Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Magical Realism-ish
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenges: #ContRom2017, #NGEW2017
Annabelle is all about being in control. Each day is color-coded, and all decisions are made well in advance. Suddenly, her world is in upheaval following her parents' surprising disclosure, and the discovery that she is actually NOT in control. It seems that Annabelle is a character created by author Lucy Keating, who is dead set on giving Annabelle the HEA Lucy thinks she needs. However, it seems AB does not agree, and is going to put up a fight to regain control of her life.
First and foremost, I found the concept of the book clever. Yes, it's been done before, but I really enjoyed Keating's take on it. As a reviewer and someone who reads a lot of reviews, I found myself amused by all the references Keating made to book characters and story elements. The one-dimensional sidekick, the made-just-for-me heartthrob, the BIG event that creates the tension in the story, the dreaded love triangle, and more. I loved the way Keating poked fun at it all.
Aside from that, I found so many big statements being asserted underneath it all. There are moments when Keating and AB are fighting with each other over which choice would be best for Annabelle. Maybe this represents the struggles that authors sometimes experience when writing a character, and this was Keating's way of expressing the frustrations she encounters when writing. Another thing I loved, was the way she challenged the idea that we can go with the flow or dare to write our own story. There were a bunch of other rather deep musings I had while reading this, but it all came down to the line on the cover of the book for me: "a book about a book about falling in love".
There is a LOT of talk about love. From first love and familial love to love that's lost, there are thoughts hidden throughout. This idea that it's better to have loved and lost then to never have had that connection. That some love is worth fighting for, and sometimes you must acknowledge the end of a love you had. That love can sneak up on you, and it might be with someone you never expected. You know, the heart wants what the heart wants. How love is taking a chance with an uncertain future, but that it can be worth it. I am a lover of romance, so I gobbled it all up.
Overall: A zany and quirky look at YA culture with the bonus of a cute romance with some food for thought.
**I would like to thank Edelweiss and the publisher for the advanced copy of this book