“I have hundreds of kids getting on and off this bus every day. There are always a couple who stand out. Sometimes it’s because they’re just noticeable looks-wise, or sometimes it’s a simple case of logistics, like they always get off at a weird stop. My wife, Margie, loves to hear about all of them.Lately I’ve been telling her lots of stories about these two kids, a boy and a girl. There’s something different about them”.
Books and synopsis don’t always go hand to hand, however with this novel you have exactly what you bargained for. It’s probably the first book that we read where the synopsis catches perfectly the novel’s essence so, readers, pay attention!
Every fangirl or fanboy out there will know exactly the feeling of seeing two people, clearly made for each other, act stupid and bask in their sexual tension with no apparent intention of finally give up and live happily ever after. If you know the pain of having an OTP (or multiple, if like us, you follow an endless number of tv shows) this is the book for you!
What we really liked about this novel are the 14 (yes, 14!) narrators. Normally we would be horrified,in most books even more than two points of view are difficult to follow but this, this is pure genius. None of these narrators are the protagonists, so we live Lea and Gabe’s love story thought the eyes of their friends, teachers, waitresses and even by-standers. People see them, love them and suffer because it seems like they will never make it, probably one of them (money on Tabitha) even wrote fanfiction on these two! This is an interesting expedientthat turn a kinda normal love story book into a funny and witty novel.
Personally, we think that this story wouldn’t have been this interesting if it had been told in a more traditional way; the multiples narrators keep things exciting and make you laugh in stuffy situations.
Probably, in the end, if the story had been told by Lea and Gabe’s point of views, all this “will-they-won’t-they” would have made readers hate them. They are just too awkward and shy and their desperate thoughts would have made this story a boring and already-read soap opera!
Instead, we can laugh with the sarcastic Victor and Charlotte, fangirling with Tabitha, Maxine and Inga and plotting a way to force our couple together with Maribel, Sam, Bianca and Casey. Like us, they are normal people and they are so different from one other that every one of us can find their alter ego in one of these narrators. Maybe that’s exactly the reason why we are content with just watching Lea and Gabe’s story unfold in front of us and we don’t feel the need to identify ourselves in this couple (like it happens with other novels).
We absolutely loved Victor as a narrator, he’s sarcastic, blasé and hate Lea and Gabe’s shilly-shallying but he always finds himself crossing their path. It’s hilarious how, trying to avoid them,he can’t help being drowned by their idiocy. Victor reflects exactly our thoughts when the situation skirts the absurd.
The barista Charlotte, in the beginning is absolutelyinsensible to our protagonists’ struggle; she can’t understand all the fuss about this couple: her colleagues ship them so hard (probably to a fanfiction level) that they are all they can talk about. She finds them annoying and totally awkward, besides Gabe never understands what she’s saying and this bothers her to no end. But, she’s exactly the type of fangirl that tries to deny her love and obsession in public till she can’t anymore and totally checks every now and then trying to catch sight of them entering the café. We loved her scenes with Gabe (she’s totally rooting for him!).
Another interesting point of view, it’s absolutely Inga’s (their creative writing teacher). Inga, every year, finds a new OTP in her course and tries to push them together,essentially she acts like everyfangirl in the world would, if given the chance. And we are totally with her! We can all relate to the way she passionately hates Hillary (a blonde bimbo with a huge crush on Gabe), because she tries to interfere with her “let’s get Lea and Gabe together” plan.
So, if we could choose a couple of characters each and know more about their stories we would definitely choose these three (and maybe also Maribel….but only to know if she and Casey finally get together. Oh, look at that: an OTP in another OTP).
Not all the other narrators are as complete and useful as these three. We didn’t really understand the point of the squirrel (apart from being cute and making Lea and Gabe look like total lunatics) and also the one of the bench, even though one of our favorite scenes occur on her.
But, even only for general info, we’ll list all the 14 narrators in this book:
Maribel (Lea’s roommate)
Inga (creative writing professor)
Bench (on the green)
Sam (Gabe’s brother)
Victor (creative writing classmate)
Bob (a bus driver)
Casey (Gabe’s friend)
Maxine (a waitress)
Danny (Lea’s friend)
Pam (Inga’s wife)
Charlotte (a barista)
Hillary (creative writing classmate)
Frank (Chinese-food delivery guy)
But, let’s talk about our protagonists.
Gabe is shy, and not the normal kind. Nope. He’s the I-like-you-so-I-am-too-nervous-to-just-look-at-you-never-mind-talking-to-you kind of shy. Fortunately, he’s got a (kinda) good reason for his actions: he isdeaf from one hear. And okay, this wouldn’t be a huge problem, if he wasn’t so keen on hiding it. So, instead of saying: “Hey, sorry Lea, I’m not answering you ‘cause I can’t hear well from this hear”, he remains silent. Obviously, Lea starts to think he doesn’t like her and so this leads to tears and man pain and massive frustration (for us). So, Gabe….Why the hell didn’t you say anything? You could have spared us the pain!Even though, we have to say, that his behavior brought to some of our favorite and most emotional scenes in the book. (There’s one in which he writes a list of things he should have told her but wasn’t able…totally heartbreaking).Then again, let’s think about a nineteen year old boy, baseball star and with a guaranteed sport scholarship, who gets into a car accident and sees his dreams vanish in front of him. Some of us think that his tries to regain control on his life, pretending everything is the same, can be justified indeed.
Even thought, let’s say it, cheer up Gabe! You can’t beat yourself up all your life, please give us some positive feels!
On the other hand, Lea is cheerful, flirty and openly smitten with our boy. Though sometimes she can be insecure, every time Gabe talks (or just stays in silent) to her, she tries to put him at ease. She can’t understand Gabe’s hot and cold behavior towards her and when he tells her the reason, she’s royally pissed he didn’t tell her sooner. Even though Lea is really less awkward than Gabe, her totally normal excitement over the boy is really more interesting and funny if told by another person.
Sandy Hall’s writing is funny and flowing and her idea was totally a win! We recommend this book if you need to unwind and you’re searching for a light and witty story.
Beside, check the cover! It’s exactly like the novel: charming and romantic and perfectly true to the spirit of the story. We loved it to pieces.
So in the end, to leave you, we’ll dabble in Inga’s creative writing assignment and for the last time, describe this book without adjectives.
“A little something different is the kind of book some of us would be convinced not to like. Romance, misunderstandings and frustration are not everyone’s cup of tea but the more we read, the more we are sucked in Lea and Gabe’s story. The need of knowing if every heartbreak will bring to a happy ending will drive us to devour this book in no time”.