About the Book:
Title: Bet on It
Author: Jodie Slaughter
Page Length: 320
Publication Date: July 12, 2022
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Synopsis: The first time Aja Owens encounters the man of her dreams, she’s having a panic attack in the frozen foods section of the Piggly Wiggly. The second time, he’s being introduced to her as her favorite bingo buddy’s semi-estranged grandson. From there, all it takes is one game for her to realize that he’s definitely going to be a problem. And if there’s anything she already has a surplus of, it’s problems.
In Walker Abbott’s mind, there are only two worthwhile things in Greenbelt, South Carolina. The peach cobbler at his old favorite diner and his ailing grandmother. Dragging himself back after more than a decade away, he’s counting down the days until Gram heals and he can get back to his real life. Far away from the trauma inside of those city limits. Just when he thinks his plan is solid, enter Aja to shake everything up.
A hastily made bingo-based sex pact is supposed to keep this…thing between them from getting out of hand. Especially when submitting to their feelings means disrupting their carefully balanced lives. But emotions are just like bingo callers—they refuse to be ignored.
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The first time Aja meets Walker, she is having an anxiety attack in the frozen food aisle at the grocery store. She doesn’t expect to see him again, especially at the local bingo. Walker has returned to his hometown to care for his injured grandmother, and he fully intends to hightail it out of there as soon as she is better. He never planned on developing feelings for his grandmother’s young bingo friend. Neither Aja nor Walker are looking for a committed relationship, so they make a bingo-related bet that will ensure they keep things light and fun.
There’s a lot that I liked about this story. The main characters are really well-developed and relatable, and I love that Aja is a pretty plus-sized woman. We need more plus-size representation in literature! And the way Walker talks about Aja’s body and his deep attraction to her is positively swoon-worthy. Oftentimes, there is shame associated with being larger, and this story and these characters show nothing but acceptance, respect, and desire. It’s refreshing.
I also like the anxiety rep in the story. Aja has generalized anxiety disorder, which I totally relate to. I thought her struggles were so on point, and I so understood how Aja felt many times in the story. Her thought process, her physical reactions, and her emotional turmoil are all realistic and relatable. Walker has PTSD, and his struggles are relatable and realistically presented as well. I love that they talk so openly about their mental health, therapy, and more, and I cheered for them as they opened up to each other and stepped out of their comfort zones.
Aja and Walker have a sweet and steamy romance. They become friends first, but their chemistry is intense almost from their first meeting. I love their banter and flirtatious way with each other, and when they get together, it is hot! I so rooted for these two to find their happy ending, and though they make mistakes (Yes, I’m talking to you, Walker!), they both deserve the happiness they find in each other.
The story also highlights some of the struggles that come with living in a small town where everyone knows everyone else. Gossip travels fast, and mean gossip scars. I think there are some good messages here about being more sensitive to other people’s struggles and supporting people instead of adding to their troubles.
Overall, I thought this was a good read. It was a bit heavier than I expected, but the characters, humor, and romance balance the story well. I would recommend this book to readers of contemporary romance but would encourage them to check out the content warnings before reading. Thanks so much to St. Martin’s Press, NetGalley, and the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
- The romance.
- The realistic anxiety rep.
I would recommend this to readers who enjoy contemporary romance.