex-fiancée.
I give this book 3 stars. To be honest, I am intrigued with the plot when I first read about it and curious as to how the author will go about this strange best-man-and-brother-of-the-ex-fiancée to now-lover dynamic. I’ve never seen it in this context before, not with the intense rivalry between Max and Andrew. However, in the end, I think it comes out flat and I’m not really sold to the manner issues got resolved. You do not build up antagonizing competition only to keep the competitor mostly hidden and then when he finally comes out, he is given the monumental task of pulling the rug under the main characters. It’s underwhelming, in my opinion.
I like the scenes showing the romantic development between Lina and Max. Yes, those I looked forward to. But, somehow, the reason behind these meetings–that is, to come up with the perfect pitch–lost its thrill as you read along. It’s like constantly waiting for a marketing idea to pop out, when all you ever wanted is to focus on the unraveling and nurturing of the characters’ feelings for each other.
If anything, one of the best things about this read is Lina’s family. The constant mention of the hardships endured by her migrant mother and her sisters would bring to mind thoughts of courage and bravery. That Lina was raised by loving relatives who deserve every bit of success and happiness they are now enjoying because they overcame whatever challenges that has come their way. We see this in Lina too, and I’m happy she has found Max to take care of her heart the same way her family does.
- Title: The Worst Best Man
- Author: Mia Sosa
- Year published: 2020
- Publisher: Avon
- Total number of pages: 359
- ISBN-13: 978-0-062-90987-9