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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

ARC Review: The Romantics by Leah Konen

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29917071-the-romantics?ac=1&from_search=true
Please Note:  I received an ARC Copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This does not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (from GoodReads):
Gael Brennan is about to have his heart broken when his first big relationship crumbles on the heels of his parents’ painful separation. Love intervenes with the intention of setting things right—but she doesn’t anticipate the intrusion of her dreaded nemesis: the Rebound. Love’s plans for Gael are sidetracked by Cara, Gael’s hot-sauce-wielding “dream girl.” The more Love meddles, the further Gael drifts from the one girl who can help him mend his heart. Soon Love starts breaking all her own rules—and in order to set Gael’s fate back on course, she has to make some tough decisions about what it means to truly care.

Review:
I am a mood reader.  In order to fully enjoy a novel, I really need to be in the right state of mind.  

                 
via GIPHY

I had just finished a very gloomy, emotional book (A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith) and I was looking to read something lighter.  Although the tone of this book was whimsical, it had a lot to say about how our culture and experiences shape our views about love. With it's exploration of the impact of divorce on teens, this fun book had more depth than I expected. 

What I Liked:
Narration:  
It was so clever to make Love an actual character in this book.  This device enabled the reader to see into each character's mind and understand why they were behaving as they did.  Love was also able to explain the backstory of Gael's parents' courtship and marriage, which makes it all the more tragic when they split up.

Characters:
I really enjoyed all the teens who were on the cusp of becoming who they were meant to be.  There are moments in every young person's life where choices are made that will affect their entire lives:  Do I go to college or get a job?  Will I try to hold on to my friendships and romantic relationships from high school?  Am I ready to strike out on my own (and possibly fail)?  Many of the characters are faced with some dilemma that will have major repercussions.

If you read my reviews on a regular basis, I am very critical of YA books that indulge in "missing parent" syndrome.  You know what I mean:  
  • Mom left home when I was a toddler, and dad is a mess.  
  • Mom and dad are so successful, they ignore me until I do something egregious.  
  • Dad divorced mom and we haven't heard from him for years (in fairness, sometimes this does occur, but you get what I mean).  
When I see that, it is an immediate red flag in my book.  It just isn't realistic.  That's why I particularly enjoyed the two parents of Gael.  It wasn't so much that they were always there in Gael's life, it was because they were fully formed characters with complex feelings for each other.  They were the inspiration (and the cautionary tale) that motivates Love to intervene on Gael's behalf.

What I didn't Like:
The Grand Gesture:
Now, of course, this kind of event is expected in a lighthearted romantic YA book.  But this novel takes the grand declaration way beyond even what the silliest movie Rom-Coms would do.  It seemed to suggest that if Gael's timing were off, somehow he would never get to express his feelings for a certain girl.  It would have also meant that this girl's feelings for Gael would have fizzled out, if not for The Grand Gesture.  I found that to be ridiculous.  

Aside from the silly ending, I loved how this book showed how children and teens are really affected by a divorce.  Not only is it had to live between two households (and deal with two sets of rules and consequences), but seeing a loving relationship deteriorate into bitterness and hate is devastating for kids.  I think this book shows that no matter how long you are with someone, without careful tending, even the best relationship can falter.


https://www.amazon.com/Romantics-Leah-Konen/dp/1419721933/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1477975180&sr=8-4&keywords=the+romantics
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-romantics-leah-konen/1123675761?ean=9781419721939

https://www.bookdepository.com/Romantics/9781419721939



Rating: 



Release Date:  November 1st, 2016

Genre:  YA contemporary Romance

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  ARC E-Book

Recommendation:  An entertaining meditation on love and divorce.  You may be surprised by how the characters grab onto you and stay in your mind long after the the last page is read.

 
 

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