Cover of Hot British Boyfriend, featuring a girl and boy sitting and standing, respectively, on a white teacup

About the Book

Title: Hot British Boyfriend
Published: 2021
Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Cover Story: Teacup Ride
BFF Charm: Roger Murtaugh
Talky Talk: Why(-A) Romance
Bonus Factor: Study Abroad
Relationship Status: It’s Not Me, It’s You

Cover Story: Teacup Ride

This is a very cute cover, but that cup is either very large, or these folks are very small. Is this a book about Thumbelina? Not what I expected!

The Deal:

After a video of her goes viral—a very embarrassing video—Ellie jumps at the chance to spend a semester abroad studying in England. But where the rest of her classmates are on the trip to take college-level courses and pad their already brimming résumés before graduation, Ellie has a very different plan: find a hot British boy to date and help erase that video from her memory forever.

BFF Charm: Roger Murtaugh

BFF charm with Roger Murtagh from Lethal Weapon's face.

As much as I applaud Ellie’s goals to find herself a hot British boyfriend—I can’t resist an accent either—the fact that she’s willing to bend over backward for the first eligible dude she meets had me rolling my eyes from nearly page one. She then proceeds to lie to said guy and do pretty much everything to make him believe that she’s someone she’s not. Sadly, she’s a cool girl when she’s not trying to be; she loves unicorns and has a passion for making fairy gardens. She’s witty and clever, and when she tries, she does surprisingly well in school. (Surprising herself more than anyone.) But man, does she make it hard to like her when she’s fawning all over a guy who doesn’t deserve it at all.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Ellie’s relationship with her Hot British Boyfriend, Will, is fraught with issues, not the least of which is that she lies to him from the moment they meet. And it’s all so superficial; she changes herself to meet his “expectations,” when he barely makes an attempt to get to know her, even the fake bits. There’s very little swoon about their relationship, and a hot accent only goes so far.

There is another relationship in this book, however, that is the right kind of relationship, based on friendship and honesty, and it’s ten times more swoony than Ellie and Will. Unfortunately, the book doesn’t give this relationship much airtime, but it does give me hope for Ellie’s future.

Talky Talk: Why(-A) Romance

Hot British Boyfriend is a book with a fun premise, but a lack of satisfying execution. I had the fleeting thought that it’s the kind of book I would have eaten up when I was an actual YA, but even as a teen I knew better than to completely change myself to fit a guy’s tastes, and I certainly wouldn’t have lied to a guy to keep his interest. (I’ve also never been able to hide my nerdy side.) Had Ellie truly learned a lesson about the wrongs she was doing, I might be able to overlook some of the book’s more frustrating aspects, but she never fully owns up to the fact that what she was doing was harmful, to both her and Will, and to her friends. The book underestimates actual YAs and sells teen girls short.

Boyce’s secondary characters, however, are quite excellent. Ellie’s friends are brilliant, clever, true-to-themselves teens who are far more nuanced than Ellie. I wish the book was about them, rather than Ellie and Will’s “romance.”

Bonus Factor: Study Abroad

A street in London featuring Big Ben, a red telephone box, and a double-decker bus

I never took advantage of any study abroad opportunities and that’s something I’ll forever have a bit of regret about. Of course, I’m able to travel as an adult—you know, when there’s not a pandemic happening—but being in a foreign country while in high school or college would have been a completely different experience.

Relationship Status: It’s Not Me, It’s You

I had high hopes for our date, Book. Unfortunately, there was little chemistry between us, and that’s taking into account our time in literal chemistry class. You’ve got a lot of maturing to do, and I’m already too old to wait around.

Literary Matchmaking

A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow

For a much swoonier read about an American and a Brit, check out Laura Taylor Namey’s A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow.

Red, White & Royal Blue

Or Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue.


This is How We Fly

And because this is the second book I’ve read recently in which someone plays IRL Quidditch, you could read Anna Meriano’s This is How We Fly if you want more of that.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from HarperTeen, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Hot British Boyfriend is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.