Betting on You by Lynn Painter

I was immediately engaged with this YA novel by Lynn Painter, because of the likeable and believable characters of Bailey and Charlie. The author takes that age-old belief that opposites attract and spins it in modern terms. Though Bailey and Charlie are as different from one another as night and day, they share a common pain, that of being children of divorced parents.

“The lovely back-and-forth between the main characters through text messages, phone calls, and inner monologues keeps this age-old storyline fresh and contemporary.”

This YA story follows the classic romance structure: boy meets girl, they get to know one another, they fall in love, something sours the relationship, they break up, and then he or she wins the other back. The lovely back-and-forth between the main characters through text messages, phone calls, and inner monologues keeps this age-old storyline fresh and contemporary.

Bailey first notices Charlie at the airport when he is saying goodbye to a girl in the most unselfconscious and amorous way. And then right after, when he cuts in line, Bailey, a stickler for rules, objects. He seems oblivious to his own obnoxious behaviour, even when she points it out. To add to her frustration, she ends up seated next to him on her flight home.

On the flight, Bailey shows her quirkiness by ordering a half Coke and half Diet Coke mixed together. Charlie finds her peculiarity amusing and teases her. They end up discussing the film, When Harry Met Sally, and argue about whether boys and girls can be friends. Bailey finds he’s not as shallow as she first thought, but that little spark between them is quickly extinguished when she encounters more of his arrogance. When they land, she’s happy to say goodbye.

Two years later, she runs into him again, this time at a movie theater, where she’s with her date, and he’s with his. They have a brief exchange. There’s some interest from both, but not enough to pursue a relationship.

But then a year later, she’s split with her boyfriend, and starts a new job with her friend, Nekesa, at Planet Funn, an entertainment complex. Surprisingly, Charlie has landed a job there, too, and he’s broken up with his girlfriend. The breakup is still raw for both, but they bond over their mutual problem of divorced parents. Nekesa, who has her eyes on Theo, another guy who works at the complex, tells Bailey that Charlie is “hot”. Bailey’s interest is piqued, but there is too much about him she still finds irritating.

When Bailey freaks out her mother’s new BF, Scott, is getting too comfy in her home, Charlie offers to help get her out. Bailey accepts and invites Charlie on a fake date, a ski holiday weekend, with Scott and her mom. Problem is that before Charlie leaves to meet Bailey, his friend, Theo, reminds him of a bet he made a while back—a bet he could get Bailey. Charlie back pedals and says he was joking, but Theo doesn’t buy it. The wheels have been set in motion. Even though the reader knows “this bet” is going to damage the relationship if Bailey finds out, the author keeps the reader guessing as to how this will all play out in the end.

Recommended for those who love romance.

About the Author

Lynn Painter writes romantic comedies for both teens and adults. She is the author of Better Than the Movies, Mr. Wrong NumberThe Do-Over, and Betting on You, as well as being a regular contributor to the Omaha World-Herald. She lives in Nebraska with her husband and pack of wild children, and when she isn’t reading or writing, odds are good she’s guzzling energy drinks and watching rom-coms. You can find her at, on Instagram @LynnPainterKirkle, or on Twitter @LAPainter.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Canadian Export edition (Nov. 28 2023)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 432 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1665950900
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1665950909