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Amy Lea’s “Woke Up This” is a Book Written for Rom-com Lovers

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at NYU chapter.

As an early 2000s baby, fangirling over romcoms is in my DNA. I grew up watching classic movies such as “You’ve Got Mail” and “Pretty Woman.” Once I discovered books also have rom-com tropes, my world was forever changed. I’d read almost anything with romance and rank the best book boyfriends, romance arcs, etc. One of the best parts of writing my Author Spotlight series for Her Campus is the number of free romance books I get from publicists, PR firms and authors. Recently, I was set to interview Amy Lea, author of “Woke Up Like This,” for the blog series, but after I binge-read her book in a day, I emailed my point of contact and asked if I could write a book review instead. I had to write about how good this book is! As I mentioned before, 2000s rom coms are a passion of mine, and this book only enhanced that feeling. 

“Woke Up Like This” follows ultra-organized high school senior Charlotte Wu and her determination to plan the perfect senior prom. Her plans go awry when she falls off a ladder while decorating and crashes face-first into J. T. Renner, her arch-nemesis who ditched her on homecoming their freshman year. Charlotte wakes up from her fall to find that she’s now thirty years old, in an unfamiliar bed, with her very handsome fiancé—who happens to be Renner—by her side. Both confused, Charlotte and Renner only have each other as allies to figure out how to get back to age seventeen. As they navigate this strange new normal, they learn about all that has transpired in family, friendships, careers and romance during the years they’ve missed. But what will they do with their knowledge of their future when they get back to their past? 

Lea does an incredible job at capturing high school nostalgia in a book that’s all about navigating life through a teenage lens. As someone who never finished high school the “normal way” thanks to COVID, I am always mixed about reading high school romance books. “Woke Up Like This” had me replaying some great high school memories of mine despite me not fully getting the experience such as prom or graduation. It was so wholesome to read how Charlotte and Renner navigated adulthood while secretly being teens together tackling their internal struggles with the external obstacle of being projected into the future. Their budding romance is one built off of helping each other through hardships and wanting to see the other to grow. Sometimes books often gloss over what’s healthy in a relationship for the sake of consumers swooning over the broody types. Don’t get me wrong, I admit to being one of those readers but for “Woke Up Like This,” Lea did such a beautiful job at conveying the healthy side of Charlotte and Renner’s relationship by extending who they are beyond high school and focusing on their familial internal struggles. Being as they were the only ones who understood being trapped in a thirty year old body, they pushed back their teenage angst and focused on the moments in their future that actually mattered like when their families are not the same as when they were teenagers. 

As someone who is reading a new book every week, it’s hard for me to fully immerse myself in a book because my brain is still processing the previous book. Amy Lea’s “Woke Up Like This,” however, was a memorable read with unforgettably adorable scenes that include references to things that romcom lovers will recognize, such as “Dirty Dancing” and the trending romcom queen herself: Jenny Han.  

One note I will make about “Woke Up Like This” is while it is a well-paced binge read, it is one written solely for the feels. The overall plot of the novel is having Charlotte and Renner make it back to seventeen. The author uses this plot point to dive into their relationship, along with other relationships such as friendships. Unlike other books whose plot focuses on more intricate details like discovering hidden powers or a new treasure, “Woke Up Like This” deals more with the internal struggles of defining both romantic, familial and friend relationships. Having said that, I wouldn’t recommend the book to readers who enjoy more plot heavy stories. 

Amy Lea’s “Woke Up Like This” is perfect for fans of “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” and “13 Going on 30,” as it is a relatable story that will remind everyone about the nostalgia of what being a teenager in love feels like. Her book is an amazing way to escape the ongoing struggles of academic stress and growing up.

Sabrina Blandon is an English major at NYU with a minor in creative writing. Avid reader herself and literary advocate, she has interviewed over 60 authors from New York Times bestselling ones to debut authors for Her Author Spotlight blog series for Her Campus NYU and Her Campus Hofstra. She loves exploring everything New York City has to offer and is a major foodie.