Thanks, Carissa, For Ruining My Life by Dallas Woodburn
Out now from Immortal Works; 346 pages
Content Warning: Bullying, fatphobia, illness
About the Author: “My name is Dallas, like the city in Texas (although, fun fact, I was not named after the city–I was named after my Gramps, whose middle name is Dallas. But I did visit Dallas one time and the local diner gave me a free breakfast when I showed them my driver’s license.) I’m an author, editor, book coach, and podcaster. My life’s work is not only to share my stories, but also to help others tell the stories that matter most to them and embrace their best lives” (Bio taken from author’s website).
Find Dallas Woodburn on the following platforms:
Told from dual perspectives, Thanks, Carissa, For Ruining My Life follows Rose and Brad as the person who ruined their lives brings them together. Carissa Hayward is Brad’s girlfriend and Rose’s twin sister. At the beginning of her senior year, she breaks things off with Brad and nominates Rose for a weight-loss reality TV show. Against her wishes, Rose is shipped off to Texas for the first half of her senior year. On the other hand, Brad is hung up on trying to win Carissa back. He creates a self-improvement plan, but as he starts seeing physical changes, he notices mental ones as well. Surprisingly there’s only one girl on his mind: and it’s not Carissa. It’s her twin sister, Rose.
This novel was filled with drama. Every page contains a scene that involves miscommunication, romance, or some kind of tension. As a reader, I would have personally enjoyed a bit more focus on the reality TV show aspect of the novel because of how much it impacted Rose’s life — she makes new friends, gains confidence, and she has to grapple with people from home treating her better because of her weight loss. While we get to see a glimpse of her anger at the trainers for how fatphobic they are towards the contestants and we also get to see some of her anger at Carissa for treating her so poorly her whole life just because of her weight, I wanted to see even more of these discussions in the novel.
However, if you’re a reader interested in a friends-to-lovers romance that is fast-paced and stuffed with action, this will be a perfect read for you. Brad and Rose each have distinct, fun personalities that jump off the page. Plus, they have great chemistry. While there isn’t too much content of them together in the book because Rose is two states away filming the reality TV show, that means there’s a lot of pining throughout the novel, which makes the romantic ending just that much more satisfying.
(Pine Reads Review would like to thank author Dallas Woodburn for providing us with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.)
PRR Assistant Director, Emma Watts