How to Plot a Payback by Melissa Ferguson book review: a hilarious and heartfelt tale of revenge, unexpected love, and personal growth.

Tuesday 28 May 2024

How to Plot a Payback by Melissa Ferguson
Published: 2nd April 2024 by Thomas Nelson

Melissa Ferguson's How To Plot a Payback is a delightful rom-com that combines humour, heart, and just the right amount of drama. The story centres around Finn Masters who is ecstatic to secure his dream job as a writer for the hit sitcom Neighbors. His excitement, however, takes a nosedive when he learns that he will be working alongside Lavender Rhodes, the actress he has blamed for his troubles since their teenage years. Intent on getting his revenge, Finn devises several schemes to undermine Lavender. Yet, as his plans comically unravel, Finn starts to question his feelings and realises that Lavender is not who he thought she was. The narrative unfolds through a series of humorous misadventures and touching moments, ultimately leading to an unexpected romance. To sum it up, the book is a hilarious and heartfelt tale of revenge, unexpected love, and personal growth.

A few years ago I was lucky enough to receive an arc of Melissa Ferguson's Meet Me in the Margins, which I fell in love with, so when I saw she was releasing a new book, I knew I had to get my hands on it and I'm glad I did because it was just the dose of romance and joy that I needed. Melissa's writing is not only strawberry sweet, it's also addictive and gripping. I found myself swooning at a lot of Finn's thoughts about Lavender and was really rooting for the duo as a couple but also individually.

One of the book's real strengths is how well the characters are developed. Finn is incredibly relatable; his grudges and insecurities make him both lovable and occasionally exasperating. Lavender starts off as the supposed villain but gradually reveals her own layers, showing her struggles and strengths. The chemistry between them is electric, keeping readers invested as they navigate the chaotic world of Hollywood and their evolving relationship. Their journey is full of ups and downs, making it a compelling read from start to finish and making their unexpected happy ever after even sweeter.

As I say, the dynamic between Finn and Lavender is great, filled with witty banter and comedic misadventures. Finn's attempts at revenge often backfire, leading to laugh-out-loud moments and surprising twists. I did find Finn's revenge plots a bit ridiculous and they sort of took away from the realism of the story at times but there was also a good balance of sincerity which toned things down.

Also, while the story is highly entertaining, some elements might feel a bit predictable, and the pacing can occasionally slow things down. However, these are minor quibbles in an otherwise charming and engaging read that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.

The side characters and jobs of the two leads add to the charm of the story. Set against the backdrop of Neighbors (I was picturing the Australian show but i don't know if that's truly the vibe haha) we get a look at the inner workings of a writers room, and meet a host of lovable and hateable characters, all of whom add to the story and world.

How To Plot a Payback is a fun, feel-good romantic comedy that will leave you smiling. It's perfect for fans of lighthearted, character-driven stories with a touch of Hollywood glamour. If you're in the mood for a book that balances comedy with genuine emotion, give this one a try. 

Reviewed by Olivia

{AD PR product- book gifted by publisher}