‘The Pairing’ Review: The Perfect Summer Read


The Pairing by Casey McQuiston—pairs well with: a love for sensory details, a craving for sweltering spice, and a heart born for wanderlust. 

Get ready to settle in for the perfect summer read next month with The Pairing, a romantic comedy that follows the story of Theo and Kit, two bisexual exes who accidentally find themselves thrown back together years after a painful breakup on a European food and wine tour. Spoiler alert: their reunion is a spectacular, sexy mess of pain, laughter, and yearning. 

Reading The Pairing feels like curling up under the covers after a day at the beach—the subtle scent of salt air, the sun’s lingering warmth on your skin, ears still echoing with the crashing waves. McQuiston dishes out a master class in sensory detail here, using nothing more than words on a page to send your heart thrumming into overdrive with emotion alongside the illusion of the beautiful sights, tastes, and smells of Europe. And in staying true to its very title, these rich details are carefully paired and woven into the story, striking a perfect balance without overshadowing or bloating the main plot. 

Theo and Kit are our wonderfully flawed and equally intriguing leads who are, above all else, so refreshingly human. Their words, their actions, their internal monologues slash inner turmoils—everything feels raw, unapologetic, and downright authentic. They’re funny, they’re chaotic, and they’re a perfectly imperfect pair (and horny, they’re very, very horny). 

The story, which opens from Theo’s point of view, swaps over to Kit in the latter half. As a reader, this felt crucial for the book’s overall impact. But more than that, this perspective shift conveys something even deeper—it illustrates the stark contrast in the way we see ourselves versus the way others view us (and how that can then subsequently affect every aspect of one’s life). For all of its lighthearted pages and lust-fuelled moments, it’s this honest message that drives it all home.

Overall, The Pairing was an enjoyable read that serves up tempestuous emotions, gratuitous spice, and a luscious setting in equal measure. And before diving in, it’s highly recommended to keep snacks within reach, because this book will leave you starving (literally, the food descriptions!) in every chapter.

The Pairing hits shelves on August 6.

Lindsey joined the Nerds and Beyond team in 2018. If she's not writing or out and about with her camera, she's probably watching anime, nerding out over Star Wars, reading manga, and definitely forgetting to water her plants. And waiting for the Genshin loading screen to pop up. Contact: lindsey@nerdsandbeyond.com

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