Heat Factor: It’s wholesomely sparky, but in a youthful way
Character Chemistry: Emma and Sophia are combative and then cuddly, and it’s extremely cute
Plot: Omg, guys, it’s Much Ado About Nothing but YA and Bi. Hearts just SHOOTING out of my eyes and also I completely forgot how ridiculous teenagers are?
Overall: This is a really sweet and surprisingly complicated book set to the tune of Much Ado About Nothing, and it was lovely.
I haven’t read a Young Adult in a long time, and I know this type of romance is often hotly debated in Romancelandia, but…it was a really fun read.
First, I don’t know how, but I completely forgot how instantly deep, irrationally hormonal, and also, utterly self-absorbed to the point of near self-destruction teenagers are. This is not me criticizing the book. This is the truth about teenagers and younger adults, and I’ll fight you on it if you disagree. Luckily, this book somehow manages to portray this unfortunately very accurate dynamic without making the kids seem unlikeable. They’re kids. They’re figuring out how to fall in love and it’s just a real mess. Add hormones and the gradual awareness that life is completely unfair and you have yourself a nicely done coming of age.
Second, I practically grew up on Much Ado About Nothing. It’s Keanu Reeves’ best movie. This is another thing I’ll fight you on. (I feel like the drama of this book rubbed off on me, or something.) So when I realized we were getting set up for a fresh, new take on perhaps the best of Shakespeare’s comedies (see; fight you), I was instantly into it.
I really loved that the characters examined relationships and their sexuality in raw and transparent ways. Emma is bi, and Sophia is lesbian. The way they intersect ended up speaking a lot to how it must feel to have to keep such a huge part of your identity guarded and safe until you’re able to come out, and I appreciated being able to see the insightful and sensitive way Emma handles it with her parents. It’s illuminating and thoughtfully done. It’s also tender and not at all sexy, which for an adult reading YA was much appreciated.
It doesn’t hurt that Emma and Sophia were practically crackling with witty comebacks and snappy retorts and went from that to some kind of emotionally chemical fusing. You knew things were going to fall apart smashingly, and I wasn’t disappointed. It was charming, funny, and touching.
If you like YA and you have good taste in Shakespeare, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this fresh and fun take. You’ll get as much a kick out of teenagers in general as you will reading Emma and Sophia snipe and then swoon for one another.
I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.
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