Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Published: October 30th, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, LGBTQ+
My Rating: 4 Stars
Nathan Bird doesn’t believe in happy endings.
Although he’s the ultimate film buff and an aspiring screenwriter, Nate’s seen the demise of too many relationships to believe that happy endings exist in real life.
Playing it safe to avoid a broken heart has been his MO ever since his father died and left his mom to unravel—but this strategy is not without fault. His best-friend-turned-girlfriend-turned-best-friend-again, Florence, is set on making sure Nate finds someone else. And in a twist that is rom-com-worthy, someone does come along: Oliver James Hernández, his childhood best friend.
After a painful mix-up when they were little, Nate finally has the chance to tell Ollie the truth about his feelings. But can Nate find the courage to pursue his own happily ever after?
I found this book unbelievably cute. It wasn’t the sickeningly sweet cute romance novels that I’ve read, and the characters didn’t come together as easily as many YA rom-coms tend to, but for me, that made the book more believable. It felt so much more like truth than the movies, which I think was the point since Nate was a film kid.
I did find some of the side characters a little annoying, mostly Flo, but at the same time, I felt like I knew people like her in high school. To me, she read like someone who wanted everyone’s constant attention and when it wasn’t on her, like when Nate told her he had feelings for Ollie, she got angry because Nate’s attention and affection weren’t only on her anymore even though she was the one who ended their romantic relationship. She reads emotionally manipulative but she’s also sixteen.
The thing I loved most about this book was the representation. It wasn’t just racially diverse and have people with different sexual orientations, but Oliver, the main love interest was deaf, and the book never let you as the reader forget it. When Oliver or Nate sign to each other, their motions are described. It doesn’t say “Oliver signed he was sorry” or whatever it says he rubbed a closed fist against his chest. That’s the first time I’ve seen that in a novel, and I really enjoyed it.
In a series of books, I read recently (The Raven Cycle) one of the main characters is deaf in one ear. Even though this character is the narrator in some places in the book, it barely comes up. I am partial deaf in my left ear, I can’t hear low tone and somethings I can only hear through earbuds. For example, I listen to a lot of podcasts and some of the male hosts I can’t hear unless I have headphones in. There is a man a work that I cannot hear when he speaks because his voice is so deep. It comes up all the time. I also can’t hear really high pitched noises on that side up that comes up less. (One time a weather alert siren went off at work and I was listening to podcasts with an earbud just in my good ear and everyone started making weird disgusted noises and I couldn’t figure out what was happening for a hot minute.)
ANYWAY, I like the representation. It’s not something I’ve seen a lot in the books I read, though I am the first to admit I do not read as diversely as I should.
Overall, I thought this book was great, cute and fun. I know it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea because the side characters, and let’s be honest with each other, Nate, can be very teenager-like because they are teenagers. If I was still in high school I think this book would have resonated with me more and I would have found the characters less annoying in spots, but I still really loved this book and think you should add it to you TBRs.
Until next time Internet,