Review: You’re a Mean One, Matthew Prince by Timothy Janovksy

  • Title: You’re a Mean One, Matthew Prince
  • Author: Timothy Janovsky
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
  • Release Date: 10/4/22
  • Genre: Contemporary Romance
  • Age Range: Adult
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Publisher’s Summary: Bring a little joy to the world? Not today, Santa. Matthew Prince is young, rich, and thoroughly spoiled. So what if his parents barely remember he exists and the press is totally obsessed with him? He’s on top of the world. But one major PR misstep later, and Matthew is cut off and shipped away to spend the holidays in his grandparents’ charming small town hellscape. Population: who cares? It’s bad enough he’s stuck in some festive winter wonderland—it’s even worse that he has to share space with Hector Martinez, an obnoxiously attractive local who’s unimpressed with anything and everything Matthew does. Just when it looks like the holiday season is bringing nothing but heated squabbles, the charity gala loses its coordinator and Matthew steps in as a saintly act to get home early on good behavior…with Hector as his maddening plus-one. But even a Grinch can’t resist the unexpected joy of found family, and in the end, the forced proximity and infectious holiday cheer might be enough to make a lonely Prince’s heart grow three sizes this year.

This Jewish girl loves Christmas, so get ready for Christmas romance reviews coming your way. You’re a Mean One, Matthew Prince grabbed me immediately from the title. It immediately implied a fun and whimsical story, which the book definitely delivered.

Matthew starts the book as a young and spoiled child of extreme privilege, cut off by his parents, and sent to spend the holiday season with his grandparents. There is definitely a Schitt’s Creek vibe to this story. It was incredible to watch Matthew grow and mature throughout the story in someone who is willing to throw a gala to raise money for struggling businesses in his grandparents’ small town. I love it when readers get to experience that kind of character growth. I was rooting for Matthew the whole way.

The reader learns that Matthew really loves A Christmas Carol, the story of Scrooge, who learns to be a better person as three ghosts come to visit him around Christmas. Matthew’s story certainly mirrors Scrooges. The reader also sees Matthew’s heart grow three sizes like the Grinch’s in Dr. Seuss’s story.

I love when romance novels address the mental health of their main characters. Matthew not only goes to therapy, but the book also addresses his coping mechanisms when he is in the midst of an anxiety attack. He plans fictional parties in his head to give him something else to focus on. Hector is also immediately helpful and supportive to Matthew when he learns about his anxiety. That is so important in any friend or romantic partner. It also is so lovely that Janovsky included mental health resources in the back of the book.

Even though it thoughfully addresses mental health issues, You’re a Mean One, Matthew Prince doesn’t take itself to seriously. There are many musical theater references (including one to Thoroughly Modern Millie) and fun baking challenges that made me smile a lot while reading.

Of course, many romance novels feature a third act breakup that gets resolved by the end of the story, and You’re a Mean One, Matthew Prince is no exception. This one frustrated me because it felt like it would have been too easy for the fight to have been avoided. Of course, I understand why the break up had to happen for purposes of the structure of the story.

I look forward to Janovsky’s next book, since You’re a Mean One, Matthew Prince is such much fun! It will definitely get you into the holiday spirit.

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