Review: America’s Favorite Couple by Renee Darcy

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☆☆➹⁀☆3 stars☆➹⁀☆

What it’s about:

Casey Kelly is the single mother of a wonderful nine-year-old boy – Nicholas. She’s a successful executive in a PR firm, she has a great relationship with her family – only one thing is missing from her life: love.

For nearly a decade, Casey has pined over “the one that got away.” She decides to take a chance and join a reality TV show where fifteen men and fifteen women – some of them single parents – gather together in a mansion to look for love.

To Casey’s surprise, “the one that got away” turns up as another participant on the show. To raise the stakes, the show’s producers bring back another old flame – and the potential father of her child. Then there’s the fact that Casey finds herself very attracted to one of the single dads.

Will Casey find love on a reality TV show? Will the producers let her relationships play out naturally – or will their manipulation cost Casey her one chance at true love? And will she and a handsome suitor be voted America’s Favorite Couple?

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My Thoughts:

I officially declare 2017 to be the year of the “Reality TV Romance”. Renee Darcy’s America’s Favorite Couple is the third reality television based romance that I have read this summer. Each of those books had a different twist, and Ms. Darcy’s was an interesting one.

In America’s Favorite Couple, the contestants must be single, but there is no rule against having children. Therefore, the dating possibilities are exponentially more complicated. There are one-on-one dates, two-on-one dates, dates with children, and adult-only dates. Add into the fray an ex-boyfriend and a one-night stand, either of whom could be the father of one contestant’s child, and you have one convoluted and confusing game show.

I wish I could say that I liked the main character, Casey Kelly, but the only thing I found redeemable was her devotion to her son, Niko. Her relationships before and during the show are mess, and she came off as an opportunistic player to me. She casts her net wide during the filming of the show in hopes of landing a relationship, and all the while she fills her son’s head with thoughts of a happy reunion with his daddy.

The three men vying for Casey’s affection all have their pros and cons, but Neil was my hands-down favorite. I won’t go into these characters further as I don’t want to give too much of the plot away.

The producers’ manipulations of “reality” are, naturally, reprehensible. Reading Ms. Darcy’s book only gave me one more reason to despise reality television programs. I felt the depiction of the behind-the-scenes manipulations was relatively mild in America’s Favorite Couple. I do have to say that the one saving grace to the motley cast of characters is Casey’s handler, Vincent. He seemed to be the most “real” person in the group.

America’s Favorite Couple was not my favorite reality television based romance of the summer due to the story premise. It is worth a read due to Ms. Darcy’s writing and character development—especially for fans of reality television programs.

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