Review: Built to Last – Erin Hahn

Review: Built to Last – Erin HahnBuilt to Last
by Erin Hahn
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: October 18, 2022
Genres: Romance
Pages: 336
Source: NetGalley

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

My rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Shelby Springfield has spent the last ten years trying to overcome her past, sanding it away like she does the rough spots on the vintage furniture finds she makes over. But as a former child star, it’s hard to forget a mediocre pop career, a meltdown widely documented by the paparazzi, and a huge public break with her former co-star Lyle Jessup. It’s also hard to forget her other co-star and childhood sweetheart, Cameron Riggs -- the one who got away.

Anytime Shelby has called, Cameron has come running… And then he runs right off again to chase stories around the world by making documentaries, too scared to admit what he really wants. But when Lyle stirs the pot, getting the two back in the spotlight with a home renovation show, Cameron can't help but come on board.

There's something in it for everyone -- almost. Cameron wants to come home and set down some roots. Shelby wants to prove to the world she's not the messy party girl anymore. And Lyle wants to twist the screws on his two childhood friends who had more chemistry than he could dream of with anyone. Sparks and sawdust fly as Shelby and Cameron film the pilot for "Homemade" and battle Lyle’s shenanigans at every turn.

Erin Hahn’s sparkling rom com debut, Built to Last, is a second chance romance sure to have readers falling in love fast.

Two childhood sweethearts find a second chance at love in this adult romance debut from a critically acclaimed young adult author.

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4 stars icon contemporary icon m/f romance icon Second Chance

I’ve read this author’s young adult books before, so when I saw she was coming out with a second-chance adult rom-com? I had to check it out! And wow, I’m so glad I did! It’s sweet and hilarious and has the perfect amount of pining.

“Obviously, costarring with my first girlfriend on a reality home-renovation show is not what I had in mind.”

Shelby, Cameron and Lyle were all child stars together on a tween show. While the romance on the show was purportedly between Shelby and Lyle, Cameron was always the one she was interested in, even if she did have a well-publicized romance (and breakup) with Lyle. Ten years later, she’s content restoring vintage furniture in small town Michigan with her dad, far away from the cameras. Cameron, on the other hand, switched being in front of the camera to being behind it. Working for National Geographic means he’s constantly on the move which has grown tiring. When he accepts an interview to talk about a TV pilot, he’s surprised to see it’s being produced by Lyle – and will star him and Shelby as they renovate an old house. Shelby’s dad needs the money, though, and Cameron will do anything to help Shelby. Between learning a whole new set of skills and some unexpected roadblocks, can Shelby and Cameron refurbish their own relationship?

“I told you. He’s in denial.”
“It was ten years ago. And a kid’s show. Not real life.”
“And now?”
“And now we’re on a reality show. Even less real than the scripted kind.”

I cannot overemphasize how sweet Shelby and Cameron are together. It’s the sort of situation where they had something as kids, before Cameron suddenly took off for college. But when Shelby was at her lowest (thanks to Lyle cheating on her with her best friend and writing a Grammy-winning song about it) she calls him, and Cameron doesn’t hesitate to hop on the first plane to come back to LA for her and tell her some hard truths. It’s clear that both of them are deeply in love with the other but convinced that their past mistakes have ruined any chances at a relationship. There’s a ton of top-notch pining and yearning and angst before they, oh, communicate and start to figure things out.

“I had you first, and I’ll have you last.”
“You’ll have me forever.”
“It’s only fair. I’ve been yours since the moment I saw you.”

Cameron is ridiculously kind and caring, an absolutely sweet golden retriever of a man. He’s practically perfect except for one thing: he runs from his problems. Tired of LA and child star life? Leave suddenly for college. Not sure how to reconnect with his family who stayed in Michigan? Avoid coming home and blame it on his job. For Shelby, she feels like her past mistakes will always haunt her. It’s easier to hide out in small town Michigan than to deal with that perception of her, to show everyone that she’s changed. But the show forces both of them to deal with their issues, as Shelby’s in front of the camera again and Cameron’s forced to stay in one place. The sweetest part? Watching them support each other. They don’t rush in to save the other person but instead give them the space and encouragement they need to deal with their problems themselves. Serious relationship goals!

Besides the core relationship, there’s plenty more to love. There’s plenty of humor to go with the pining and I highlighted so many favorite passages. The secondary characters are lovely, too, especially Shelby and Cameron’s best friends, but my favorite was Shelby’s dad. Not only does he take Cameron under his wing in learning house restoration, but he’s a source of encouragement and advice that Cameron’s lacked for a long time.

Overall, this is practically peak second chance romance vibes and easily a 4.5 star read! There’s some good hints towards where this series will go next and I can’t wait to see what happens with Shelby’s friend!

Content notes: View Spoiler »

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