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“Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date” Should Be On Your “TBR” list

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 PSU chapter.

It’s unusual for me to read a series and not be able to say which book is my favorite. Usually, one stands out as the best one.

This isn’t the case with the “Bright Falls” series by Ashley Herring Blake.

I first read “Delilah Green Doesn’t Care” last year and fell in love with the book. When I learned about the sequel, I was as excited as I was scared— sometimes second books don’t live up to the hype of the first.

I was so glad when I read “Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail” and Herring Blake proved me wrong.

Now, after reading the third and final book of the series, “Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date,” I can say “Bright Falls” is probably one of my favorite book series I’ve read.

Herring Blake’s writing is captivating, inviting and easy to follow along. I picked up “Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date” and read over a hundred pages on the first day. Whenever I eventually had to put the book down, I was counting the minutes until I had some free time and could pick it up again.

So, what is it about this book that I couldn’t put it down?

“Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date” follows, you guessed it, Iris Kelly- the third and final member of the original “Bright Falls” trio. Kelly is romance author who is perpetually single and not interested in dating, romance and/or love.

However, Kelly gets desperate when the deadline for her second books is approaching and she is out of ideas. It also doesn’t help that everyone around her, from her siblings to her best friends, are all coupled up and in love.

On a night out, Kelly meets Stevie. They are quickly interested in each other and after a night of dancing, they head home together.

I won’t spoil what happens, but their interest-at-first-sight quickly turns into a nightmare one night stand.

Kelly thought— and hoped— that would be the end of their encounter. She is proven wrong when she decides to audition for a play and learns that Stevie would be playing her romantic interest.

Desperate to preserve the lie she told her friends about Stevie’s and Kelly’s first encounter, Stevie asks Kelly to be her fake girlfriend. The deal is: Kelly will pretend to be Stevie’s girlfriend in front of her friends, and Stevie will help Kelly with the romance part of her book.

As they play a couple both onstage and offstage, the lines of what is real and what is acting begin to blur and the two women question how much of it is fake.

You will have to read the book to learn how this ends. But what I will say is: it is as messy, funny and spicy as you’d imagine for a romance like this.

Something I love about Herring Blake’s writing is how she seamlessly brings heavy topics such as mental health into her books in a way that acknowledges the importance of the issue but doesn’t feel too heavy.

Stevie, one of the main characters in the book, struggles with general anxiety disorder. The topic is an important part of the book, and in more than one occasion it mentions how the disorder affects multiple parts of Stevie’s live, such as her romantic relationships and friendships.

This was something that I liked a lot about the first two books of the series, when Herring Blake brought up topics like grief and parental expectations in an approachable way that didn’t diminish the heaviness of those topics.

Though it helps to have read the first two books, “Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date” can also be read as a standalone.

If books with small-town romances, queer friend groups, diverse cast, found family vibes and some spicy are something you’re interested in, I certainly recommend adding this book— and the first two— to your “to be read” list.

“Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date” is out now and available to purchase. Check out Herring Blake’s website for more information about ordering it and where you can find her previous books.

Rafaela (she/her) is a senior at Penn State, majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Journalism and Sports Studies. She spends too much time listening to Taylor Swift and reading romance novels.