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, somethingis 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….
A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I have been waiting, what seems like forever, for the first Swoon Reads publication – I mean, I feel like they created this line just for me! If you know me at all, you know I live for the swoons I get when reading. I know I’m not the only one out there that feels this way, and I’m so excited for all the books they’ve got on the horizon.
The title of this book is exactly what you will find inside. A Little Something Different is the story of Lea and Gabe and how everyone knows they should be together… except apparently them. And when I say everybody, I mean everybody… and everything. You see, this story isn’t told from our characters points of view, instead we get the story via everyone and everything that they encounter. Lea’s roommate, Gabe’s brother, the waitress at the diner, the bus driver, the bench they sit on … and yes, there is a squirrel.
It’s quirky and definitely a little different. And while I love the idea of this in theory, this just sort of fell short for me. I loved getting to know these characters through friends and family and people who barely know them, but it just sort of felt a little bit off for the same reason. I never really felt any kind of connection to either one of them. Everyone from the Creative Writing Professor to Gabe’s best friend could see how perfect they were together, but I just didn’t feel it. To me it’s more than the casual glance or the nervous feelings… I need to see them interacting and I need to take part in their conversations … I mean the serious ones where they are getting to know each other, and I just don’t think that there was enough of that.
I do think that this was an incredibly unique way to tell the story and even though I hesitated a bit when I realized all the viewpoints involved, I’m glad I read it. Both Gabe and Lea are shy and inexperienced and incredibly awkward and seeing those kinds of interactions really made this a sweet and fun story but I feel like too much time is spent on the miscommunication and misunderstandings and hearing about all the reasons they should realize they should be together, instead of actually getting to see them together. I will tell you that I was disappointed in the swoon to non-swoon ratio when I finished. Are there some sweet parts – sure, but from “swoon reads” I feel like there should have been more. I also felt that even though this story is essentially college aged kids, it could be marketed towards the younger YA crowd. The writing was almost too young feeling to me and I never felt like these were college kids except when they were sneaking into bars and getting drunk. I think I was expecting a bit more based on the ages of the characters.
That said, I did find myself enjoying this for the most part, and it’s a quick, light read that you could pick up and finish in a few hours. If you don’t mind a slow-burn kind of story and are looking for a unique way to tell a story, definitely grab this one when you can – I’ll be over here waiting for more swoons from Swoon Reads!
Thank you to the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for my honest thoughts.