I fell in love with the idea of love as I watched it written large across my television screen.
4.5/5 paper planes
What’s This Book About?
Genre: YA LGBTQ+ contemporary
Publication: 2 March 2021
Pages: 320 (paperback)
Synopsis: A sweet and funny debut novel about falling for someone when you least expect it . . . and finding out that real life romance is better than anything on screen.
Emma is a die-hard romantic. She loves a meet-cute Netflix movie, her pet, Lady Catulet, and dreaming up the Gay Rom Com of her heart for the film festival competition she and her friends are entering. If only they’d listen to her ideas…
Sophia is pragmatic. She’s big into boycotts, namely 1) relationships, 2) teen boys and their BO (reason #2347683 she’s a lesbian), and 3) Emma’s nauseating ideas. Forget starry-eyed romance, Sophia knows what will win: an artistic film with a message.
Cue the drama. The movie is doomed before they even start shooting…until a real-life plot twist unfolds behind the camera when Emma and Sophia start seeing each other through a different lens. Suddenly their rivalry is starting to feel like an actual rom-com.
Content warnings (highlight to see): occasional swearing, unwanted romantic advances and ‘nice-guy’ misogyny, worries about coming out to parents, absentee parent and conflicted emotions about having divorced parents, verbal abuse, one instance of mild physical violence
What I Thought:
This was such an adorable book! I could easily have binged it if I’d had time – I actually read 75% in one sitting before other life commitments came calling. I heard this book is a modern-day sapphic retelling of Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, which I haven’t read/seen so I’m intrigued to go check it out later!
My OMG reaction when I found out that the movie version stars Emma Thompson!
I really enjoyed the narrative voices and Desombre’s writing style – direct, honest, illustrative, witty and great fun to read. There were some really beautiful sentences/passages too that made me quite emotional. The setting is really immersive – why did I feel sweaty in the bustling streets of NYC while stuck indoors in vaguely nippy English almost-spring? – and all the characters felt realistic and convincing. I cared about every protagonists, major or minor (even Sophia’s dad) as they all had at least some plotline aside from the Emma/Sophia drama. I would say that some things resolved/developed a little fast and the antagonist was fairly obvious, but that didn’t bother me much. Remembering how many things were flooding my teenaged brain at lightning speed, it’s not that unrealistic.
My heart was warmed by all the loving relationships depicted: the female friendships, the mixed-gender friendships, the bond between Emma and her parents and Sophia with her dad, and of course the enemies-to-lovers sapphic romance! All of these relationships made me smile like a goofball at my Kindle.
Just imagine that gif’s end is me looking back down to read!
The queer joy is strong with this one! I appreciated the coming-out plot thread which felt very evocative and relatable for me in parts. I also liked the casual diversity, for example the fat rep and Latina rep with Emma’s cousin Kate (Emma herself is mixed-race I believe), dark-skinned BIPOC rep with their friend Myrah and other subtle things like clearly non-white surnames. Small things but as a POC it’s kinda nice to see some of the variation in real life reflected on the page.
Overall this book is perfect if you’re looking for a light read that still tugs on the heartstrings – bonus points if you want a spring/summer seasonal vibe!
Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours and Underlined for an eARC for an honest review.
A few of my favourite quotes:
- “[It’s] so unfair. Just because someone doesn’t want to be in a relationship, that doesn’t make them uncaring. I care about things. I love my friends; I’m excited about this movie. I’m not hardened.”
- “I had to question everything I said to [my parents], double-checking every thought before I said it aloud, so afraid of outing myself by accident. I spent every conversation bitter that I had to filter myself, and simultaneously afraid that I hadn’t filtered enough.”
- “[Your mother’s] found someone new to love,” Dad goes on. “And I will too, someday. If this OkCupid thing is all it’s cracked up to be. And in the meantime,” he adds, looking down at his mug, “I have coffee. Which is the real love story here.”
- “I like to think that, whatever place we’re all in a rush to get to, there are loved ones waiting there for us… [The silence] doesn’t feel as heavy on my shoulders as it used to. Sometimes you have to be the loved one that other people rush home to, and I guess that means being okay with sitting in an empty apartment for a while.”
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About the Author:
Auriane is the author of I Think I Love You, and works as a middle school teacher and freelance editor. She holds an MA in English Literature and an MFA in Creative Writing for Children & Young Adults. She lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Sammy, who is a certified bad boy.