The Boyfriend Swap
by Meredith Schorr
Published November 7th 2017 by Henery Press
Is Christmas really the most wonderful time of the year? New Yorkers Robyn Lane and Sidney Bellows aren’t so sure.
Robyn has always dated struggling creative types. For once, her parents would love her to bring someone with health insurance and a 401(k) to their Chrismukkah celebration. Her actor boyfriend doesn’t qualify. While across town, Sidney’s professional life already belongs to her parents. She’s an attorney at her father’s law firm and she works tirelessly to keep her love life private. If she brings her lawyer boyfriend to their annual Christmas extravaganza, her parents will have the wedding planned by New Year’s Eve.
A mutual friend playfully suggests they trade boyfriends for the holidays. The women share a laugh, but after copious amounts of wine, decide The Boyfriend Swap could be the perfect solution. This way, Robyn can show off her stable attorney boyfriend and Sidney’s high-society family will take no interest in her flakey actor beau.
It’s a brilliant plan—in theory. In practice—not so much. When Will turns out to be the boy-next-door Robyn crushed on hard throughout her teenage years, and Sidney’s family fawns all over Perry like he’s an Oscar-winner rather than a D-list wannabe, one thing is certain: The Boyfriend Swap might just change their lives forever.
This capture my attention for the promise of being a fun and unconventional holiday books. I mean sure, it’s christmas/hanukkah romance, but swapping boyfriends? I don’t think I’ve ever read it. While this book lives up to the premise, there are some things that bugged me from enjoying this book.
Sydney is a lawyer who works in her father’s law firm. Her work life already belonged to her father, which is why she was reluctant to bring home her boyfriend, who is also a lawyer home, with fear that her father will take over her relationship too. Meanwhile, Robyn is a music teacher in a highschool with a struggling actor as a boyfriend. Her parents were musicians themselves and highly disapproves her past and current relationships with the artsy type. This is the reason why she is reluctant to bring him home for the holidays, because based on her experience, her parents will attack him. When a mutual friend suggest them to trade boyfriends during the holidays, they agreed to it but they did not anticipate the consequences of this pact.
Just like one reviewer pointed out on goodreads, this book works so well because the author did an amazing job at the characterization. Robyn and Sydney aren’t the only one fleshed out in this book, their respective boyfriends, parents, and home situation are described really well and in depth, making us sympathize and try to understand the reason they agree to this pact in the first place. All the characters have a life outside the swap and the holiday season, and the book does not make us forget that.
The pacing was really nice, it wasn’t too fast or too slow, giving us enough time to learn about the situation and the characters. It definitely have the holiday feels too, both Christmas and Hanukkah, as well as family traditions each family has.
What I don’t like about this book is how everyone blames Sydney for everything. Sydney unable to settle down? The whole big family attacks her. The swap ended up ruining both relationship? Sydney “flirts” with Robyn boyfriend, being too dominant towards Robyn, and doesn’t care at all with her boyfriend. Is it so bad being a girl who can take charges, decision, and driven towards her career? She owns up to her mistakes and her decision, and even though not everything is her fault, she took the blame. Yet not once I’ve seen Robyn own up to her mistakes and admit that maybe, just MAYBE, she had a part in the agreement of the swap as much as Sydney is, and flirt with Sydney’s boyfriend even more than Sydney with hers!
This book seems like wanting us to see that girls like Sydney are bad because she was too dominant… heck the lines of “letting guys take control” appear at least twice in the book, told by so many people as an “advice”towards Sydney. I’m not saying girls like Robyn is bad, but having to change yourself, even make yourself looked weaker, is not a way to start a relationship.
As a holiday and contemporary book, I really enjoyed it. But as a female, a driven one like Sydney, I’m disturbed by the message this book give by the amount of blame and negativity Sydney faced in this book.