Some spoilers included!
Romeantically Challenged definitely felt like a romance but had just enough of a unique twist to keep it from being average. I was drawn in right away by Annie's unfortunate situation. Can you imagine your very recent fiance marrying someone else in the wedding you planned? Then we met Emmitt, the town playboy who is unknowingly sharing his house with Annie. I felt like I knew where this was going to go but how and when would they get there.
The first half of the book felt slow to pick up after we were introduced to the characters. I expect Annie and Emmitt will get together, but when and how? Luckily, the second half of the book picked up and I liked the development of the characters a lot more. Both characters went through phases of learning about themselves and growing, which was a nice touch. I also liked the other members of Emmitt's family and how they played a role in his and Annie's life. While at times, the book felt drawn out, I found myself wishing for another chapter or two at the end. The author definitely wrapped up Annie and Emmitt's story but then the book was over! I needed to know more!
What I liked about this book:
-It was a different type of romance story. Emmitt had a complicated family life and Annie was coming from an unusually difficult breakup.
-The character development. They didn't grow perfectly but their growth was real. They struggled but it moved forward.
-The medical involvement and that Annie is an Asian-American professional!
-SPOILER: Annie and Emmitt didn't get together right away. Some romance books put the main characters in bed right away and it drags. This book involved a lot of intrigue trying to figure out if they would in fact get together.
What I didn't love so much:
-Some small repetitive parts. They were obviously included to be quirks about the main characters but they felt forced at times. I.e. Annie only eats pizza with pepperoni and green olives. This came up too many times that it didn't feel natural.
-The end felt a little too sappy for me. I know I'm in the minority here because this is normal in romance novels and a lot of readers love this fictional aspect. But for me, I need the dialogue to feel more real.
-SPOILER: I wish there had been more development with Annie's family background. There were hints of her wanting to know more about her birth family but then that never came up again at the end. I would have loved to know that Annie and Emmitt will plan a trip to Vietnam for his work and her family search!
Overall, I liked that this wasn't a two person romance story. I liked that they had past difficulties and a unique families.