The distinctive new crowdsourced publishing imprint Swoon Reads proudly presents its first published novel—an irresistibly sweet romance between two college students told from 14 different viewpoints.
The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.
But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.
Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together…. [Goodreads]
Reasons I love this book:
- Lea is Chinese.
- Lea is Chinese and studying creative writing (hey gurl hey, breaking asian stereotypes, we need to be friends <3)
- Everyone is in serious shipping mode.
- This book makes real life shipping not seem as creepy
- There is a talking bench.
I was really surprised how this book turned out. I was a little skeptical about it because reading about people watching other people sounds plain creepy. I was also a worried about how the feelings between Lea and Gabe would play out because we’re not in their minds, we’re not getting detailed actions and reasons and we’re getting everything secondhand. However, Hall washed away all my worries about this novel as it plays out like every other romance: cute and easy to read. I was shocked how easily it came together and where there were a few things I didn’t like, the originality of the novel won me over.
Hall crafted fourteen different perspectives from which we’d watch Lea and Gabe from, some being closer in relation to the main characters than others. There was the generic introduction to that particular person (or thing) and then the focus switched to the interaction between Lea and Gabe. I think my favourite narrator was Gabe’s brother. The fact that he is family really feeds into the story and how much we get to know about Gabe, since we can’t see into his mind, we have to see through him. Lea was a bit more difficult and she didn’t really stand out as much as Gabe. There’s an element of everyone appearing out of convenience, however when you read this book, you have to know that this would occur. My least favourite narrator is the one everyone seems to go on about, but I really hated the squirrel. I get the quirkiness of having a squirrel narrate but it really didn’t work for me. I did however love the bench narration. I thought that voice in particular was well written.
I finished the book feeling as satisfied as if I’d read a romance novel in first person, however I can’t say I’m not curious what it’d be like if we did get to get into their heads. For starters, I wonder if they picked up on their ‘watchers’ or if they just thought that was the way everyone was. I would presume that they had some sort of feeling about being watched, they aren’t exactly a subtle bunch.