10 Hours 19 Mins | Harper Audio | Contemporary YA | 1/05/2021
16-year-old Tessa Johnson loves to write romance. When her family relocates to Long Beach she gets to attend a writing conservatory. But during her first writing class, all her story ideas vanish. She decides the best course of action to jumpstart her romance writing mojo is by falling in love IRL.
Tessa sets her eyes on Nico, the brooding dark-haired, rich boy who looks like he walked out of one of her stories while being completely oblivious to Sam, the goofy boy next door who drives her to school everyday.
This is your standard YA love triangle contemporary. I think a lot of bookish teens will relate to a heroine who lives most of her life in fictional pages. Bryant adeptly touches on Tessa’s feelings of anxiety and imposter syndrome as she starts to share her work with more people.
But I was just a bit exhausted by all the microaggressions and racial profiling Tessa endures throughout the story. Her love interests reactions to the trauma are used as a *wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge* to let you know which of the white guys she is choosing between is the “good one.” It was just hard seeing the heroine being traumatized repeatedly in a book billed as a rom-com.
I did some of this on audio. Narrator Jordab Cobb’s gives an energetic performance to the varied cast of art students populating this world.
I’m a lifelong reader who started blogging about YA books in 2011 but now I read in just about every genre! I love YA coming of age stories, compelling memoirs and genre bending SFF. You can find me talking all things romance at Romance and Sensibility.