A Review of Ready or Not by Cara Bastone

Reviewed by Peyton Caballero

Ready or Not
by Cara Bastone
Headline Eternal (Hatchette)
May 2024, Paperback, 384 pages, ISBN-13: 978-1035401123

For many, the New York romance has been dearly loved since its popular uprise in romantic comedies such as When Harry Met Sally, How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Maid in Manhattan, Serendipity, and so much more. From her corner in Brooklyn, Cara Bastone is able to highlight a new take on a New York romance in her new novel, Ready or Not, featuring the twists and turns of a surprise pregnancy, friendship struggles, and the bustling life of a career. Following the releases of her Forever Yours novels, Bastone is able to write a new romance that is lighthearted but unafraid of showing the deep struggles of navigating pregnancy and life.

Eve Hatch has been one to just go with the flow and rely on what she has known. Her bustling New York life was reliable, as she has an apartment that she loves, her best friend Willa beside her, and a job that surrounds what she is passionate about. But all of it comes into question when she realizes she is pregnant. Suddenly, everything is changing. Her body, her feelings, there are tensions with Willa, as well as the new unknown on how to interact with the baby’s father. In the midst of all of this chaos, Shep, Willa’s brother, ends up being a source of peace and comfort in this changing season.

As Bastone takes readers through each trimester of Eve’s pregnancy, she is able to highlight some of the major struggles of being pregnant, especially when it is unplanned. Being a mother herself, Bastone has been able to use her own experiences to express the difficulties of pregnancy and even the tensions that happen with relationships when such a life changing event happens.

With her insights on pregnancy, Bastone is able to bring this novel to not only readers who haven’t yet been pregnant and wonder what it’s like but also to those who have experienced pregnancy or are currently pregnant to relate to her struggles and even reflect on their own lives and how things changed in this season. Bastone is able to bring the reminder of evaluating what’s important in one’s life when circumstances are hard, especially the relationships in life that may break or thrive in this changing season.

While approaching the struggles of pregnancy, Bastone is still able to keep the novel lighthearted as she brings out the character’s personalities, from Willa’s fiery personality, Shep’s awkward but caring actions, down to even the personality of Eve’s baby daddy’s dog. With Bastone’s writing, the novel is a breeze as you dig in for more and learn about Eve and the people surrounding her in such a life changing time.

Despite the many moving parts that happen within this novel, Bastone is constantly able to bring the story back to moments between Eve and Shep, who are able to rekindle their friendship and even give Eve the idea of possibly more. This friendship-to-romance and slow burn of a book will keep you on your toes as you wonder how Eve is going to handle navigating her newfound feelings for Shep, the confusion of pregnancy, and the changes that she is going to have to make in her life. Even when those changes can affect the one person who she loves deeply, Willa, who has become distant since Eve announced her pregnancy.

Ready or Not is a book full of twists and turns but also a lighthearted story that can bring many romance readers into the world that is Eve easily. While many may struggle or complain about a pregnancy trope, I can safely say that Bastone is one that can change minds, especially with the way that she keeps up with the New York romance genre and the bustling life that it represents. In this novel, pregnancy isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning.

About the reviewer: Peyton Caballero is currently a senior at George Fox University studying Theology and minoring in Writing. She publishes the blog, Broken and Blessed.