- First published in 2022 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
- Format: Audiobook
- Narrators: Natalie Naudus and Valentina Ortiz
- Listening Speed: 1.2x
- Reading Time: 6 thrilling days
- A rather trickier prompt than I expected this time. I DNFed my first choice of a sapphic book so, on a whim, I decided to pick this one up for the Popsugar Reading Challenge. Alex Blackwood certainly knows how to get a girl but she can never keep them. Molly, on the other hand, dissolves into a puddle of nerves at the very thought of talking to her crush, the pretty and brilliant Cora. By extraordinary coincidence, both of them end up on the same college campus. Alex finds out about Molly’s crush and sees an opportunity to show her distant girlfriend that she isn’t a self-centred, commitment-averse flirt. She offers to help Molly ‘get her girl’ and, while Molly is not at all sure she can trust Alex, she realises this might be her only hope.
- Unfailingly good pacing. There was never a dull moment and the book packed in plenty to keep the reader’s interest other than the romance lessons. It’s not very big on the side characters as it rightfully kept almost all of the focus on Alex and Molly but the side characters we do get were done well. Molly has a supportive family that always mean well but can be supportive to a fault sometimes. Alex does…not have a supportive family but she has a surly boss with a questionable view on driving safety. No spoilers but he does turn out alright in the end.
- The way the authors portray both girls and their respective problems was so well done. Alex is also socially gifted but, sometimes, that’s to her detriment and she falls into flirting without even realising it. Molly’s social anxiety was also done incredibly well. She isn’t just someone who struggles to figure out what to say to someone she likes. She’s someone who has a full blown meltdown when the slightest thing goes wrong and her first thought after that is to hide and call her mum. I appreciate authors who are fully committed to fleshing out their characters’ flaws. It makes them feel so much more real and all the easier to root for.
- Has brilliant narrators that both sound distinct from each other. Even if they didn’t, the authors gave both POV characters distinct narrative voices so you would never mistake one for the other. Certainly an improvement on The Coldest Touch.
- Excellent humour. I’m not usually into second-hand-embarrassment humour but this didn’t push things too far and, though Molly is often the butt of the jokes, it never feels like the book is making fun of her out of spite. You’ll be laughing and groaning in sympathy for her every time and Alex gets a few embarrassing moments to balance it out so it’s all good.
- Not just dealing with their difference in personalities but also in their situations. I loved how the authors showed the way different economic situations can change a person’s perspective on the world. It’s clear that Alex can’t afford to think about what she wants to study – only what she needs to keep herself out of financial ruin. It nicely deconstructs the ‘follow-your-dreams’ adage and shows that you can only do it if you can afford it or if you have a reliable safety net in case things go wrong. In addition, Alex’s mother suffers from alcoholism and the way the authors show it had me on edge every time her mum got in touch. The reader just knows it won’t end well and it’s just a matter of waiting to see how bad things were going to be this time.
- The romance was nicely built up in the background. I think anyone who goes into this book will know it’s going to happen so they aren’t surprised when it does. I worried for a moment that the authors might spring it on the readers but I was happy to see the pair of them slowly starting to trust each other over shared experiences and just realising how much they have in common despite all their differences. They had some very sweet scenes and it never felt like jeopardy was thrown in their way for the sake of dragging out the drama. It all felt natural and oh so sweet.
- I’m going to skirt the edge of spoilers here so skip to the next point if you want to avoid them. I like the way the authors showed a couple with absolutely no chemistry. It would have been so easy to make one of them a mean girl masquerading as the perfect girlfriend. However, the authors chose to make her a lovely girl but someone who is just not suited for the other person at all.
- Climax had my heart in my mouth all the way, wondering how on earth things were all going to work out. You will probably be able to predict how it ends but that doesn’t mean it’s any less enjoyable. The authors certainly know how to make two memorable and loveable characters. They also know how to make what threatened to be a very cliche story into a gripping and engaging romance. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a well written sapphic romance.
Goodreads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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