Contrary to popular belief, best friends Kate Garfield and Anderson Walker are not codependent. Carpooling to and from theater rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient. Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment. Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway.
But when Kate and Andy’s latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off script. Matt Olsson is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson.
Turns out, communal crushes aren’t so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson’s friendship.
CWs & TWs: bullying, cursing.
Diversity radar: Jewish MC, Gay black SC, diverse cast of supportive characters
I had such great expectations for this book, not only because Becky Albertalli is one of my favourite authors. But also because the place of friendships in romantic relationships is a theme I love to read about. I think we don’t see it enough in children and teenagers literature, so I was really hyped about this book. And was a disappointment. Not only the story didn’t keep any of its promises to me, but I was legit bored reading it, I disliked the main character and was very close to DNF it.
Okay, I am going to be cash and honest: why is this book so long? There are some scenes that were absolutely useless in this story, even when it comes to characters development or the plots. I know Albertalli’s stories are all about the characters and their evolution and who they are. But here, it was too much for me, way too much. I really disliked the main character for being kind of very arrogant some times, and overall not a great friend. Because we know it by now: telling a story and showing who someone is, is all in the showing, not the telling. Here, the character claimed her friendships were the most important thing to her but acted against it in every single one of her decision. I get the move, showing how love and crushes can divide someone, I truly get it. But here, it just felt like Kate wasn’t consistent in her character building, at least this is how I felt it.
Talking about the characters, I need to mention the over-use of the term fuck-boys/girls and f-boy/girls in this book. Okay, I get it, it is a theatre kids versus jock kids dynamic but the characters referring to jock teens as f-boys and girls twice a page was honestly so rude. I am a jock. I like sport. I run. I keep in shape. Because it makes me feel good. Not to go around flirting and fucking. And I really do hope people don’t call me fuck girl behind my back for this, jeez. I wouldn’t have minded if that’s something that would have changed in the characters, you know? If, at the end of the novel, Kate and her friends had realized how not okay it was. But it wasn’t or, if it was, it wasn’t explicit enough. And this is so disappointing coming from an author with such diverse and open-minded books and characters.
As I said above, this book was way too long for its story. But the main issue for me is the fact that, yup, the book was long. But if at least it was useful to the story and its messages, then alright. Make it long. Here, I just felt like the story and the characters were going in circle in their minds, actions and decisions and it pissed me a little. I mean, at least we had time to understand the relationships between the characters, the strength in their bonds and how it influences their lives. And I have to say: I loved the whole theatre setting, and musicals and Once Upon a Mattress play, if it wasn’t for the main character ruining my appreciation of the book. And this is so sad to me, since I related to Kate in many different ways. Her love for music and singing, her trauma related to it, her friendships and the way her love life (or, in this case, her love life fantasy) could affect them.
This book simply didn’t do it for me, and seeing the reviews around here I noticed it is a five stars or a two stars, so I guess I am just not part of the lovers of this book. And that’s okay. It does not mean I won’t read other books by this author, because I truly love her characters. Maybe my expectations were too high.
Perfect for fans of
Musical and theatre settings
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