56 pages 1 hour read

Christina Lauren

The Unhoneymooners

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2019

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Summary and Study Guide


The Unhoneymooners is a 2019 romance novel by Lauren Billings and Christina Hobbs, writing under the pen name Christina Lauren. The duo has received significant recognition and acclaim for their work, including Amazon and Audible romance of the year. They have won both the Seal of Excellence and Book of the Year from RT Magazine and been inducted into the Library Reads Hall of Fame. Their notable books for adults include Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating and the Beautiful series, including Beautiful Bastard and its sequels.

Plot Summary

The work centers around the romantic life and misadventures of Olive Torres as she prepares for the wedding of her identical twin sister Ami. During the festivities, Olive is forced to spend time with the groom’s brother, Ethan Thomas. Ami is an optimist noted for her ability to win contests and compete for prizes, but Olive sees herself as a pessimist with perpetual bad luck ever since a childhood mishap with an arcade game resulted in a local media incident.

Olive is not especially fond of her brother-in-law, Dane, and she dreads encountering Ethan, who she considers judgmental, especially of her body and behavior. Olive and Ethan trade barbs during the wedding, especially about her bright green dress, but are soon focused on other matters. They are the only members of the wedding who are spared from a food borne illness, and Ami urges them to take her nonrefundable honeymoon trip. Olive and Ethan reluctantly agree, hoping to avoid one another the entire time.

Olive and Ethan arrive at the resort and discover there is only one bed. The tension between them ratchets up when they must pretend to be a couple in public: Olive runs into her future boss and tells him she is on her honeymoon, begging Ethan to attend dinner with her. Soon after, Ethan runs into his ex-girlfriend, Sophie, and her new fiancé, and he keeps up the ruse on his own account. Olive and Ethan find they enjoy the outdoor excursion together, bonding over a near-naked collision in a tiny boat bathroom. The next day they decide to play paintball together. Olive learns more about Ethan’s ex-girlfriend. Olive struggles with her increasing attraction to Ethan as they relax more together and the tension between them lessens. After a pleasant day of sightseeing, Ethan gets drunk and admits to Olive he has never held any genuine animosity toward her. In fact, he was interested in her when they first met and Dane persuaded him she was too negative to be worth pursuing. He kisses her.

The next day, Olive confronts Ethan about these revelations, and she learns that Dane was seeing other people while he and Ami were a couple. Olive believes this was infidelity, not consensual non-monogamy, and Ethan persuades her she cannot confront Ami about this until they return. Olive pushes Ethan to admit to the chemistry between them. They kiss and begin a romantic relationship, though they have some miscommunications about Ethan’s ex. Olive decides to let Dane’s past remain his business.

Olive and Ethan have a blissful few weeks on their return to Minneapolis, until Olive starts work at her new job. She is fired after confessing to not being married, as her new boss has moralistic standards. Olive goes out for drinks with Ethan and Dane, and Dane makes a pass at Olive when Ethan is in the bathroom. Ethan and Ami don’t believe her. Ethan says that her refusal to accept his brother means they must break up. Olive relies on her family’s support, taking a waitressing job in her cousin’s restaurant and realizing she deserves a career that fulfills her. Ami confides in Olive she may have been right about Dane. With Olive’s support, Ami exposes his infidelity by posing as Dane and inviting all his other partners to their home. She ensures that Ethan witnesses this, and he is crushed that he didn’t trust Olive initially.

Olive, now living with Ami, has ignored Ethan’s calls and texts. One evening, her former boss turns out to be a customer in her section of tables. Just as she declines to serve him, she finds Ethan waiting for her. He is dressed in a Hawaiian shirt with other mementos of their vacation. He apologizes for not trusting her, and Olive realizes her entire family is in the restaurant watching their reunion. She accepts Ethan’s apology, and they kiss.

In the epilogue, Ethan, Olive, Ami, and Ami’s new partner return to Hawaii. Ethan is planning to propose, and when he loses his nerve, Olive does so instead. He gives her an ornate ring and they celebrate their future together.