Arch-nemeses Emma, a die-hard romantic, and more-practical minded Sophia find themselves competing against one another for a coveted first-prize trip to a film festival in Los Angeles . . . what happens if their rivalry turns into a romance? For fans of Becky Albertalli’s Leah on the Offbeat, full of laugh-out-loud humor and make-your-heart-melt moments.
Thank you to NetGalley and Underlined for this e-arc in exchange for an honest review!
I’m always looking for a funny, feel good romance that is queer. I so very much wanted to love this book, but I only ended up liking it. I felt that overall, there were some really good points in the book, and at other times the book fell really low and didn’t do anything for me. First off, I want to say how much I loved the rep in this book. It was one of my favorite parts. We’ve got bi Emma (hi, yes, I am ALWAYS looking for a good bi character I can relate to!) and lesbian Sophia. I thought, what on earth could go wrong?
The writing is lovely. I felt that it was one of the best parts of the book. Desombre is a lovely writer, and I think the book was easy to read, and it flowed well overall. The writing was delightful and smooth, and I loved that part of the book. I was impressed by it.
Funny enough, I thought the pacing in this book was rather good. There were events causing others to happen, and I think the pacing worked. I never felt we got bogged down or were sped through something too fast. I think it was just right for what this book was. And sometimes with these romances, that happens. In this case I am pleased to say that the pacing and the writing together worked wonders.
I even mostly liked the plot. There were a couple moments in this book in which I thought the plot was rather “eh” overall, especially because I felt that it was dramatic. And I understand it was supposed to be dramatic. I just didn’t love that, and so for me, that’s something more personal rather than critical. One plot point I really did love was the discussion of sexuality that is really candid between Emma and Sophia. I really appreciated the nuanced conversations they have, and their remarks in general. It was done well.
The film plot was interesting, but I sometimes felt that it was awkward, or forced at times, but that may tie into my feelings on the characters themselves.
So, the characters. Surprisingly, I didn’t really hate either of the protagonists. I know I said I didn’t love this book, but I did like it. I liked it enough that I think it has some merit to it. While Emma was a rom-com diehard, and at times, I felt she was annoying, I also felt that it was a real enough quality, that Emma herself felt somewhat real. So when she aggravated me, I realized this was the author giving her flaws. Same for Sophia and her anti-love statements. However, I do think Sophia felt a little more fleshed out, and a bit of a stronger character. I enjoyed reading her portions far more than Emma’s.
The romance also felt a little forced, and a little too quick, but perhaps that is because of how it came about. It was nothing egregious, I just didn’t love the way it happened. I loved enemies to friends and so on, but this just didn’t quite work all the way for me.
I think it was a cute book. The cover is adorable, and I loved the idea. I even liked the characters. And as I said, it just didn’t fully work for me. This was not a bad book by any stretch of the imagination, it was rather lovely, but it wasn’t perfect for me personally. I am always looking for good bi rep, and this did have it. So, it does get good points for that!