Not How I Pictured It

Not How I Pictured It

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The OC meets The Unhoneymooners in this shipwreck romcom when the reunited cast of a hit show get stuck on a deserted island with nothing but their complete lack of survival skills, simmering drama, and the sneaking suspicion that someone is up to no good.

Agnes “Ness" Larkin has been out of the spotlight for twenty years since her quick departure from a starring role in a hit teen TV drama. When the show is tapped for a reboot, no one is more surprised than Ness that she signs on to rejoin the cast, leaving behind a normal—if not exactly thrilling—life in Toronto. Also back for round two are Libby, Ness's former best friend and soon to be makeup empire magnate, and Hayes, Ness's one-that-got-away who has risen to A-list fame (and somehow gotten even better looking) in the years she's been gone.

When they set off for filming near the Bahamas, a storm leaves the seven actors and one production assistant stranded on a small island with only an abandoned, derelict mansion to wait out the storm. But when the weather clears and a new day rises—their boat is gone too.

Stuck in a bizarre, crumbling house on an uninhabited island with possibly the most useless survival group in history, Ness and her co-stars are forced to revisit a minefield of past transgressions and come to terms with the adults they've become as they work together to ride out the storm. Or at least pretend to—they are actors, after all.

Interspersed with weather reports, fictional memoir excerpts, a dating profile and Perez-Hilton-esque blog posts, Not How I Pictured It is a rollicking novel of delightful absurdity, pithy dialogue, and no shortage of heart.

Critical Praise


"Devastatingly funny and a delight from the first page. It's smart and it made me laugh out loud over and over. In other words, I adored this book!" — Susan Juby, author of A Meditation on Murder

Not How I Pictured It was full of suspense, adventure, backstabbing old friends, middling survival skills, and best of all, a swoony second chance romance with a sexy movie star. When the entire cast of a decades old TV show gets stranded on a Caribbean Island on route to film their reboot, they have no choice but to mend their relationships and learn to work together to survive. I loved seeing Ness grow as she came to terms with her past… and wrestle with a snake! What an incredibly fun book!    Farah Heron, Author of Jana Goes Wild and Accidentally Engaged

What if the cast of 90210 unwittingly reunited for a season of Survivor? Not How I Pictured It is fun, funny and full of drama. The perfect beach read from one of my must-read authors! — Chantel Guertin, bestselling author of Two for the Road

Not How I Pictured It is a zany, rollicking good time with a powerful emotional reckoning at its core. Lefler grapples with fame, growing up, and what we owe the people we love, all the while keeping up the Romancing the Stone-style hijinks.” — Jenny Holiday, author of Canadian Boyfriend and Earls Trip

"Robin Lefler fires up the page with sharp wit, dazzling imagination, and pulse-jumping plot twists! Not How I Pictured It is an epic adventure romcom where top-tier tropes meet a gripping mystery. The end result is a sexy, thrilling, and at turns hilarious modern nod to Gilligan's Island. I could not put this book down." — Courtney Kae, author of In the Event of Love and In the Case of Heartbreak 

"There's no one I'd rather be trapped on a desert island with than Ness Larkin and the rest of the hilariously dysfunctional cast of Not How I Pictured It. Both a nonstop-entertaining survival romp and a heartwarming exploration of second chances, Robin Lefler's sophomore novel is a MUST for your 2024 beach bag." — Nicolas DiDomizio, author of The Gay Best Friend

"Gilligan's Island meets Gossip Girl—this is a rom com that will have you reaching for the popcorn. SO. MUCH. FUN." — Amy T. Matthews, Someone Else's Bucket List

"Lefler’s plotting is pure fun, like a reality show in novel form—especially when it becomes clear that this detour may have been no accident. Romance fans will fall in love with Ness and her insecurities and hate the designated villains (including the last person readers will suspect). This is a pleasure." — Publishers Weekly