Review: The Best Thing by Mariana Zapata

“You did something and you could regret it, or you could not do something and regret it. You never knew which way it would go. Everything in life is a gamble.”

The Best Thing: Another Mariana Zapata beauty. You know what you’re getting when you crack open one of her books: richly developed characters (and not just the main characters), compelling plots, and sloooooowww burns.

The cover blurb gives us almost nothing, so I started reading a Goodreads review for a better idea. Luckily, the first one warned the reader NOT to read too many reviews and just let the story happen. So—thankfully—I did, and it was well worth it! Feel free to stop reading this now and just grab the book!

It starts off a little confusing, by design, but doesn’t take long to figure out what’s going on. We hate Jonah. We’re not sure what to think about Lenny (short for Elena) but we’re definitely on her side. We love Peter and Grandpa Gus. And of course the adorable Mo.

Lenny was a world-class and near-Olympic judo champion who now manages her family’s gym and training center. She thought she and Jonah had something special until he ghosted her. But not until leaving her with a parting gift nine months later…and now he’s back. And supposedly not going anywhere this time. She really, really doesn’t want to deal with him, but she’s also not going to ban him from their daughter’s life. So what’s left but to navigate their lives together and figure things out?

I didn’t mind the slow burn in The Best Thing—for some readers I’m sure it was too long, too many conversations, maybe too many side issues. In fact, not only didn’t I mind it, but it makes the story so much richer. Other than the ghosting (and yes, that’s a big “other than”), Jonah is a freaking dream guy. So loving, caring, and sensitive, yet a tough, burly rugby player at the same time. Knows he made a mistake and is in it for the ling haul to fix it. Lenny’s tough as they come and no wilting flower, but boy does she have soft spots for the people she loves, and she’d do anything for them.

The Best Thing also gives us more than just a main character romance; you see into the other characters and their lives and loves. Everyone has their flaws and their redeeming qualities, and they all feel like real people. Honestly, I almost could have read this book just for Grandpa Gus (is there a Mariana Zapata story from his point of view? I’d read it).

Rating: 4
Steam: Very Low
Themes and Tropes: Second Chance, Family, Child in Plot/Pregnancy, Sports/Athletes
Pair With: Championship Bottle Wine

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