This book has a lot of potential but I couldn’t connect with the main characters or the writing style
Book CWs: For a list of content/trigger warnings for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com!
Premise (from Goodreads)
Declan has commitment issues. He’s been an office temp for literally years now, and his friends delight in telling people that he left his last boyfriend at the altar.
And that’s all true. But he’s starting to think it’s time to start working on his issues. Maybe.
When Declan meets Sidney—a popular nonbinary YouTuber with an advice show—an opportunity presents itself: as part of The Love Study, Declan will go on a series of dates arranged by Sidney and report back on how the date went in the next episode.
The dates are…sort of blah. It’s not Sidney’s fault; the folks participating are (mostly) great people, but there’s no chemistry there. Maybe Declan’s just broken.
Or maybe the problem is that the only person he’s feeling chemistry with is Sidney.
Review (No Spoilers)
I really wanted to like this book. The premise is 100% up my lane and I actually ignored my August TBR to read this book as soon as possible. In the end, what didn’t work out for me was a mixture of writing style and pacing.
If I had to describe how this book is written, I think the best way would be to say that it reminded me of what a transcription of a video diary might sound like. There are a lot of “um”s, “like”s, “…”s, and question marks (to indicate a raise in pitch rather than a real question) in the narrative that you don’t normally see in adult novels.
To explain what I mean, here are two quotes from my copy of the book:
‘Um, but yeah, I don’t know, it seemed like I wasn’t adult enough for romantic relationships so I just didn’t go there. Like, other people wanted to go out for fancy dinners and I wanted, I don’t know, to stay home and bake cookies together.’
I was super happy for my friends getting married. And also? Part of me? Couldn’t wait until it was over.
While this type of formatting might work for YA novels, I felt like it didn’t quite fit in with the age bracket of our characters (who were around 30 years old). I often felt like the characters behaved like teenagers rather than established adults.
Another thing that bothered me about the writing was that I felt like everyone was constantly tripping over themselves about what the most PC way to say something was. Here is one example:
“It’s seven a.m. Who doesn’t look bad at this time of day?”
He glanced up. “You don’t look bad, Declan.” He winced. “Shit, I don’t mean that in a harassment way, I’m not hitting on you. I just mean it looks like you took a shower this morning.”
Interactions like these happened so often that reading conversations between characters was actually quite exhausting. At some point in the book, a Black character mentions that attempting sensitivity can actually be worse than not attempting sensitivity, which encompassed my feelings about a majority of these awkward scenes.
That being said, I think this book has a lot of potential. I would have liked Declan to go on more dates and for the chemistry between him and Sidney to have more time to build, but I can’t deny the fact that they shared many cute moments together. And though this book is full of queer characters of different genders and sexualities, there was absolutely no focus on queer pain/tragedy which is something that I very much appreciated.
I also always enjoy when books include supportive side/background characters and Declan’s friend group basically consists of the most supportive people you could imagine. Although it seems the next book in this series will be about Oscar (there was a sneak peak at the end), I’d really like to read a book about Mason as I felt he had a lot of character depth that wasn’t fully explored.
Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a free eARC in exchange for an honest review! If you’re looking for a feel-good, light-on-drama novel with lots of queer rep, then I’d recommend checking out The Love Study, either on NetGalley or when it comes out in September!