The Plot (from Goodreads):
Debut author Gillian Libby brings you a bright and hopeful story about friendship, self-discovery and acceptance, and fighting for your own happiness, even if it looks a little different than everyone else’s. You’ll love this funny and charming story that reminds you:
• You are capable of more than you think you are—don’t give up on your happiness
• Your friends are your fiercest champions
• It’s good to admit to your mistakes, but sometimes it’s also okay to pretend your crush is really your Instagram Boyfriend
• The perfect dress can help you get through anything
Millie Ward has been fired. Again. She’s tired of feeling like a failure, and she refuses to blame her ADHD the way her parents do every time she hits one of life’s speed bumps. This time, she’s going to let that speed bump actually slow her down, and jumps at the chance to visit her best friend—and Instagram influencer—Quincy in California. And she wouldn’t mind if that invitation also involved getting closer with Quincy’s brother, Pete.
When her best friends Kate and Bree help her pack, they rediscover the little black dress they shared in college. This dress helped them during first dates, exams, and job interviews—bringing each woman who wore it a bit of luck and confidence. Whatever comes during Millie’s next chapter, this dress will help.
But Peacock Bay is full of mega influencers who have perfected the look of the surf lifestyle, and a minor misunderstanding has Millie and her magical dress joining their ranks. Now she has to convince her crush Pete Santana that pretending to be her Instagram Husband will help bring new business to his struggling hotel and help her launch her influencer career. But maybe posting all her failures isn’t the best way to win Pete’s heart, no matter how good it is for his business. When she reveals her biggest screw-up of all—their fake relationship—there’s a good chance she could lose not only her new following, but Pete as well…
Thank you to Dreamscape Media for this ALC in exchange for an honest review.
Four Ways to Wear A Dress was the perfect dive into summer reading. The premise starts off like a single POV version of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and I would love to see spinoffs of the other friends when they are in possession of it!
Millie was a really fun MC. Recently laid off from her marketing job, she goes to visit some college friends in their beachside surfer town and decides to try her hand at influencing while she’s there. She gets reacquainted with her best friend’s hot brother, and they begin a fake relationship to boost their follower counts.
Millie and Pete had great chemistry. I love the friends-to-lovers trope, and their scenes were really fun to read. There was the perfect amount of steam.
The setting was probably my favorite part of this book. I adore little beachside towns and got excited for my own summer vacation plans while listening to this story.
There were a couple of things I didn’t love–most were minor, like the fact that the storyline turned away from the dress despite it being in the title. As someone who clearly spends a lot of time on Instagram, it felt extremely unrealistic that a social media nobody would gain 75k+ followers in just a month. I also felt like Millie took the “fake dating” bit too far, but constantly insisting how fake it was when Pete clearly was interested in her too.
I really disliked how Quincy’s story was dismissed. Alana was terrible to Quincy as she tried to navigate her son’s possible diagnosis, telling her to hide it for the sake of social media likes and follows. I wish there was some justice for Quincy and her son, and he deserved better than to be excluded by the moms and likely the other children. I do hope that he gets a happier ending if this is turned into a series.
Overall, this debut was a fun, summery hit. I’m looking forward to reading more from Gillian Libby!
Audio Review: Erika Schindele was a great fit for Millie’s character. Her voice is young and energetic, and felt like the perfect fit for a mid-20s surfer girl.
QOTD: Have you surfed? I’ve tried it a couple of times. I’m no good, but it’s fun!
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