Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute: A Fun, Cute, and Modern Story

Bradley Graeme is pretty much perfect. He's a star football player, manages his OCD well (enough), and comes out on top in all his classes . . . except the ones he shares with his ex-best friend, Celine.

Celine Bangura is conspiracy-theory-obsessed. Social media followers eat up her takes on everything from UFOs to holiday overconsumption--yet, she's still not cool enough for the popular kids' table. Which is why Brad abandoned her for the in-crowd years ago. (At least, that's how Celine sees it.)

These days, there's nothing between them other than petty insults and academic rivalry. So when Celine signs up for a survival course in the woods, she's surprised to find Brad right beside her.

Forced to work as a team for the chance to win a grand prize, these two teens must trudge through not just mud and dirt but their messy past. And as this adventure brings them closer together, they begin to remember the good bits of their history. But has too much time passed . . . or just enough to spark a whole new kind of relationship?”

"Forced to work as a team for the chance to win a grand prize, these two teens must trudge through not just mud and dirt but their messy past."

HIghly Suspicous and unfairly cute

Earlier this year the long awaiting new Young Adult book, Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert was released. Originally released on January 3rd, 2023 this book took BookTok by storm due to its cute vibes, forced proximity, and friends to enemies to lovers trope. These tropes alongside Hibbert’s interesting writing style, which featured UK slang and fun banter, earned the book a great reputation across different social platforms.

Author Talia Hibbert.

Upon the release of this book I actually had trouble finding it anywhere. I wanted to read it as soon as it was released but ended up waiting until it was ready at my local library. And I am sure glad that I did, the book itself was worth the wait.

Right around the average length of most books, Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute is a fair size, and is incredibly fast-paced. The reader was thrown right into the thick of the plot quite early on, allowing the reader to be fully immersed in the characters and their Wilderness Expedition.

Celine Bangura, one of our protagonists, is a 17-year-old High School senior with the determination to succeed and study Law at Cambridge. Along with her determination to succeed, Bangura is TikTok famous for her fun and quirky conspiracy theory videos. 

On the other hand our other protagonist is 17-year-old Bradley Graeme, a popular football (soccer) player, at their High School. Graeme suffers from OCD and just like Bangura wants to become a Lawyer. 

The official Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute book cover.

From the very beginning Bangura and Graeme are introduced as academic rivals with a murky past. Throughout the development of the story, we learn more about their past and how they were once best friends. Eventually, their past is revealed, ultimately helping to shape new growth in their relationship.

Though I loved the concept of the book, I did find it hard to get through at times. Mainly because of how childish I found the protagonist Bangura to be. Her insults and anger were most of the time, unprovoked and unnecessary, however, I did also find her frustration to be relatable and at times kind of funny to read. Graeme, I found, was a nice character, with a lot of depth which was interesting to read about. 

Ultimately, Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute was an interesting read that kept me excited and curious as Bangura and Graeme’s relationship continued to develop.

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