Release Date: 26th August, 2014
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Add it: Goodreads
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 don’t often feel too old for a book but guys, this book really made me feel my age. I think what A Little Something Different was going for was sweet fluff but it honestly for me missed the mark and ended up just feeling very juvenile. Where do I begin, really? With the different POVs from not just people but benches and squirrels, complete with endless talk about comfortable butts and acorns (seriously) or the awkward, shy characters that were head over heels for each other but were too awkward and shy to do anything about their feelings?
I feel like I shouldn’t be so harsh with a book that honestly is light romance but there are some things that I found myself increasingly irritated by. There are a lot of cute teenage romances that I enjoyed – Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour and Anna and the French Kiss come to mind – but I just couldn’t get into this story at all. The characters, especially Lea and Gabe, didn’t inspire anything in me except boredom with a side of annoyance. Our two main characters who everyone just can’t help but want together are so boring; there’s a lot of back and forth of ‘does he/she like me’ with everyone else putting in their opinions but what this book does is something I can’t actually bear in any medium whatsoever. I don’t like being told that I should love this couple or that character. I want reasons why these characters are good together, I want to see them interact and grow around each other and as you can probably guess where I’m going with this, Lea and Gabe are a classic case of telling and not showing. Do I care what random characters think about these two at the end of the day if I haven’t spent enough time with them myself to have an opinion. Put it this way, I liked exactly one character and that was Victor, a grumpy guy who develops an irrational hatred of that cutesy guy and girl in his class, Me too, buddy, me too.
So this book fails in two major ways for me – this couple that are supposedly meant to be are actually not that great together or individually, but there are a few other things that really bugged me. I felt like one of the major draws for me to this book – the multiple POVs – were bland and in two cases, completely unnecessary other than to fill the gimmick quota. Seriously, a POV from a bench and a squirrel? Seriously? Neither POV adds anything to the storyline because both are just so abstract. But my least favourite thing about this book and the biggest reason I tuned out of the story completely was the attitude to women. There’s a whole thing with a side character, Hillary, who everyone hates because she likes Gabe and therefore is like, a terrible person because I don’t know, no-one in this book is over fifteen years old (that’s a joke, they’re COLLEGE students). She has a POV and surprisingly is vacuous and under-developed because this book really doesn’t want you to like her. Haha, girls, amirite. Even the teacher, (the TEACHER) hates Hillary because she gets in the way of the ship, I wish I was making this up, to the point where she tries to talk Hillary out of taking her class next semester so that Gabe and Lea have a chance. Um, except Hillary is offhandedly described as being pretty good at the subject and I just don’t understand anything at all. There’s this really kind of unpleasant undercurrent of the kinds of girls who are ‘nice’ and girls who ‘aren’t’ and I don’t want to read about it ever. I don’t care! I will never care! I hope Hillary sleeps with everyone and graduates with honours! And it’s not even limited to this one character – there’s another girl who’s described as a ‘bitch’ because she’s direct and blunt and unpleasant to customers (read: Gabe) during her shifts at a minimum wage job.
I mean this is a cute read if you overlook certain things and it definitely seems to be quite popular but for me it really wasn’t enjoyable. I didn’t even mean to rant like I did so I clearly needed to vent. It’s really not that hard to write romance without walking all over other girls is all I’m saying.