Happy Thursday, guys!
So, true fact: I was so amused and delighted by The Romantics while reading, I attempted to walk arnd read at the same time.
Naturally, I tripped because hey, sidewalks. But hopefully, my pain will stand as proof that The Romantics is proof positive that the best of 2016 books are still to come.
Read on for my thoughts and more!
Expected publication: November 1st 2016 by Amulet Books
Perfect for fans of Lauren Myracle and Rainbow Rowell, The Romantics will charm readers of all ages. Gael Brennan is about to have his heart broken when his first big relationship crumbles on the heels of his parents’ painful separation. Love intervenes with the intention of setting things right—but she doesn’t anticipate the intrusion of her dreaded nemesis: the Rebound. Love’s plans for Gael are sidetracked by Cara, Gael’s hot-sauce-wielding “dream girl.” The more Love meddles, the further Gael drifts from the one girl who can help him mend his heart. Soon Love starts breaking all her own rules—and in order to set Gael’s fate back on course, she has to make some tough decisions about what it means to truly care.
The Romantics is such a book. I actually hadn't heard of it before it showed up at my door - thank you, Abrams! - and cast an optimistic but wary eye at the cover/synopsis. Love, sharing a story about Love's experiences vis-a-vis our MC Gael? Well...perhaps.
However, I was in the mood for something light and funny, and I read on. And I have to say, dear reader: I fell in love again. Not with the idea of relationships, as so many of Leah Konen's characters experience throughout the book. But with the idea that YA books can often tell an elegantly simple story, which will feel surprisingly and charmingly universal for readers of any age.
Konen introduces us to Gael, who opens the book by experiencing his first big breakup. It couldn't come at a worst time - his parents have separated, and Gael doesn't know why. So Love intervenes, and walks readers through the hilarious ups-and-downs of trying to mend Gael's relationships, the rules of love, and the understanding of how love can impact every face of life, including our futures.
There are so, so many things to love about this book, beginning with Konen's tacit admission that every high schooler thinks their relationship is the one that is going to last forever. So when Gael's relationship crashes and burns in the worst possible way, it not only shakes his foundation in love, but also his own self-confidence as well.
Konen is careful as she walks through his anguish; Gale's genuine pain is never underplayed or overlooked, but Love carefully also reminds readers that the end of a relationship is also the beginning of new - albeit, occasionally wrong choices - something that Gael himself experiences, when he meets the Rebound. Though Gael's relationship with college-student Cara is messy and so clearly wrong, Love humorously shows readers how it's relationships like this one, that help us realize just what we want... as long as we don't let it go too far.
While Gael's continued evolution from lovelorn to rebound, is touched upon with a light hand in terms of plot, there's never any doubt that it's part of the charm of the overall story. Konen is clearly very committed to having Gael and readers be reminded that love can be a very powerful and positive thing, and should not be viewed with negative or cynicism - something Love reminds us many times throughout the book.
Even the hints of cynicism that do occasionally slip in through the story vis-a-vis other characters, are transformed in a way to remind readers that part of the positive value of a relationship, is learning when to let go. It's sometimes healthiest for all involved, and only helps to open the door for more positive love again, if and when it should come around.
With funny and witty writing - Love is a candid and hilarious narrator, that confides in the reader like they are confiding in their best friend - likable characters and a universally-felt plot, this is book is a sure-fire winner. Get this for your sibling, best friend, co-worker and anyone else who needs a positive jolt of love and good humor in their life.