This gimmick of this book is that Love--the concept of Love itself as some sort of deity--is narrating this book about how it's attempting to set up 17-turning-18-year-old Gael for an awesome future involving an Oscar nomination, if it can just have him fall in love with the right girl in a few months. Unfortunately, Gael is (a) still smarting from his parents' marriage ending, (b) just had his best friend Mason and his girlfriend start hooking up behind his back, and (c) just met a girl in a rom-com "meet cute" sort of way that in a movie, would mean she's The One. Except Love knows better, knows that Cara's a nice girl but a serial monogamist who's just not that into movies, and she and Gael are not MFEO. So Love tries to do little deity nudges here and there to hamper things, but most of them don't work out. Will Gael ever take the hint and go for his sister's tutor Sammy (girl) instead?
I'm making this sound better than it was was. I don't think I've seen a bad review of this book yet, but hoo boy, was I just not into it. I mostly enjoyed the concept of Love narrating and explaining things here and there, but there wasn't too much of that and there was a whole lot of Gael being miserable.
I think this book rises and falls on whether or not you love Gael, and man, I just did not. He brought out a reaction of "Cheer up, emo kid!" in me. (Quote from the book: "Now let us return to Gael in his cocoon of despair." Man, I didn't want to.) Sure, we're seeing him on the second worst day of his life, he's got justifiable reasons to be unhappy right now and reacts in a pretty logical way to that, but...I did not love this kid, I did not root for his happiness or to find the right woman. I found him wearing to have to read about. I was all, "at best, he's just..okay, later in the book." And "just okay" is how I felt about the other characters as well, who generally all seemed nice enough but weren't super memorable for me either. I did not feel strongly about Gael or his love interests or care a whole lot about whether or not he ended up with Sammy--sure, she's nice, they get along well, okay, but I wasn't blown away by the oh-so-rightness of them as a couple either.
And....look, I get that you wanted to tie in romantic comedies as a thing in this book. That's cool and froody. I get that you wanted to have the Grand Romantic Race For Your Love airport scene even though that shit really really doesn't work any more in this shitty day and age. And while I'll admit I did kind of crack up at the uh, finale of that scene, but....I dunno, the logistics of "Y'all could get arrested for the shit you are trying to pull" overshadowed it all for me and made it hard for me to do an intended swoon. Since the ending doesn't follow up on the legal consequences, I'm still wondering.
That said, there were some moments in this book I liked, mostly having to do with Love's narration or how Gael's best friend Mason feels about their friendship.
- It is a bromance and Mason does the teenage guy friend equivalent of grand romantic gestures and I did enjoy that (particularly the makeup moment).
- My favorite bit was the chapter "a peek into gael's future" in which Love explains its motives and how with the right girl/relationship, Gael would be inspired to new heights, versus having his rebound go awry too and him settling down into an average piddly-ante life. "It wasn't necessarily a bad life. But it wasn't what Gael's life was supposed to be. And I was the only one would could fix it."
- The chapter "how gael's parents actually met" cracked me up--Gael's dad tells it as two philosophy students arguing in class, but it's really two drunk philosophy students arguing in a bar.
- The line, "Oh, Jesus Christ," the TSA man said, "I don't get paid enough to deal with this shit."
In the end....I think this was just kind of a Not For Me. I admit I'm probably biased on this one and a lot of other people might not be as annoyed by Gael as I was (clearly, I'm the only one that he got on the nerves of, I spent most of my reading debating whether or not I wanted to bother finishing it). So I'm giving it about 2.5 stars, but other people may like it better than I did.