Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

Summary (from Goodreads):
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, something is 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....
I can honestly say I have never read anything like this before. I’m not used to squirrels and benches having points of view in stories (especially contemporary/non fantasy ones). The only thing I can remotely compare this to is A.S. King’s Please Ignore Vera Dietz, in which a certain place had a point of view. I knew it was going to be something I’d either love to pieces or get utterly sick of. And well, I guess, both kind of happened.
At first, I loved it. First off, one of the key factors connecting the two main characters was a mutual affection for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I immediately loved them and their creative writing teacher after a small moment in which the musical was quoted. Yes. This was awesome. I also found it completely hilarious to hear a bench talk about people’s butts. And I loved the squirrel who knew who to go to for crumbs. I took it as a bit of an over the top comedy for a college romance, and what’s not to like about that?
I liked the point of view switches. And I loved learning that I’m possibly not the only one alive who creates stories about strangers in their head. I loved the idea of baristas, waitresses, and bus drivers making their day more interesting by creating a romance in their minds. This is definitely something I’ve done.
However, after a while, the humor kind of loses its luster. The bench talking about butts was mostly funny the first two times. And I’m not sure how believable the extent and length all these strangers, at the same time, go for people they don’t know. It goes just a tad past over the top, to a little overdone for me. I was super looking forward to a resolution, by half way through the book. And it took a long time to come.
I can see this book not being for everybody. I wish some of the jokes ended a little bit sooner. Yet, I love that this author did something quirky and different. I like reading things I have not read before. And I certainly love a good college romance. I give it an 8/10.

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