"Wise, funny, and spot-on in its gleeful puncturing of male and female stereotypes..."
Amazon Editor's Pick, Best Romance of 2017
One San Francisco librarian would rather check out a good romance than dare to experience it herself. Luckily, her own next chapter is full of surprises…
Melissa “Bernie” Bernard isn’t familiar with fame. After all, she works at a college library with hardly any visitors. But when a video of a marriage proposal in her stacks goes viral, it’s not the bride and groom who capture the Internet’s attention. It’s Bernie—caught rolling her eyes. Now, just as she’s ready to go into hiding and permanently bury her nose in a book, a handsome reporter appears with a proposal of his own…
If Colin Rodriguez doesn’t do something big to attract new readers, his boss will hire someone else to dole out dating advice. Determined to prove he’s an expert at romance—despite his own pitiful track record—he pitches a story: He will find dates for the undateable. Specifically, for the now-infamous, love hating librarian at Richmond College.
Even though Bernie doesn’t believe in happily-ever-afters, she’s not one to resist a good challenge. Yet with one disastrous date after another, she’s ready to give up. Until Colin proves he’ll do anything to find her the perfect match—even if it means putting himself up for the role…
"Combined with Title’s remarkable ability to naturally work feminist discussions about dating and femininity into the plot, the book represents the best of a new kind of contemporary romance: socially aware and laugh-out-loud funny, with a love story that’s real enough to imagine reading about on Twitter."
Kirkus Reviews (starred review; best books of 2017)
Read an Excerpt Below:
It was seventeen past one and Bernie was hangry.
She thought longingly of her midmorning banana, abandoned and lonely on her kitchen counter, and of her leftover lentil soup, waiting patiently in the insulated bag under her desk. All of her food was so far away. And even if it was right in front of her, she wouldn't eat at the information desk. It would set a bad example. She had enough trouble keeping her student workers off their cell phones while they were on the desk; she didn't need them eating, too.
She looked at the clock again. Eighteen after one. Carly was a wonderful employee in many ways; she was friendly and she seemed unflappable in the face of panicked procrastinators. She had ended up in the library as her work-study assignment, but after four years, she was now considering library school. Bernie was glad. She'd be a great librarian.
A late librarian, but a great one.
As if Bernie's rising hunger-induced annoyance conjured her, Carly came sprinting through the lobby, slowing down to a power walk once she crossed the threshold of the library. She mouthed a wincing apology to Bernie, who just shrugged. She could write her up, but Carly was a senior. She'd be graduating in a few months, and anyway, Bernie was about to eat lunch so she didn't really care.
"I'm so sorry." Carly was breathless when she finally reached the desk. She dropped her heavy shoulder bag on the floor next to the reference computer. "Evan was..." She blushed, then stopped. Bernie was grateful. She'd learned way too much about Carly's personal life, and the oversharing had only multiplied since Carly had started dating Evan. Evan was a musical theater major—not gay—and they were supposed to be saving themselves for marriage. Bernie ignored the alarm bells and minded her own business or as much as Carly would let her mind her own business. For example, a few weeks into the new semester, Carly was floating around and more tardy than usual, and when Bernie asked her what was up, she got along, metaphor-filled description of Carly's deflowering by the not-gay (and apparently not-waiting-for-marriage) Evan.
It was sweet, Bernie reminded herself. Young love and all that. She had been young and foolish and in love before. Carly would grow out of it, just as surely as Bernie had.
That was depressing, she thought.
Which was surely just the hunger talking.
"There's nothing carrying over," Bernie explained, her mind half on her lunch. In addition to soup, there was also a cupcake. She had forgotten all about the cupcake. Her stomach growled. "It's art history time again," she said, referring to the annual Intro to Art History term paper rush they got this time in the semester. "I pulled a few of the books this morning"—she pointed to a small cart of giant art books near the desk—"so if you could check the links on the Web site, make sure they're all still good..."
Bernie was distracted by a big crowd of students entering the library. Her heart sank even as her public service smile lit up. She couldn't leave Carly to handle this many students by herself. Carly was unflappable, but Bernie wasn't a sadist.
"Hi, can I help —"
Bernie started to greet them, thinking they’d all come over from a class together and maybe they wanted a tour. Bernie didn't have any tours on her calendar, but that never stopped a professor from sending a group over. But then they all stopped just shy of the desk and turned their backs to her. Were they protesting? Who would protest the library? Then she heard music coming from the back of the Student Blob, and she was just about to launch into her autopilot Please-Use-Headphones when the Blob started to shake.
Oh my God, she thought. They're dancing.
She looked at Carly as if The Young Person might have some explanation for the Undulating Student Blob (was this a thing the kids were doing, Bernie wondered while reminding herself that she was only thirty-one, still a kid, maybe). Carly, however, looked like she was on the amused end of the bemused spectrum. Kids, Bernie thought. Then: I am very, very hungry.
Then the lyrics started, and Bernie recognized the pop song—something about love forever and crap like that. But her Old Person Brain remembered that it was sung by a woman, and this was not a woman singing. The dancing blob parted and there, like a singing Moses, was Evan. He was holding a small microphone plugged into his cell phone, karaoke-ing over the original song. As he sang and the music crescendoed, the dancers moved in a joyful, if not totally coordinated, circle around the information desk. Bernie watched them swish and swirl around, wondering where they were going to go next. She started to say something to Carly, but Carly was not watching the dancers. She was watching Evan, who had swirled up to her and onto the desk. He was dancing on the information desk. That was not allowed. Bernie should stop him.
Then a couple of the burlier dancers were behind the desk—another thing Bernie should stop—and they lifted Carly, who squealed, but took Evan's hand as he led her in a few complicated but clearly familiar moves on the desk.
Two people dancing on the information desk. Bernie should definitely not just stand there with her mouth open.
Then the dancing stopped, and so did Evan's singing, although the music continued in the background. Bernie remembered this part. This was the part where the singer talked to the singee about how much she loved him and there were some metaphors about sunshine and butterflies. But Evan wasn't metaphorizing. He was getting down on one knee. Then he was reaching into his pocket. Then, accompanied by the sound of dozens of undergraduate cell phones taking pictures, he pulled open a small square box.
"Carly Monica Hilbert, you have made me the happiest man in the world. Will you make me even happier by becoming my wife?"
No, no, no, thought Bernie. This isn't right. They are way too young. They just started drinking legally—they couldn't possibly be ready to get married!
But Carly wasn't listening to Bernie's silent objections. She wasn't looking to her mentor for advice or approval. She was just looking at Evan, her eyes shining, and she nodded.
There was a surge from the crowd as Evan stood and twirled Carly in his arms, then shakily put the ring on her finger. Bernie was never going to get to eat lunch.