One daring to-do list and a crash course in flirtation turn a Type A overachiever's world upside down. When her flailing department lands on the university's chopping block, Professor Naya Turner's friends convince her to shed her frumpy cardigan for an evening on the town. When she meets a charming stranger in town on business, he presents the perfect opportunity to check off the items on her list.
... spectacularly rendered ... Naya is very much the heroine of her own story, but Williams’ careful handling of trauma and defense mechanisms adds some complex layers to this already inspiring and well-developed character ... Emotional abuse can be hard to quantify, but without showing it to us in a voyeuristic way, she is able to perfectly tabulate its effects on Naya and her relationships ... As Naya’s romance with Jake develops, readers are treated to scenes that are as funny as they are emotional, as sexy as they are sensual ... What makes How to Fail at Flirting so successful is not only the swoony, steamy romance, but seeing how Naya learns to fall in love with herself and demand to be treated the way she deserves. This is a cathartic, knockout hit that will remind readers everywhere that consent, autonomy and equality are some of the sexiest parts of any romance, and that gouda cheese puns are always useful in queso emergency.
Naya’s painfully realistic and palatable fear over her ex and the damage he still manages to inflict on her rings throughout her first-person narration in this debut rom-com from Williams featuring two fully realized, emotionally mature characters who support and respect each other. Jake does not cause Naya’s personal growth but rather reminds her of joy in a life with the volume turned up, inspiring her to take necessary steps on her own ... With a deeper emotional punch than expected, Williams’s banter-filled romance makes her an author to watch.