#Book Review – Falling for the Competition; J. Smith

Book review stop! Today I’m delighted to be the host for Falling for the Competition, a YA novel written by J. Smith.

First thing first, let me thank the author for providing me with an e-copy of this book. Much obliged *hat tip* 


It’s going to be the best summer ever for ambitious, overachieving Quinn. A huge history buff, not only has she landed her dream job interning in the archives department of the local castle, but her best friend will be working there too.

However, Quinn isn’t the only one to be working in Archives this summer; Quinn’s academic rival, Patrick, is sharing her office in Muniments. They’re competing for the Letter of Recommendation (singular) from the research historian that Quinn needs to get her dream future placement.

Their emotionally-loaded and competitive rivalry turns into a reluctant friendship, as they spend every day working together in silence (and sharing the occasional Twix). Until the Re-Enactors arrive. Between Patrick and Harry – the Golden Knight of the jousting team – Quinn’s carefully planned summer is thrown into complete disarray. Meanwhile, her best friend’s relationship may look perfect on the outside, but Quinn is starting to realise that there’s more going on than there seems.

Although Quinn is determined and single minded about planning every detail of her sparkling future, she comes to discover that the best things in life are the spontaneous ones – and that some people are more important than any Letter of Recommendation (singular) could ever be. 

295 pages
YA, romance
Publication date: 06/12/21
Purchase links



Cover: Really cute. It fits the genre and the theme both. Plus, I like the color palette.

Lights and shadows for Falling for the Competition, a cute YA romance with Quinn, a history buff, as the main character. 

Lights first, because the story itself is heartwarming and funny, with a relatable MC. I don’t delve often into YA books since I don’t fit anymore in the target audience; Falling for the Competition has been one of the few exceptions I made to that rule and for one reason, which is the character arc. Smith has been able to craft a captivating one for Quinn: the growth is plain, and the reluctant-at-first relationship with Patrick reads sweet. Patrick himself feels a little more complicated than Quinn, but that adds depth to their bond. 

The chosen POV, first limited, doesn’t really help with the flow, instead. Sometimes it reads a bit stilted—it’s the POV itself that has the intrinsic tendency to do so, I know, but still—due to the ‘I did this, I did that, I also did this’ structure.

The cast is medium-sized, a detail I never fail to appreciate. Here it’s also paired with well-crafted characters, each of them with a unique voice; my favorite is Frankie, since she fits the supporting role to a T. Well done!

At the beginning of this review, I also mentioned shadows, though. Well, the issue I have with Falling for the Competition has to do with the practical execution. There are grammar, syntax, and stylistic mistakes scattered all over the place, and it’s a real shame because they cheapen an otherwise pretty good book. A professional editor would have fixed them up in 1-2-3. Damn 😦 

3 stars on GR.


Jen lives in the Midlands with her husband and two children. With a Masters Degree in Medieval History, Jen loves castles and King John a little too much. Strangely un-British, she does not like tea, oranges or marzipan, but adores French cheese, guava juice and Chinese food (not together).

When not writing, Jen can often be found pointing out historical inaccuracies in period dramas, being a Lady that Lunches with close friends and playing board games with her family. Note: her handbags are always heavy due to multiple books (just in case she needs them).

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