ARC Review – Parental Guidance by Avery Flynn

Hello, hello! So, a quick anecdote. About a year ago, I got an ARC from Entangled of the book Butterface, by Avery Flynn. I read it. I loved it. I never got around to writing the review about it! I’m the worst! I have since purchased the whole Hartigan series and plan to reread Butterface, along with the two sequels, and review them eventually! Because Avery Flynn is GOOD. I’m so thrilled that I was granted access to this new Avery Flynn book, the first in a new series! Are you ready for this? Because it’s so much fun.

In Parental Guidance, Zara Ambrose is a miniatures artist struggling to make ends meet whose dad has always tried to get rich quick. His newest scheme? Trying to get his SAG card by putting his daughter on a dating show where the parents set everything up for their children. Zara doesn’t have time for love – she’s trying to break into the big time with her miniatures, and love didn’t work out so well for her parents anyway. But she makes a deal with her so-called date – none of this is real, so it won’t affect her life after their five-date minimum… right?

Caleb Stuckey messed up big time – and now he’s on thin ice. He was caught on video with some of his Ice Knights teammates calling the women of their pasts “puck bunnies,” and he didn’t do anything to stop them. His punishment? Going on a dating show where his mom picks out his dates. GREAT. He’s not thrilled. But then he meets Zara, and he realizes that there might be more to this whole dating thing than he realized… because Zara is pretty great. But falling for her wasn’t exactly part of the plan…

parental guidance

3 Things I Loved

  1. The setting. Harbor City is obviously a riff on New York City, possibly combined with Boston, but I loved how the author was able to take this fictional place and make it so real. And the Ice Knights? Ugh, love it. She was definitely able to make them feel like a hometown sports team.
  2. The writing. Avery Flynn is excellent at writing awkward romantic comedy. And I really, truly love it. A LOT. I have so much fun reading her books, and they always make me want more.
  3. Zara and Caleb. These two were so fun. Zara’s the control freak, Caleb is the goof, but they’re both in love with their careers and they both respect each other. They’re so real. I just loved them.

Dislikes/Problematic Content

I didn’t see anything overtly problematic in this book, which is always a bonus. However, the lack of diversity was disappointing. I loved Zara and Caleb, don’t get me wrong, and I loved their story. But the whole thing was very white and very heteronormative. Like… give me some diverse side characters, at least? Try to make this look like real life? That’s my one big complaint with Parental Guidance.

As a smaller point… tech peeps out there – don’t design and attempt to market a dating app where your PARENTS make the decisions for you. That’s super enabling to people (millennials) who have trouble acting like adults on their own the way it is. DON’T ENCOURAGE THAT BEHAVIOR! I found Bramble to be unrealistic, to say the least. It made for an entertaining book, though.


A reminder of the rating scale:

  • Red = DNF, I hated everything
  • Orange = Ugh, no thank you
  • Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
  • Green = This was good! 
  • Blue = Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
  • Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart and EVERYONE should be reading it!

Avery Flynn’s newest was everything I hoped it would be – a big dose of playful fun with a dash of great danes (YES, THERE’S A GREAT DANE IN THIS BOOK) and ice hockey. Not to mention a career-driven female lead who doesn’t need a man. LOVE IT. I’m giving Parental Guidance a GREEN rating. It’s super fun, but could be more diverse.

Thank you to Entangled Publishing and NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! If you like romantic comedies, sports romances, and snarky female characters, you’ll probably like this book!

Happy reading!

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