August 14, 2014

Latest Read: A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
Publication date: Aug. 24, 2014
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Category: Young/New Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received ARC from publisher (Thanks!)
Summary: 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, everyone can see it and conspire to push them together. Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together... (Adapted goodreads.com)

The good
A Little Something Different is the story of two people who would be perfect together — Gabe and Lea — told from the perspectives of everyone but them. We hear the opinions of their friends, the bus driver, Starbucks barista, their creative writing professor, classmates. Even an on-campus bench and squirrel have an opinion (yes, you read that right). It’s a unique storytelling style that honestly didn’t quite work for me but I nevertheless appreciated its creativity and cuteness factor.

What was interesting to me is that we get a pretty good sense of who Gabe and Lea are despite never hearing their own thoughts. Lea seems like a sweet, slightly shy girl who is genuinely interested in Gabe. Gabe is funny with his friends but around Leah he can’t find the words to speak and switches between hot and cold. It’s immediately hinted that something happened to him last year which explains his actions, but we (and Lea) don’t find that out until much later. It’s a lot of back and forth as these two nice but somewhat awkward kids try to get it together while random people watch them equal parts fascinated and frustrated at their slow moving “relationship”. Which I understood. If I could, I would’ve locked those two in a room and let them kiss it out just so they could stop mooning over each other.

(Major) reservations
As much as I appreciated the concept of the book, it wasn’t for me. I felt a certain distance to the characters because of it. The point-of-views switched practically every other page and it’s important to me to know the two people I’m supposed to root for. While their conversations with friends were telling, it wasn’t enough. I like getting a glimpse into a person’s head and hearing the thoughts they don’t necessarily share with others. The whole book was sort of.. fleeting but dragging at the same time. The will-they-won’t-they between Lea and Gabe goes on for 90% of the book and their reasons for miscommunication were just silly. ONE conversation could’ve solved it all. Granted, then there would’ve been no book. But it feel like it took half the book for them to just introduce themselves to each other officially.

Do I recommend?
It’s cute and unique and I can see why people would enjoy this but it wasn’t my cup of tea. Still, if you’re curious I encourage you to check it out for yourself and decide.

Collaborative feature with Alexa! 

What was your favorite class in college?
This might surprise everyone but my favorite class was Gender & Popular Culture. Since high school, I've always had a tendency to click with my English and/or Writing teachers (which is why most of them were confused that I went into computer science) and college was no different. I loved this class SO much! I loved writing papers for it, I loved listening, the discussions, dissecting women's roles in books, movies and media. The professor loved me and tried to convince me to switch or at least minor in English. But I was determined to stick with comp sci even though I hated it. Still, her class and her teaching made an impression on me and to this day, I still have all my graded papers for that class at the bottom of my closet at my parents' house. 

3 comments:

  1. This concept is honestly so cool and kudos to Sandy for coming up/writing it, but I can totally see how it didn't work out for you. I think it's really hard to connect with characters when you're not really in their head. The other POVs might be distracting from the main couple. And too many opinions can be really fleeting. I'm definitely curious though, and might still pick it up!

    That's so cool that you loved your Pop Culture class! It sounds so engaging. I didn't know you majored in Comp Sci! I've heard it's very difficult :O I'm only a senior in high school, so I have no idea yet! Thanks for sharing your review and your favorite class in college :)

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  2. I really thought the concept of A Little Something Different was fun! It just seems like the type of book that people who ship people (AKA most of the crazy awesome book blogger community) would enjoy purely because every single character ships Gabe and Lea.

    I think it's great that you enjoyed that class the most! It seems like it would be a fascinating course to take, and I think I'd learn a lot of things if I'd taken something similar. (PS - I keep old graded papers from some of my college classes too!)

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  3. I really agree! It wasn't for me either. I felt like it was silly -- especially at COLLEGE age -- to have that kind of back and forth for months at a time. Really almost a whole year. I couldn't quite get on board with it and I'm totally okay with switching POVs but I agree -- we didn't get to spend time with the narrators and since the opinions changed every other page due to a different narrator, I just didn't get to know Gabe & Lea very well either.

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