I received this book for free from Book Expo America in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
Published by Swoon Reads on August 26th, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Source: Book Expo America
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 ment to be together....
As soon as I heard the premise of the book, I was sold. This book would have a 95% chance of success for me. 14 point of views all shipping two real life people, trying to get them together? SO PERFECT SO CUTE MUST HAS. Then that cover was revealed and my GRABBY HANDS came out to play. All my instincts were 100% correct: this book is adorable, feel good, happy making, and incredibly entertaining.
So the premise of A Little Something Different is that Gabe and Lea, two college students sharing a creative writing class, are just perfect for each other – but both are too shy and uncertain to do anything about it. The match, however, is obvious to almost everyone else, and so we follow 14 POVs of characters surrounding Gabe and Lea, as they watch the relationship slowly transform and bloom.
How ingenious is this plot, though, seriously? For anyone who identifies themselves as a fangirl or fanboy who loves their romance and their ships, THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU. Obviously part of it’s success hinges on whether or not you too will like Gabe and Lea as a couple. We don’t actually see their thoughts, but we see their behaviors through the eyes of their friends, professors, roommates, etc., and I think they are 20 different kinds of adorable. They’re both shy and quiet, but that makes them so much cuter. If you are the romance fan that needs driving action and hot make out scenes, however, they might let you down a bit – because the relationship is just sugary sweet and develops extremely slowly.
Though this could be classified as New Adult for the college setting and ages of the characters, it’s not NA in terms of sexiness – let’s just be clear on that. But I didn’t miss the heat, because it really was so relatable as someone who frequently roots for couples to get together in books, TV shows, movies, etc. It may be a little cliche, but it was the fluffy sweetness that I needed on a hot summer day, as the drought of my own love life had shriveled my heart to dust.
So what are these POVs that are explored in the book if not Lea and Gabe’s? Well, as said, friends and roommates. But there are the more funny ones that make this story completely laugh-out-loud funny and SO entertaining. First of all there’s the Squirrel. The Squirrel roams the college campus in search of his acorns, because WHERE DID HE HIDE THEM? CAN HE FIND THEM AGAIN? The mystery persists. No, I’m kidding, but he gets fed by Lea and grows to like her, while he grows to tolerate Gabe.
There’s also the Bench, who observes a couple conversations between Lea, Gabe, and their friends over the course of the year, while also providing a meaningful commentary on the value of good butts. You may think I’m joking. I’m really not.
I’m the oldest bench on this green and I get no respect.So now you know. Respect your benches. No but seriously, at that point, I was basically on the floor laughing.
I’d like to say there are worthwhile things about the job. And maybe sometimes there are. Sometimes you get a really perfect butt; however, all rear ends are not created equal.
The one currently seated upon me is the kind I appreciate, it’s the kind of behind that I would invite back time and again if I had the ability to speak. And the best part is that it seems to be attached to a person who wants nothing more than to sit. No chatting, no moving around, no graffiti or gum. I could get used to this. A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
But there are more human POVs as well, which perfectly display the full range of levels of shipping. There’s the professor of the creative writing class, Inga, who picks out Gabe and Lea in her first lecture and instantly knows that’s the couple that she’s going to try to get together that semester. She tries her best to devise situations in which they are forced to talk and work together and gushes about their cuteness to her wife (lesbian couple ftw). On the other side of the spectrum, there’s Victor, their classmate, who is the most hilarious pessimist who hates everything – ESPECIALLY how cute and perfect Gabe and Lea are for each other (or, Big Foot and Giraffe, as he lovingly calls them). In between, there are more passive observers: the bus driver who notices they come and go from the same stops but never talk to each other, the barista whose colleagues are big shippers and gradually gets drawn in herself by Lea and Gabe’s frequent and weirdly coincidental encounters at the Starbucks, the Chinese food delivery guy who is baffled by identical orders coming from the same dorm for two different people at the same time… Every single POV is distinct and extremely entertaining, which speaks to the quality of Sandy Hall’s writing.
The level of entertainment is, obviously, extremely high – but the relationship doesn’t just thrive on the meet-cute idea and all these fate-like moments that indicate that Lea and Gabe are perfect for each other. Nor is their relationship perfect when it finally does evolve. Both Lea and Gabe – but particularly Gabe – have some issues in their past that they’re working through. It doesn’t get dark or anything, but it adds the level of heartfelt depth the relationship needs to not be too corny or perfect. It’s not a fairytale book, and it doesn’t carry the perfectly happily ever after ending that would make it fall completely out of the realm of believability. But it is sweet and made of happiness.
The only remotely negative thing I have to say is that there’s an unfortunate amount of hating on one of the girl characters in the story: Hillary. She sits in their creative writing class and quickly tries to put the moves on Gabe. Sadly, this is met with SCORN by all, especially the professor Inga, and though I can understand the frustrations of someone getting in the way of your OTP, since this is real life, it was disturbing. Particularly Inga’s thoughts about her, practically making Hillary out to be a slut for liking Gabe, were upsetting – but more upsetting was the fact that this thought was echoed by other characters. Not one of them seemed to think that Hillary was worth anything. Though I could brush this off for the humor, cuteness, and entertainment of the story, it’s something I could have lived without.