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The Bet by Rachel Van Dyken

The Bet by author Rachel Van Dyken starts out with Kacey receiving a proposition from an old friend. Kacey promised she would never talk to Jake again after he was her best friend for years, then one drunken night slept with her, only to never talk to her again, and stealing her heart along on his way out. Kacey found out her parents died that same fateful night, and Jake had disappeared when she needed him the most. Jake offers up that his grandmother is near death and says if Kacey poses as his fiancee, the news might make her show improvement. Kacey agrees, as long as Jake’s brother and her childhood tormentor, Travis, isn’t there. However, Jake neglected to tell Kacey that he has his own reasons for wanting her back in his life.

This novel was at heart a romantic comedy. The romance was smoldering and then explosive. The comedy was laugh-out-loud funny. The story was full of laughs, but the romance was equally as important and captivating. I found this love story very sweet and satisfying. I found myself unable to put this book down and finished it in one sitting.

Kacey was extremely likable as a main character. She was one of those characters who sticks with you long after the story is over. She was easy to relate to. Her parents died when she was in college just after she made the mistake of sleeping with her best friend, Jake. To make matters worse, after sleeping with her, Jake completely disappears after that night, right when she needed him the most. Kacey’s anger and frustration over this, especially after loving Jake one way or another her whole life was understandable. What made her an amazing character though was her ability to pose as his fiancee just for the sake of his grandmother and highlighted her ability for loyalty and compassion.

Jake was an a hard character to find redeemable. He was another side to the love triangle but the author made it easy to hate him from the minute he asked Kacey to pretend to be his fiancee to appease his grandmother and the board. However, brief moments showed a softer side to the character which made him more compelling.

Travis was initially hard to like to. However like Kacey, he had aspects to his character which made him the easy choice to root for. He was shy, had a speech impediment growing up, and always played second place to his younger brother while nursing a life-long crush on Kacey, his brother’s best friend. I found myself falling for his character, just like Kacey.

By far the standout character in this novel was Grandma Nadine. She was the true personality in this book, the puppet master behind all the characters, and stood out in every scene. From her falling-on-the-floor hilarious scenes, to her brutal honesty, to her risque attitude, and being one step ahead of everyone always, she was by far my favorite character. If a prequel was ever written about Grandma, I would be first in line to buy it!

The Bet was a short novel but the writing was quickly paced and the story flowed easily. I found myself reading this book extremely fast and being sad when I felt it was over too soon.

- Reviewed by MARIA

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