Happy Thursday, guys!
Today, I'm delighted to be a part of the blog tour for Been Here All Along!
I've been a fan of Sandy's work since reading A Little Something Different, and I also loved Signs Point to Yes. Been Here All Along was a delightful, thoughtful read, and I can't wait for you guys to check it out.
Read on for our review + a very cool giveaway!
Publication date: August 30th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Gideon always has a plan. His plans include running for class president, becoming head of the yearbook committee, and having his choice of colleges. They do NOT include falling head over heels for his best friend and next door neighbor, Kyle. It’s a distraction. It’s pointless, as Kyle is already dating the gorgeous and popular head cheerleader, Ruby. And Gideon doesn’t know what to do.
Kyle finally feels like he has a handle on life. He has a wonderful girlfriend, a best friend willing to debate the finer points of Lord of the Rings, and social acceptance as captain of the basketball team. Then, both Ruby and Gideon start acting really weird, just as his spot on the team is threatened, and Kyle can’t quite figure out what he did wrong…
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In Been Here All Along, Hall introduces us to Gideon and Kyle, two lifelong best friends who are navigating the challenging waters of high school. However, life becomes slightly more complicated when Gideon begins to realize that he has fallen for Kyle, and Kyle may just feel the same...
Much like A Little Something Different, Hall skillfully divides the narrative of Been Here All Along between Gideon, Kyle and Ruby. Though readers may be slightly perplexed at the inclusion of Ruby at first - I know I certainly was - it actually sets up an interesting dynamic, and also gently reinforces the idea of being in a relationship with someone who understands you, and is truly your best friend and advocate.
And while it's never explicitly stated, the notion of how important and wonderful it is to realize that you may be destined to be in a relationship with someone who understands you as only a best friend could, is very much a core underlying theme of Been Here All Along.
From the very first page, Hall sets up the idea that Gideon and Kyle are perfect for each other, because they understand each other so fully, and truly. They recognize each other's strengths and weaknesses, and mutually help work on those weaknesses, while continuing to help finesse those strengths. Even as they refuse to admit it to themselves, Hall skillfully shows how both Gideon and Kyle genuinely bring out the best in one another, and what it means to be in such a positive friendship-turned-potential relationship.
However, this progression from friendship into something potentially more isn't without its struggles. Though Hall does a nice job of handling Gideon and Kyle's respective decisions to come out to friends and family - including a premeditated coming-out moment which initially sounded awkward on paper, but is actually kind of delightful in how nonchalant and accepting it turns out to be - the core challenges actually come from Ruby, and Ruby's relationship with both Gideon and Kyle.
Though it's written with a certain breeziness that is an absolute testament to Hall's writing prowess, Ruby has the difficult position of watching her boyfriend fall in love with someone else. Hall beautifully showcases her struggles with that knowledge, including some genuinely awful and petty behavior that had me squirming while reading.
But all of this actually contributes to the brilliance of Ruby as a character. She's an acknowledgement to the idea that fellow teens may not always be accepting of friends who are learning to be who they are, especially when it comes to sexuality and love. Her evolution as a character is actually a great example of a teen who is learning to be open, tolerant and accepting of the idea that love is love, and she equally deserves that type of honest, accepting love as well.
While the trio meet their fair share of ups-and-downs, their journey is worthy, beautifully written and left me with a smile on my face. Highly recommend, full stop.
Check out the rest of the tour!
–Quartzfeather >> Review
–Literary Meanderings >> Interview
–Bookish Escapes >> Review
–Rolling with the Moments >> Review
–The Reading Nook >> Review
And check out the rest of the tour!
About the author:
I’m a teen librarian from New Jersey where I was born and raised. I have a BA in Communication and a Master of Library and Information Science from Rutgers University. When I’m not writing, or teen librarian-ing, I enjoy reading, slot machines, marathoning TV shows, and long scrolls through Tumblr. A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT is my first novel.