A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Published: August 26
Genre: young adult, romance
Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese good, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is a little aloof, Gabe is shy, and it looks like they are never going to work things out.
But something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at the local Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV series. The 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 Lea and Gabe were meant to be together.
Fourteen points of view, and none of them are Lea and Gabe’s. Like watching a TV show or living vicariously through friends, join a barista, bus driver, bench, brother, three friends, two classmates, a squirrel, a professor and her wife, a Chinese take-out guy, and a waitress as they observe the nervous Lea and shy Gabe circle around one another for an entire year. Mixed signals, misunderstood words and body language, and near misses capture the hilarity and innocence of first love.
I have to admit, I read this book at just the right time. I needed something light and quick and adorable — this was just the ticket. (Plus, seriously, there’s a squirrel’s POV in this book. Bingo!)
While at times it seemed ridiculous these two could be so shy and awkward around one another, the friends and observers were incredibly understanding to their situation. Here’s this freshman girl, excited and nervous about college but ready for something new — and along comes this tall, awkward older guy who seems interested in her but incredibly shy. She has next-to-no experience, so her friends offer words of encouragement and advice that backfire when Lea puts it into action. Now, here’s this shy older guy, once a baseball star but no longer on the college team and without a scholarship. He seems to have trouble hearing the people around him, and has gone through some tough stuff in the last year that’s pulled him out of school. Top it off with being a shy, quiet guy, and his friends completely understand why he’s not making any moves.
What I loved most about this book was the fact it’s never — not once! — told through Lea or Gabe’s perspective. The reader is forced to be a third-party observer just like everyone else. I loved that! It felt just like watching my friends (and complete strangers!) tip-toe around one another, the small steps towards love. Each section was just long enough to get a good scene in, and just short enough to make you want to read more and into another’s perspective. I blew through this, I enjoyed it immensely.
For a first Swoon Reads publication, this is incredibly fun, adorable, lovely, and sweet! Well done!