FUNNY YOU SHOULD ASK by Elissa Sussman

About twice a year, I get sucked in by the description of a romance novel, and then I decide I need to read it, and I enjoy it well enough, and then I am set for romances for the next 6 months or so. Well, reset the clock, because I just finished the first one for 2023: Elissa Sussman’s Funny You Should Ask. While it follows the typical romance pattern, it was a fresh take and an easy read.

Why I picked it up: I added this to the TBR a while ago when I learned about it because it sounded cute.

Chani Horowitz, an aspiring novelist, writes for an entertainment magazine. She is assigned to write a feature about Gabe, an actor who has recently been cast as the latest James Bond. He also happens to be her celebrity crush. When she interviews him, sparks fly between the two. After a whirlwind weekend together, she writes the article, but stays mum about whether anything actually happened between them. However, shortly after that weekend, Gabe elopes with his beautiful co-star, and Chani is crushed. Ten years later, Chani’s career has taken off, thanks in part to the famous Gabe interview, while Gabe’s star has risen and fallen. Gabe’s PR team decides to pitch a follow-up interview with Chani, which of course stirs up all of the old feelings on her part. Funny You Should Ask follows a dual timeline – Then and Now – as Sussman tells the story of what initially happened between them and how it’s going in the Now.

Funny You Should Ask is a cute twist on the romance plot. (Apparently it is based on a real life interview that someone did with Chris Pine and the ensuing whirlwind weekend and followup article.) It was fun following Gabe’s career – the controversy over his casting, the alcohol addition and rehab, the gossipy marriage – and also getting to know the real person behind the actor. Chani could be frustrating at times – she was strong and confident, yet annoyingly insecure around Gabe. But I liked their chemistry and the fact that their connection was based on substantial things like writing and family rather than purely on physical attraction. Overall, it was a light book that kept my attention. Even if I knew where things were going to end up, it was fun seeing how Sussman got there.

FYI – if you are annoyed by books that have tons of super short (one-sentence) paragraphs, then you might want to skip this one.

Funny You Should Ask was the 2nd book of 2023.