Review: The Decoy Girlfriend

Thank you to TBR & Beyond Tours for the review copy! Check out the full tour here!

About the Book:

A laugh-out-loud funny and whip-smart romantic comedy from the author of The Shaadi Set-Up, about a young woman who takes the place of her celebrity doppelgänger, and must fake-date the actress’s sexy costar boyfriend.

Writer Freya Lal has a huge secret: she’s a dead ringer for It-girl actress Mandi Roy. Her second novel is due in a month, but inspiration is nowhere to be found. Desperate to shake off her writer’s block, Freya leans into her look-alike abilities and indulges in some mistaken identity for simple perks, like scoring a free mimosa or getting into a trendy nightclub.

Actor Taft Bamber appears to have it all: gorgeous, talented, and Mandi’s love interest both on- and off-screen. But what nobody knows is that their relationship is a PR stunt, and after years of playing make-believe, he’s yearning for something real.

When Freya’s latest impersonation of Mandi goes viral thanks to Taft’s accidental interference, rumors of a breakup threaten Hollywood’s golden couple. To make amends, Freya is forced to give Mandi a little time off: she’ll pretend to be the actress for a month, move in with Taft, and squash the rumors by acting completely in love. But as Freya and Taft play house, it becomes impossible to ignore that their instant chemistry isn’t just for the cameras. While faking it, they might have just found the real thing. 

Content Warning: Please be aware that through the course of the novel, Freya recounts fond memories of her mother, who passed away before the book begins (off-page), and the ways in which that love is intertwined with her writing. Taft stands firm against toxic masculinity and learns to let go of toxic friendships. There is also explicit on-page sex between two consenting adults

Review & Favorite Quotes

Listen, your girl likes a spicy romance every now and then, and this one is both cute and sexy! I love both Freya and Taft and their mixed up lives. As I was reading, I found myself giggling at many of the bookish/writer-ish quotes, as well as the romance that was brimming on each page. Some of my favorites:

They made it through the query trenches together, sharing solidarity screenshots of agent form rejections, impersonal batch rejections, and this close passes so specifically brutal they made them want to quit their daydreams.

This one is all about the power of friendships and people sharing your dreams. As Freya trusts her writer friends more, she realizes how much they can offer her – if she trusts herself AND them.

Under the california penal code, are Freya’s crimes a felony or a misdemeanor?

Freya was playing wife fire and got caught – ish.

Should have swooned when I had the chance. What a missed opportunity.

Freya’s internal monologue is acerbic and hilarious, especially when it comes to Taft and her feelings for him!

You’re an author. Shouldn’t a library be, like, holy ground?

Librarian here. Enough said.

Who told you honesty should be brutal?

Taft says the thing I wanted to say – brutal honesty is just thinly veiled cruelty.

THE DECOY GIRLFRIEND is everything I wanted in a late summer book – fun, flirty, tender, hopeful, and a little bit funny!



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Lillie Vale is the author of books for both teens and adults, including The Decoy Girlfriend, Beauty and the Besharam, The Shaadi Set-Up and Small Town Hearts, an American Library Association’s 2020 Rainbow Books List selection. She writes about secrets and yearning, complicated and ambitious girls who know what they want, the places we call home and people we find our way back to, and the magic we make. Born in Mumbai, she grew up in Mississippi, Texas, and North Dakota, and now lives in an Indiana college town.

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