“It’s always the hope that gets me.”
This book felt really raw and honest, and it spoke to me on more levels than I expected. The premise is pretty straightforward, but getting to know the characters is where this book fully departs from every fake-fiance trope I’ve ever read. And it’s a beautiful thing.
I felt for Ellie so much reading this book. She’s in her 20s but a lot of her experiences are probably pretty universal, and yet this didn’t feel like a patronizing story or anything even close. It was like sitting down with a friend and commiserating over bad choices and embarrassing situations while you were still learning to be an adult. Ellie was a gifted student and artist, and excelled – until she got her first “real” job which was also her dream job, and ended up being laid off. She fell utterly in love with someone who seemed perfect for her and made her feel things she’d never felt before – and then managed to muck it up. She was living in a hovel and desperate for money and working a terrible job, her best friend was in a totally different state, and her parents are the worst but it doesn’t stop her from wanting their love and approval. It was like a checklist for me, just sort of going “yep, been there” as I’m sure many other readers will also feel. I vacillated between wanting to hug Ellie because I knew exactly what she was feeling and wanting to shake her to try to get her to just open up about everything. Of course, the desire for communication comes from years of learning how to do so, something that Ellie doesn’t quite get a handle on until the end of the book. I truly loved this book, but the reason why I give it just shy of 5* is because we see a ton of Ellie’s growth all at the end. Seriously, it all happens in like the last eighth of the book. Don’t get me wrong – that last eighth takes place over like nearly two months, but it still felt like a lot all of a sudden. It was absolutely great to see and made me really happy to see Ellie learn that she has friends, that there are people that care about her, that she doesn’t have to deal with a crappy mother just because Linds birthed her, but it gave me a bit of a whiplash. I think it’s safe to say Ellie was working towards that point throughout the book, but the big climax at the end is what pushes it into overdrive.
One thing that must be said is that Cochrun does a really great job of representing queer people and different spectrums of the sexuality scale so well. I desperately want someone to talk to Netflix about turning this into a movie because it would be perfect for that kind of media adaptation and I want to see these characters brought to life on screen.
This was an amazing holiday read, and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.
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GBC Reader Reviews