Published by Swoon Reads on August 26th, 2014
Genres: contemporary, young adult
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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 know I need to write this review now (the day after finishing) because I will forget everything about this book if I don’t. It was cute, adorable even, but it’s not particularly memorable and my brain has already started to dump the details.
A Little Something Different comes off like a college creative writing assignment. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if it’s executed well, and it sort of is and it sort of isn’t. The book is written from many different POVs–14 to be exact. A Chinese food delivery guy, a college professor, a squirrel, a bench…and they all tell the story of how Lea and Gabe met and how–or how they don’t–get together.
It’s fun, but it lacks substance. It’s a cute book with a simple premise, and I enjoyed reading it very much. But if it’s depth you are looking for, you won’t find it. We get to know Gabe and Lea through other characters’ lenses, and their experiences color how we see our lovebirds. And I never really felt like I knew Gabe or Lea, so though it was fun, I didn’t really care all that much if they got together or not. I was mostly just reading to see whether or not the author was able to pull this off.
Here was my biggest problem. When an author chooses to write from this many POVs, it is IMPERATIVE that each voice sounds different and unique, and brings something new to the table so I can tell the characters apart. All of Gabe’s friends (and brother) ran together. They all sounded the same. Same thing with Lea’s. So I didn’t know (or remember really) what POV I was reading from unless I flipped back to look, and that is not a good thing to have to do, in my opinion.
That said, it was a quick read, and it was fun. I always love reading about the college experience, and I enjoyed being back there again and being in creative writing class. I appreciated the diversity, and I appreciated being able to read something simple and escape. This book came to me during a very stressful time, and it took me away from my anxiety for a little bit, and for that I am very thankful. I have a short attention span, so if a book is able to keep it, I consider that a win. Also, considering that it takes me a long time to finish a book these days, and that I finished this one in a day and a half, I must have enjoyed it.
So it gets a little better than average rating for me. I would have liked to see a bit more depth (in the story AND the voice) but it was still a job well done.