by Julie Tieu
Publication: July 12, 2022
**I was provided a copy of the book through NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed it. All opinions are my own.**
Matt and Cadence work together at Prism Realty where she’s an analyst and he’s one of the top-selling brokers. They’re not just co-workers, but they’re co-conspirators and possibly best friends, at least that’s what Matt keeps insisting. Because he’s up for a promotion that may move him away from their San Francisco location, Cadence is determined to keep her long-time crush on him a secret. When they’re forced to go on a business trip together, it becomes harder to resist their true feelings for each other.
Julie Tieu where have you been all my life? I have The Donut Trap on my shelves but it was Circling Back to You I couldn’t help but pick up and read first. It was the perfect read at the perfect time. I laughed. I cringed. I swooned. I couldn’t stop smiling after I finished it. I am positive this will turn into a comfort read for me.
It starts off as an office romance but is made much more with its infusion of culture and family dynamics. The struggles Matt and Cadence deal with in the workplace and at home are largely universal ones, but I couldn’t help that it was the little details that made me so happy. Rice porridge is the meal for someone who is sick. Fish sauce and soy sauce are staple pantry items. Salonpas is a go-to for pain relief. (Yes, grab that Salonpas!) My kitchen and my medicine cabinet felt seen. I felt seen. It reflected my life without making it seem like it was on display as a learning tool–they’re written as norms.
Tieu is funny and her humor is always perfectly timed. Much of this can be attributed to Matt and his personality, but it’s also the banter between them that is entertaining. Matt and Cadence are opposites in many ways from their family relationships to their personality, but they are perfect for each other. He’s silly and a tease as compared to Cadence who employs strict divisions between work and play. Cadence is an analyst and the logic and reasoning she utilizes for her job also extends to her relationship with Matt. It was refreshing to see Cadence as the more rational half whereas Matt is dominated by his emotions–he’s a complete cinnamon roll.
If you’re a fan of workplace romances or the friends-to-lovers trope, I would recommend picking this one up. I cannot emphasize how much I adored them together as work colleagues and friends who eventually become lovers. Despite the change in their relationship status, their support of each other never diminishes. They’re couple goals.