Book Review: The Gossip and the Grump by Pippa Grant

I really wanted to like “The Gossip and the Grump” by Pippa Grant, especially after enjoying the first book in the series. Unfortunately, this one left me feeling rather underwhelmed.

The premise of a one-night stand and vacation fling between the main characters, Grey and Sabrina, seemed promising. Initially, their chemistry was great, with fun and witty banter that made for an engaging start. However, the excitement fizzled out quickly. The one-night stand fades to black, which is fair—authors often make that choice—but it takes until almost 54% of the book for them to share a kiss, and 89% before they finally come together. In a romance novel, especially one involving virtual strangers, you need to give readers something to hold onto. I found myself increasingly bored and disconnected from the story.

The storyline, centered around Grey’s juvenile revenge plan against a college nemesis, felt tired and uninteresting. Although the reason for the revenge was valid, the execution came off as childish. The concept of gossip for good also didn’t resonate with me, adding to the sense that something was off throughout the book. The cover was misleading as well, not matching the research-focused, beanie-wearing Grey.

Sabrina’s character left me confused; I couldn’t decide if I liked or disliked her. The town’s drama, involving who slept with whom and complicated family trees, was overwhelming. I needed a diagram to keep track of it all.

The bright spot in the entire book was the inclusion of a non-binary character, Zen. I adored Zen’s storyline and found myself more invested in them than the main characters. I truly hope Zen gets their own story and a well-deserved HEA. Zen is the sole reason I’m giving this book 2 stars.

Audiobook Performance:

The audiobook, performed by Jason Clarke and Callie Dalton, had its highs and lows. Callie Dalton was amazing. Her cadence and elegance brought emotion and character to Sabrina, adding a depth that wasn’t as evident in the text. She significantly enhanced the story.

On the other hand, Jason Clarke fell flat. He’s not suited for rom-com narration, lacking the ability to deliver jokes or punch lines effectively. His narration made it hard to distinguish between sarcasm and wit. This is the second book I’ve tried with him as the male main character, and it was equally disappointing.

Overall, between a subpar storyline and so-so narration, I found myself super bored and disappointed with “The Gossip and the Grump.”

Book Stats:
Rating 2/5 (DNF At 89%)
Series: 3 BFFs and a Wedding
Tropes: Small town, found family, Opposites attract, Billionaire, Floof
Pop: 89%
3rd act break up- No
Audio narrators: Callie Dalton, Jason Clarke

Other Review in the series:
The Worst Wedding Date – Book 1