I just finished two very enjoyable books for Utah Books Month. And they're kind of alike. And I'm kind of running out of August to post about them. So I'm doing a little combo dealy.
My Ridiculous, Romantic Obsessions
by Becca Wilhite
Back When You Were Easier to Love
by Emily Wing Smith
Everyone can see what's going on but the main girl
Everyone can see what's going on but the main girl, and they try to enlighten her
Boys have feelings, too
Also, a jerk face boy
Dramatic reveal in verse
The Short Story:
MRRO - Sarah is a new college freshman and can't believe her luck when she starts hanging out with Ben. He's cute and funny and nice and way out of her league. But he doesn't seem to think so.
A cute new adult romance. 3.5/5
BWYWEtL - Joy is a California transplant to a tiny Utah town. When her boyfriend Zan up and leaves senior year, she doesn't know what happened. So off she goes on a roadtrip with Zan's ex-friend Noah to try to win him back.
Smart and occasionally biting, but only for the right audience. 4/5
Why I Liked It:
MRRO - Sarah is such a funny character! I spent most of the beginning of the book reminiscing on her (and my) dating mishaps. She's very likable, and all her scenes with Ben are cute. I was a bit annoyed at first by her calling herself chubby/hippy/etc, considering her actual size. But as the book went on I could see where she got those kinds of ideas about herself. And I could relate to that more than I wanted to admit. Also, the misunderstandings and mishaps in the book made me say "no!" Out loud. More than once. I was very invested in the characters.
BWYWEtL - This is totally a Utah book. I loved the themes of identity and religion vs. culture (which is a big thing in Utah. It can be tough to figure out where doctrine ends and habit/style/personal opinion begins) Joy was an interesting character, who was sympathetic but also pathetic. In a way I had to admire her desire to to have what happened with Zan spelled out for her. As a reader, you know it's going to be a train wreck, and it doesn't disappoint. But I could relate to her misguided hopefulness, too. (Have I mentioned how happy I am to be out of the dating game? Being married is all the good things) Noah was also flawed but cute. His Homecoming scene was one of my most favorite parts of the book.
Don't Think About This Too Hard:
MRRO - The level of Sarah's denial about Ben's feelings got to be a bit much. It was a little frustrating to read about. And like most cute stories like this, I wanted more at the end.
BWYWEtL - I don't know how well this book would work if you aren't at least a little familiar with Utah culture. I mean, the book will make sense, but I think a lot of the tone and feeling (and sarcasm) won't. I read one review on Goodreads that said they couldn't figure out if the book was making fun of Mormons or trying to be supportive of them. It's too bad. It's an excellent book if you're familiar with what it's about.
The Big Three:
MRRO - no issues
BWYWEtL - a few h-e-double hockey sticks