Publication Date: November 1, 2016
In a world filled with cookie cutter creative works sometimes innovation doesn’t make it to the forefront. So imagine my delighted surprise at encountering The Romantics by Leah Konen, which identifies itself as: “a rom-com about love, told by Love.” Yes, “Love,” which I’ve mentally just categorized as a smart-ass cupid narrates this story of a senior high school boy, Gael, as he wanders through the pitfalls of love as a “romantic.”
“Love” takes us for a trip, sometimes through time so that we can see why things are the way they are, and sometimes just down the street. The narration is quirky, funny, and insightful.
“Humans are experts at focusing so much on how they found someone over who that person actually is and if they’re truly the right one.”
Despite the fact that “Love” is narrating and is a zany narrator at that, the characters don’t take a backseat. Gael is a normal teenager with normal reactions. His parents have separated and he takes turns being mad at each. And, he’s mad at his ex-girlfriend, Annika, and at his (former) best friend, Mason. There are no good guys or bad guys; there are just people behaving like humans.
During one pivotal scene that takes place at the zoo, Gael’s little sister, Piper, has arranged a video scavenger hunt, which is capricious and funny. (I wish I could see the videos described in the novel!)
Quickie paraphrased blurb: Annika has just broken up with Gael, which may be because he uttered the “L” word a wee-bit too soon, but then maybe not because it seems that Annika and Gael’s best friend, Mason, are now a thing. An accident brings hippie-Birkenstock-wearing Cara into Gael’s life and Love’s “nemesis” Rebound enters the picture. Will Rebound succeed or will Love manage to break enough rules to get Gael with the right girl?
Love rom-coms? Love quirky? Love loveable characters? Love reading an adventurously narrated novel? If those things are true and you enjoy young adult books, this book may just be for you. I know that I was glad to have found it.
So with all of this love, why a ladybug off in the rating? The ending was good, funny, but maybe just a tad too contrived for me—although maybe not for “Love” who arranged the whole thing.
I received an ARC from Netgalley and Amulet Books in exchange for an honest review.
From Amazon: The Romantics on sale on November 1, 2016.
rating: (4 butterflies and a ladybug out of 5 butterflies)