Thursday, June 25, 2020

The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth: The Sapphic Teen RomCom of My Dreams

The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth
Published: June 9th, 2020
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Contemporary YA Romantic Comedy/LGBTQ+
# of pages: 368
My rating: 4.5 stars
Acquired this book: From the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for honest consideration
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Buy: Amazon Canada || Amazon US || Indigo 

Saoirse doesn’t believe in love at first sight or happy endings. If they were real, her mother would still be able to remember her name and not in a care home with early onset dementia. A condition that Saoirse may one day turn out to have inherited. So she’s not looking for a relationship. She doesn’t see the point in igniting any romantic sparks if she’s bound to burn out.

But after a chance encounter at an end-of-term house party, Saoirse is about to break her own rules. For a girl with one blue freckle, an irresistible sense of mischief, and a passion for rom-coms.

Unbothered by Saoirse’s no-relationships rulebook, Ruby proposes a loophole: They don’t need true love to have one summer of fun, complete with every cliché, rom-com montage-worthy date they can dream up—and a binding agreement to end their romance come fall. It would be the perfect plan, if they weren’t forgetting one thing about the Falling in Love Montage: when it’s over, the characters actually fall in love…for real.

As a lifelong romcom lover, the premise of The Falling in Love Montage appealed to me immediately. The fact it’s a sapphic teen romcom set in Ireland...well, even just typing that makes me squee because I’ve been waiting for a book like this for so long and it was everything I hoped it would be and then some. I don’t seem to have the best luck with YA f/f books, but this one is without a doubt an instant new favourite.

I loved Saoirse from the first page - she was smart, sassy, stubborn, irreverent, and hilarious. I related to her on many levels, and she made me laugh out loud and frustrated me in equal measure. She had one of the most distinct voices I’ve read in a long time, which made it easy to really sink into this book and into her world. She was realistically flawed (she even referred to herself as a 'stroppy teenager' at one point, which made me laugh so hard because she was indeed that), and even when she frustrated me, I understood and sympathized with her.

This book did such a great job of balancing humour and deep emotion. Saoirse tried so hard to keep things light, but she had a lot to deal with, and it affected all the relationships in her life. While I laughed myself silly throughout most of the book, there were several scenes that made my heart hurt and had me tearing up.

The romance between Saoirse and Ruby was so sweet and fun. I loved their banter and their (mis)adventures. There were so many things I appreciated about their romance: 1) They were both out and proud - it was simply a fact of life and not something that was explained or dwelled on or hidden. 2) The fact Ruby was curvy and described in ways that, as a fat girl, made me smile (her ‘soft belly’ really stood out to me for some reason, maybe because I’m used to reading about ‘taut, flat bellies’). 3) The fact we got more than longing looks, innocent touches, and maybe a kiss or two, which is what we usually get from sapphic fiction, especially YA. In YA books with straight characters, we see teens making out and maybe even having sex, so why shouldn’t that be the case for f/f YA too?

Fresh, fun, funny, and full of feels (and great side characters - I’d totally read a book about Oliver, just saying!), The Falling in Love Montage is a new favourite. I can’t wait to see what Ciara Smyth writes next.

Have you read The Falling in Love Montage? Are you a romcom fan? What are some of your favourites - either books or movies?

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