Synopsis: I am Love, your trusty narrator. I’m here-ditching my cloak of mystery, talking to you straight- to tell you a love story. Gael Brennan is a serious type: a total Romeo, aka a Romantic. A high school senior who has no idea what I’ve got in store for him. Only one problem: Gael is about to fall head over heels for the wrong girl. And I’ve got to do everything in my power to stop him. Because there’s a reason dear Gael needs me in his life. A big one. And let’s just say it’s not so he’ll have someone to take to prom. Before you protest, let me assure you that I can’t force people to do anything. I don’t have a pouch full of arrows or a curio full of potions. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have my ways…
(I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.)
I fell in love with Gale Brennan’s story before it even began. The editor left a foreword of sorts telling of how the story impacted her life in a particular moment. Or rather, how the narrator impacted her life. You see, Leah Konen doesn’t tell just another love story where the two nerdy people end up together. No, Leah Konen tells a romantic comedy love story from the perspective of Love herself where nobody ends up with who they should.
The idea of the story being a sort of romantic comedy style story is an inside joke of itself. One of the main side characters (I guess you could call her a secondary character, but she really felt like a primary character.) Sammy Sutton, freshman at UNC, loves romantic comedy movies, but Gael Brennan loves Alfred Hitchcock. Throughout the story Sammy shows Gael different things he never experienced before, including romantic comedies. See how it’s a bit of an inside joke? You’ll just have to read the story to get it, I guess.
Anyways, The Romantics tells its story from a very different perspective. Leah Konen takes an idea and personifies it brilliantly into a loveable narrator. I think you could compare it to the narrator in The Book Thief being Death. (Am I correct in that? I ashamedly still need to read it.) The story easily could have been told from a number of perspectives, including Gael, but Love gives a sort of third person omniscient viewpoint, while also being in first person. Love knows everything going on, but she also gives it from a personal viewpoint. You, get it?
The format, however, is where I truly fell in love. Each chapter heading has a different “symbol” or image. Then, there are some drawings or sections of handwriting like a pros/cons list (You’ll have to read it so what about!), a texting conversation, and did I mention the cool drawings? I don’t normally mention formatting, but in some cases (like this book!) I love it. Footnotes even make an appearance in this book to describe the types of lovers who exist. I found it really interesting how Love broke down a complex idea into simple patterns of how people love each other. (It reminded me of an essay I had to write freshman year… but that’s a different story.)
Overall, I loved each character in the book. Due to the occasional different point of view chapters and flashback chapters in the book, I felt I connected with each character, whether they were secondary or primary, on a more personal level than most standalone books. Gael Brennan is the protagonist of the story, but it could be argued that many others are a close second. Mason, Anika, Sammy, Cara, etc. They all had separate chapters (If I remember correctly!) where they had their stories told.
This book, The Romantics, is a phenomenal read for year-round, all audiences, everything. I highly recommend it, and I rated it five stars on Goodreads!
Much love, XOXO,
~A Writer Named Charley~