1) That COVER.
I’ll be honest, this cover didn’t strike me as something special when I first looked it, but at second glance, and every one after that, I’m blown away by how beautiful it is. If you haven’t seen this book in person yet, you need to go right now to your nearest book store and pick it up and just appreciate the beauty of (the moment) in your hands.
2) And then the chapter DETAIL.
If you thought the cover was beautiful, wait until you see the detailing on the inside. Each chapter has this beautiful artwork of flowers and it was a pleasure to flip to each new chapter.
3) They explore places in the GTA!!
For all you Americans out there, this might not seem like a big deal, but us Canadians don’t get as much to work with for books that take place locally. I’m four hours from Toronto, but this is pretty much the closest I can get to reading a story that takes place near me. It’s always great being able to read a book and picture exactly where the characters are and what they’re seeing. If you’re Canadian, especially if you’re familiar with the GTA, I’d definitely recommend it.
4) This book will leave you craving a schwarma.
There’s a few times that schwarmas are a topic throughout this book, and it’s not the only food item we get to read about in this story. There’s something about reading a book that talks about good food that just makes you crave it. So beware, reading this book on an empty stomach may lead to schwarma cravings.
5) That slow burn romance.
I was so here for the slow burn of this romance. We really get to know Susan and Malcolm as they get to know each other, and by the time they do get together, it feels so worth the wait.
6) Teens doing Good Things.
One of the things that brings all our characters together here is the fundraiser project that Malcolm sister organizes. They arrange a benefit concert for Syrian refugees, and we see teens put hard work and overcome obstacles into getting this event to happen. I’m a big fan of seeing activism like this is young adult books, because we need to encourage the younger generation to participate in things like this, and seeing it happen in books is a great way to make it normalized. Activism is important.
7) That relatable Driver’s Test.
Most of us have been there. Learning to drive can be scary and stressful, and reading Susan’s experience brought me back to the days of practicing for my test and the anxiety the test itself brought (I can’t believe it’s been almost 8 years since I started learning to drive o m g). Also, reading about her learning to drive in Ontario, where I’m familiar with the specifics to how the learning permits and such work was another factor that I loved. So often I’m so confused about how these American teens and their learning to drive process works. Like what is the learning permit, and how can they suddenly drive right when they turn 16? I’m here for seeing the G1,G2,G system that I’m familiar with.
8) Susan’s intersection of identities.
Bhathena hits a very real point of not quite fitting in wherever you are. Susan comments on how she was too Saudi for India because she grew up in Saudi, and too India for Saudi because she was born in India. I can’t personally relate to this, but I’ve grown up with friends feeling this way, and know that this unique situation isn’t often represented. Representation of different identities is important, because someone is going to read this and know that there are other people who feel the exact same way.
9) Familial relationships.
We’ve all been there as a teen and experienced ups and downs with whatever familial situation we have. This book jumps back and forth to Susan and Malcolm and so we see both of their unique situations. Between the two of them, we see the death of a parent, the separation of parents, and a step-parent entering the family. We see how these situations affect both Susan and Malcolm and how they develop throughout the stories by coping with their family life.
10) Teens making hard decisions.
Both Susan and Malcolm grow up quite a lot throughout this story, and the decisions they make by the end show that. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll be vague, but I’m impressed with how Susan handled her and Malcolm at the end and the decisions she made and how she was mature about it. Personally, I’m not always a fan of the being swept off your feet sort of romance, where the MC is willing to do anything to be with the love interest. Stories like this one are important that show how a relationship isn’t easy. It’s not all about being swept off your feet and having a happily ever after. It’s about loving someone so much that you’re willing to put in the work to maintain a two-way relationship and how you handle obstacles that come up.
11) Choosing what makes you happy.
This is the big one. I’m sure we can all relate to the pressure of being in senior year and needing to make a decision on what direction you’re taking for the rest of your life. It’s stressful and it’s a lot for a seventeen year old. Susan and Malcolm both are at the crucial time in their life and we watch them grow over their senior year and make decisions based on what will make them happy. It’s about taking the risk and pursuing a dream.
And that concludes the list! There’s so many great things about this story and it was a pleasure to read.
If you want to read my official review, you can click here to see my review post!
You can follow along with the rest of the blog tour by clicking the links below:
Monday, April 8
Tuesday, April 9
Wednesday, April 10
Thursday, April 11
Friday, April 12