The Romantics by Leah Konen

Received from NetGalley for review.

The Romantics is so much fun. I never thought a book narrated by the omnipresent character of Love could make me laugh so much – I am most definitely a cynical romantic, which is often a strange place to be but this story spoke to me on every level. Although there are some serious issues – navigating relationships, cheating, and divorce – the overwhelming feeling I got from it was amusement and happiness, primarily from Love’s barmy antics and sassy narrative.

The story is based around eighteen-year-old Gael, a relentless Romantic, who has to deal with his parent’s separation, heartbreak, rebounds, and hormones, which we all know (or can imagine) is no fun. Love is the narrator, and I have to admit I did picture her (female in my head) as a giant love heart, watching from clouds, or sneaking around trying to help people. Somewhere in the grand scheme of life Love feels that she has messed up with Gael and his family and is trying to steer Gael towards the right girl for him at that time in his life, and it is hilarious to read; Love has a very distinct voice and I spent a lot of my time laughing out loud because she’s just so funny. I’m not sure whether the author intended for her to be the stand out character, but she definitely was for me.

I found that the story started a bit slowly, and it took a while for me to warm up to the characters, but I slowly grew to love Gael and his family, as well as his sister’s babysitter/French tutor, Sammy (despite the hipster/pretentious cliché’s present with some of the characters). Even though the plotline was a bit predictable – Gael rebounds with a girl but Love wants him to realise that another girl is perfect for him at that point in his life and meddles accordingly – the characters are interesting enough, and Love so ridiculously amusing, that it doesn’t really matter. By the end I was really rooting for Gael and ‘the right girl’, and the ending did not disappoint. The writing itself is compelling, with Love interrupting her own narrative every now and again with little asides, and it’s very fast-paced and easy to read, whilst also being witty.

If you’re looking for a light-hearted contemporary read about the trials and tribulations of love, I can’t recommend this enough; it’s easy and fluffy without completely lacking in substance, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Read: October 27th-31st 2016

4/5 stars

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