I received a copy from Netgalley.
This was one of those delightful books that I loved almost as soon as I started reading. A bit of cover lust as well (I loved the big fish on the front) I’ve not come across a lot of YA romantic/drama types from a male point of view before.
I was captivated immediately by Henry’s tone of voice and personality. I liked all of the characters in this one, except for Grace Town. I didn’t really like her much at all. But I really enjoyed the narrative and the build of the relationship and how she came into Henry’s world. Henry also had a great support system, some wonderful friends and some likeable parents, an older sister with a bit of a reputation as a troublemaker from when she was at school which had some lingering effects on Henry’s teachers (even though Henry and his sister are nothing alike, and the sister was kind of awesome too).
Grace Town comes in dressed in weird boys’ clothes looking very dull and while everyone stares she immediately gets Henry’s attention. They both end up working on the school newspaper with one of Henry’s other friends and develop a sort of tentative friendship, despite the fact that their personalities are very different. Henry is quippy and quirky while Grace is sullen and quiet and seems very brash. Yet Henry’s head over heels for her very quickly.
There’s one brilliant scene where Henry and his friend are asking the school gossip queen to dig up some information for them on Grace, and Henry’s friend Murray is looking for gossip on his ex who he’s trying to win back. And Murray actually uses The Simpsons quote “Everything’s coming up Millhouse” quote in the right context and it’s absolutely hilarious. The use of that quote alone was worth five stars.
As things progress and Henry learns more about Grace and gets to know her better, there’s parties, drinking, misinterpretation of feelings - do they love me do they not -– the usual things you find in teen romantic drama. A bit of sex as well which was handled very well. Nicely thought out and dealt with from both people involved considerate of each other and where they want to be.
It’s exceptionally well written and manages to go from being romantic and sweet to angsty and dramatic without being over the top. When you think things are going smoothly, it twists and becomes deeply emotional and made me sniffle a few times towards the end. It’s got a great cast of diverse characters, each character is fully developed with their own distinct personalities and storylines, interactive parents and family members. And manages to be both funny and hearbreaking and wraps up with a believable conclusion.
I loved this so much I purchased a finished copy before I was even half way through. Definitely something I can see myself reading again.
Thank you Netgalley and Bonnier Publishing for approving my request to view the title.