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by Jenny L. Howe

THE MAKE-UP TEST by Jenny L. Howe

Allison Avery loves to win. After acing every academic challenge she’s come up against, she’s finally made it to her dream Ph.D. program at Claymore University, studying medieval literature under a professor she’s admired for years. Sure, grad school isn’t easy—the classes are intense, her best friend is drifting away, and her students would rather pull all-nighters than discuss The Knight’s Tale—but she’s got this. Until her ex-boyfriend shows up. Colin Benjamin might be the only person who loves winning more than Allison does, and when they’re both assigned to TA for the same professor, the game is on.

What begins as a personal battle of wits (and lit) turns into an all-out war when their professor announces a career-changing research trip opportunity—with one spot to fill. Competing with Colin is as natural as breathing, and after their devastating breakup two years ago, Allison refuses to let him come out on top. But when a family emergency and a late-night road trip—plus a very sexy game of Scrabble—throw them together for a weekend, she starts to wonder if they could be stronger on the same team. And as they fall for each other all over again, Allison will have to choose between a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and what could be a twice-in-a-lifetime love.

Charmingly bookish, sharply feminist, and unequivocally fat positive, The Make-Up Test embraces the truth that people can sometimes change and grow, even when you least expect it.

Early Praise for THE MAKE-UP TEST

“Enemies-to-lovers, set in academia, with the pitfalls of imposter syndrome to navigate? Yes, please! A sweet, fresh spin on how the third time’s the charm.” - Jodi Picoult, #1 NYT bestselling author of Wish You Were Here

"Original, clever, sizzling, The Make-Up Test is the perfect mix of unique settings, lovable characters, and the exquisite agony of second chance romances. It’s the grad school, rivals-to-lover book of my wildest, sexiest dreams! I’ll read anything Jenny Howe writes!” - Ali Hazelwood, NYT bestselling author of The Love Hypothesis

“Insightful, inclusive, and incredibly fun, The Make-Up Test is an absolute delight from beginning to end. Jenny Howe is a romance writer to watch.” – Hannah Whitten, author of For the Wolf and For the Throne

"This second-chance romance is cozier than one of Colin’s cardigans and lovelier than a crisp autumn day. I didn’t know how badly I needed a sexy Scrabble scene in my life, and now I know I’d have been incomplete without one! With clever writing that makes her grad school rivals simmer and spark on the page, Jenny Howe has crafted a love story that feels not just swoony and heart-stirring, but achingly, breathtakingly real.” – Rachel Lynn Solomon, author of The Ex-Talk and Weather Girl

“Deliciously clever, delightfully romantic, and wonderfully honest, The Make-Up Test is the academic romcom of my dreams. By the last page, I was desperate to read it all over again—and sign up for a classical literature class.” – Annette Christie, author of The Rehearsals

“The Make-Up Test is a smart and swoony second chance at love. The academic setting creates the most delicious tension, the intellectual banter will keep you laughing, and the romance will have you falling head over heels. An honest and heartfelt story that will wrap you up like a warm cardigan.” – Sonia Hartl, author of Heartbreak for Hire

"Jenny Howe's debut novel is heartfelt vulnerability wrapped in a sexy cardigan. This beautiful book captures the hope and uncertainty of both being in graduate school and falling in love, both with real, gritty, vibrant color. Allison and Colin's second chance at love will keep you turning pages, and maybe picking up Chaucer's collected works. The Make-Up Test is an A+” - Denise Williams, author of How to Fail at Flirting and The Fastest Way to Fall

"Jenny Howe’s romance debut is full of deliciously biting banter, laugh-out-loud observation, and heartbreaking introspection. I was rooting for Allison to achieve every single one of her dreams from page one! Deftly wielding command of cutthroat academia, Howe reveals the realities for everyone in higher education who is less than privileged and must carve out their place in the world. While body positivity, frank conversations about anxiety, and navigating fraught parent-adult child relationships and friendships on the cusp of change are sure to be relatable, it’s the bittersweet longing in Allison and Colin’s slow-burn exes-to-friends-to-lovers relationship that takes center stage. THE MAKE-UP TEST is a testament to the risks and rewards of lowering your drawbridge for the one you love. By my troth, if this second-chance debut isn’t on your TBR already, fie on you!” - Lillie Vale, author of The Shaadi Set-Up and The Decoy Boyfriend

“THE MAKE UP TEST celebrates being who you are and staying true to yourself while also acknowledging that it’s incredibly hard when it seems like the world is working against you. A thoroughly enjoyable read from start to finish! A perfect companion read for fans of Ali Hazelwood and Rachel Lynn Solomon.” - Suzanne Park, author of So We Meet Again and Loathe At First Sight

”The Make-Up Test is a charmingly nerdtastic debut from Jenny Howe. It's a delightfully sweet second chance, rivals-to-lovers story wrapped up in a cardigan, sprinkled liberally with Beowulf and Chaucer references, and garnished with cat socks.” – Jen DeLuca, author of Well-Met, Well-Played, and Well-Matched