Rating: 3 stars
I want to give a thank you to NetGalley for this arc in exchange for an honest review!
“That was how it was supposed to work. You fell in love with someone, and they loved you back, and that made everything okay. As long as you had love, it didn’t matter what else the world threw at you. You had something that mattered more.”
This book had so much potential. I really did enjoy the overall concept of this story, but unfortunately, the execution of it could have been better.
I felt as though Janet’s story was more developed and was the main part of the entire book. Abby’s story felt like it was a subplot and wasn’t developed as fully as it should have been, which I don’t think was the authors intent.
I also saw a lot of repetition and repeating between the two sides of the story. For example, Abby would find a piece of something that had happened in the 1950’s and then switched over to Janet’s perspective to basically explain more of what she found, which gets tiring reading about the same thing.
“She wanted to believe that Gladys would always be there when she needed her. But if there was one thing Henrietta learned, it was that you could never really count on anyone but yourself.”
Abby’s story with her friends was interesting because they were mentioned, but we don’t really know too much about them, especially about Linh, who plays an important role in her life. As to that point, we don’t really know what kind of person Abby is either, we get a glimpse every now and then or some kind of character trait from her. I think her story is more so based on her senior project with the writing of Lesbian Pulp Fiction, which sometimes can get confusing at times.
Janet’s story is more driven forward of her life and her feelings with her sexuality. I did tend to enjoy her story a lot more than I did Abby’s because I felt that there were more connecting elements to the environment and background. I did, however, feel that there was no real chemistry between her and Marie, to begin with. She was mentioned and then all of a sudden they were basically in love.
As I’m saying a lot of negative things about this book, the overall message of this story is really good and is conveyed well. I also appreciated that this was not a romance novel, but it deals with a lot of romance elements instead. The displaying of snippets of Janet’s novel and Abby’s novel was creative, which I enjoyed reading about.
Also, the secrets that are hidden in Abby’s life with her parents, tied in with the overall message which was quite clever because she was able to relate some of the stories to her own life, which I liked. The novel that Janet wrote was pretty well written, well the parts we did get to read, which I enjoyed reading about.
Overall, this book had the potential to be an amazing book, I’m not saying it’s terrible because I still enjoyed a lot of this book. I just felt that this book was lacking in some major areas, and I’d still recommend this book, especially if you like the 1950’s era.
“You didn’t have to be in love for your life to matter. Maybe all you really had to do was care about someone. Or even something. Caring might not make the world go around either, but maybe it was enough to at least give it a push in the right direction.”