The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams Spoilers Ahead
The best friends-to-lovers trope isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s always lovely to read when done right. And The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams is, in fact, done right. The duel point-of-view makes it charming from start to finish, even when it gets frustrating and you start yelling at the characters to spit it out and talk to each other.
Much of the novel stands out, primarily due to Adams’ writing style and her ability to ensure that you continue turning the page even while you’re exhausted. Her ability to set a scene as simple as a living room is so easy to picture that you’re immediately transported there every time while finding the necessary comfort only this genre can bring.
The Cheat Sheet follows best friends Bree Camden and Nathan Donelson in a will they/won’t they dance towards fake dating until they both finally put their fears aside and turn their friendship into something more. It’s intrinsically loud at times because of the places characters find themselves in but never once does it border on any sort of obnoxiousness; instead, every moment is altogether wholesome. And for our readers who are Ted Lasso fans, you’ll be happy to know that the inspiration Adams has drawn from the series works splendidly.
The problem with the best friends-to-lovers trope is that, at times, for readers, it gets aggravating watching them both go back and forth in their own minds while we know for a fact that the feelings are reciprocated. But that’s part of the story that makes it natural because anyone who’s ever been in this situation knows how harrowing fears of losing the friendship amid the romance are. And as much as I wanted to strangle Bree for friend-zoning Nathan as much as she did, Adams makes you understand her, creating something that much more deliciously palpable when they finally get together. Plus, as someone who’s dated her best friend and lost him after a breakup, it’s easy to understand how viable her every concern is.
But part of the reason the novel works so well is because even while they’re supposed to be fake dating, we’re constantly watching a friendship light itself on the kind of fire that’ll burn through all the right places. There’s plenty of magic behind closed doors that feels much more intimate. There’s a lot left to our imagination about what could happen and why, making our journey reading that much more heartwarming.
Finally, while the ending might seem rushed for some readers, it actually makes Adams’ story more earned. It makes perfect sense that Nathan would have planned a wedding immediately after declaring that he wants to do things differently with her, wanting to wait—to showcase that this is what he’s wanted and dreamed of for years and years. Their past rifts and reunions might be callbacks, but all the little details in between thrust us towards understanding the undeniably indestructible foundation that they’ve built. The language and memories alongside present-day occurrences cement their loyalty to one another while making the stalwart adoration burning within stronger by the page. The novel is sweet, gorgeously vulnerable, hilarious, and the ending feels as good as a game-winning touchdown.
The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams is now available to purchase.
Further Recommended Novels: Lovelight Farms by B.K. Borison