Title: Learning Curves
Some Starting Notes:
I love the characters - if there's one thing Ceillie's good at, it's writing people.
Ceillie's people are real - they have real reactions, and are really awkward as all hell.
And the awkwardness is cute and relatable, rather than cringey and oh-God-make-it-stop.
It's this ability to make normal people seem both so relatable, and so interesting, that really draws you in.
I loved all of the characters, but, in the humble opinion of yours truly, Cora is the most engaging character here.
We actually get very little back-story for her - a bit here, a bit there, the odd sentence slipped in - but what we do get is a bubbly bookworm carefully covering over layers of vulnerability.
I can't be the only one who relates.
The diversity in this book is natural and understanding - it's not a plot-point, but neither are the various identities of the characters ignored.
They're a part of life.
The various types of rep., as far as I can tell, are handled really well - but I'm not Latinx, and don't have ADHD, so I'm entirely open to being contradicted by people who know what they're talking about more than I do.
This is perfect for a soft and snuggly read - and at about 55 pages, it's also quite short for when you're looking for something on the lighter side.
What with a lot of it taking place at Christmas, it'd also be a nice read for December-ish.
This book can also be considered a 'clean' romance - there's no sex; but neither is sex demonised or portrayed in a negative way, it's just not really a part of the story.
So this would also be a good one for those who want to support F/F romance but find graphic sex scenes awkward to read.
The Not-So-Great Bits:
There were moments, particularly towards the beginning, where I was like: 'Ugh! Ceillie! Show don't tell!!!'
There was a lot of what I consider unnecessary details which might stem from nervous or naïve writing.
I understand the temptation to spell everything out for the reader in order to hurry the plot along when it comes to shorter prose, but, ironically, it actually saves the reader time if the writer doesn't do this.
The 'show don't tell' issues tapered off as the book hit it's stride and the writing gained confidence, but did still pop up every now and then.
Don't get me wrong though - it's likely that a lot of people won't notice this, since it's faaaar from the most heavy-handed example that I've seen.
I do wish that there was more... drama?
I guess it's just not that type of book, which is totally fine, but it would have made the story arc more defined if there were just a little more dramatic oomph to the plot.
Some other minor points, although these are more personal than anything:
- There's a lot of describing food, and cooking, which just bores me and also confuses my synaesthesia. A lot of people will love it, I'm sure.
- I'm not a big fan of the title - it implies either more of the in-college stuff, sexy-times, or both. Like I said, that's just a personal thing.
- As someone with Anxiety, and knowing that this is #OwnVoices for Anxiety, I would've liked it to be more explicitly referred to, instead of just the symptoms.