Novella Review – Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole

I was so excited when I realized that Alyssa Cole wrote a couple novellas in the Reluctant Royals series. I have grown to LOVE this series so much, and I’m just pumped that my first reviews back are the rest of this series. So good.

Remember how Likotsi was sort of seeing someone during A Princess in Theory, but they broke up with her and she was super sad? That was Fabiola, a super cute and bubbly femme girl that Likotsi met in New York while Thabiso was working on wooing Naledi. In Once Ghosted, Twice Shy, we flash forward, and Likotsi is back in New York. Fabiola sees her and figures out how to AirDrop her a picture while they’re on the train. Likotsi is wary, distrustful, unsure of why Fab is reaching out again. But maybe it’s because their short relationship affected her as much as it affected Likotsi?

3 Things I Loved

  1. Likotsi. Likotsi is uber organized and fully herself at all times, and she so deserves love. I was so happy we got this little glimpse into her dating life.
  2. Fabiola. What a fun character! And perfect for Likotsi – so opposite her in many ways, but they fit together and had so much fun. Fab softened Likotsi’s edges.
  3. New York. Their tour of New York was fun to see through the eyes of Likotsi, who was only visiting. It made me want to go back and experience so many more things!

Dislikes/Problematic Content

This was own voices, and much like Cole’s other books in the series, it was unapologetically black. And so good. Cole’s writing brings everything to life. And the gay/bi rep was flawless. (I want to note – I don’t think Fab ever uses the word “bi” to describe herself, but she discusses dating both men and women. She is perhaps pan or identifies in another way.) I didn’t see anything problematic. The book alluded to some potentially triggering content – Fab’s aunt was stuck in an ICE detention facility, and Fab was basically raising her cousin. And Likotsi is able to help – because that’s what privilege can afford. It was wonderful in the story, but it got me wondering about the people who aren’t afforded such a luxury.


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!

This was short, sweet, and fun. I’m giving Once Ghosted, Twice Shy a BLUE rating. You’ll love it, especially if you’re already invested in the Reluctant Royals series.

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