by Carrie Arcos
Release Date: February 7th 2017
Publisher: Philomel Books
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find It: Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Audible
From National Book Award finalist Carrie Arcos–a fresh take on happily ever after, and friendship, that is anything but a love story.
When your namesake is Pablo Neruda—the greatest love poet of all time—finding “the one” should be easy. After all, sixteen-year-old aspiring artist Neruda Diaz has been in love many times before. So it’s only a matter of time before someone loves him back.
Callie could be that someone. She’s creative and edgy, and nothing like the girls Neruda typically falls for, so when a school assignment brings them together, he is pleasantly surprised to learn they have a lot in common. With his true love in reach and his artistic ambitions on track, everything is finally coming together.
But as Neruda begins to fall faster and harder than ever before, he is blindsided by the complicated nature of love—and art—in more ways than one. And when the relationships he’s looked to for guidance threaten to implode, Neruda must confront the reality that love is crazier, messier, and more beautiful than he ever realized—and riskier, too, than simply saying the words.
Neruda, who was named after the greatest love poet of all time, struggled when it came to the topic of love. He’s on the lookout for the perfect relationship, which is easier said than done. Neruda meets Callie as their teaming up together to work on a school assignment, but when his feelings start getting deeper, he becomes concerned that Callie may not feel the same way about him.
I really enjoyed Neruda’s personality and was pleasantly surprised that the MC was a guy in this story. I’ve only read a handful of books that have a male as the main character, so that’s something I tend to look for in YA. Neruda was the kind of flawed, confused, and emotional teenager that makes him very realistic and easy to relate to. The other characters, specifically Neruda’s family, fit into the story nicely and took it up a notch for me. I really enjoyed hearing about their history as well, and the significance of Neruda’s name to this family.
Though I did enjoy this story, it was a bit slow at times and I found myself drifting a bit. I listened to the audiobook as well as read the ARC, going back and forth, and I have to say that it appeared that I was drifting away from the story more while listening than while reading. Maybe this had to do with the narrator? I actually thought he did a really great job, but sometimes it’s harder to focus and become truly connected with characters when it’s on audio. I think the fact that this was written in third person, instead of first person which I always prefer, may have had something to do with that as well.
I do have to say though, this is another great diverse read to add to your TBR’s. I personally truly enjoy finding diverse reads that hit on so many important topics, and this is definitely one of those books. I have a feeling others will really enjoy this one, probably more than myself too, especially if you don’t mind third-person narration.
As I mentioned earlier, I did struggle with this audiobook a bit. Not that there was anything unpleasant about it per say, just that I found myself drifting away from the story and having to rewind and re-listen a few times. I did enjoy the narration by Michael Crouch, a seasoned narrator that I’ve listened to prior. I feel that he does great narrating stories with male teenagers, and I thought this was very well done. I suppose I personally prefer audiobooks with more action or even drama to keep my attention throughout. Overall, this was a decent audiobook listen for me.
Are you a fan of diverse YA reads? What are some of your favorites?