Thursday, October 11, 2018

Review: This is Kind of an Epic Love Story - Kheryn Callender

This is Kind of an Epic Love Story
Kheryn Callender
Series: n/a
Age/Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Blazer + Bray
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads
A fresh, charming rom-com perfect for fans of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Boy Meets Boy about Nathan Bird, who has sworn off happy endings but is sorely tested when his former best friend, Ollie, moves back to town.

Nathan Bird doesn’t believe in happy endings.

Although he’s the ultimate film buff and an aspiring screenwriter, Nate’s seen the demise of too many relationships to believe that happy endings exist in real life.

Playing it safe to avoid a broken heart has been his MO ever since his father died and left his mom to unravel—but this strategy is not without fault. His best-friend-turned-girlfriend-turned-best-friend-again, Florence, is set on making sure Nate finds someone else. And in a twist that is rom-com-worthy, someone does come along: Oliver James Hernández, his childhood best friend.

After a painful mix-up when they were little, Nate finally has the chance to tell Ollie the truth about his feelings. But can Nate find the courage to pursue his own happily ever after?
Between the books referenced in the synopsis and the too cute for words cover, I knew I had to read this book, and Callender delivered on everything that was promised.

Nate was one super sweet and wonderfully awkward hero. Gosh! I loved him to bits! Nate was down with love, and feared letting himself fall again. He spent a lot of the book wrestling with his complicated feelings and complicated relationships, but that was all part of his journey. His exploration was honest and thoughtful, and I know I was rooting for him to take a chance on love.

Nate was lucky and had a pretty awesome squad by his side. First of all, they were all so interesting. Flo was an animator, Ashley was a gamer, Gideon was an athlete, and Oliver James was a photographer. Each person had something they were really passionate about, they each had something that was theirs, but they also shared in some way with each other. Their group dynamic was really interesting too. They had their ups and downs, like everyone does, but in the end, they were always there for each other, and the love they shared was really special.

I loved Nate's sister as well. These siblings shared a special bond, and Nate's sister was a great cheerleader for him. She encouraged him to pursue his screenplay writing dreams, as well as nudging him to follow his heart.

A lot of people are going to talk about the diversity in this book, because let's face it, there are not a ton of books out there featuring queer POCs, and even less featuring queer POCs, who are hard of hearing. Callender organically worked in descriptions of signs and other ways the characters communicated with Oliver, which I loved. But what really stood out to me, was how Callender allowed their characters to just be who they were. There was no coming out and no labeling. It's sort of how it should be, where people just love who they love. No explanations necessary. And why did I love that? Because this book was not about being queer per se, it was a love story, and it was a sweet and adorable love story at that.

This book was near perfection for me. The one thing that would have put this over the top is if it had an epilogue. The ending was good, but too brief. It was like the beginning of an ending, and I just needed a little bit more. Don't misunderstand me. I was smiling with tears of joy in my eyes, when I finished this book, but I needed to know a little bit more about the near future for the characters, because I cared so much about them and their future together.

This book was about so many things. It was about second chances and following your heart. It was about friendship, being a friend, and family. It was about pain, grief, and loss. But mostly, it was about love, and the different ways it can permeate our lives.

**ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

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26 comments:

  1. I have this one my TBR so glad you liked it!! I am always for an epilogue so I totally get that. Great review!

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  2. Aww this sounds so cute. I love an awkward hero. They make books so much more enjoyable. Bummer about that ending though. I'm glad you still loved the book though! :)

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    1. The ending wasn't bad. It was very sweet, but I wanted to see a little further into the future, because of all the obstacles

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  3. Aw, yay! I'm so glad you loved this one. I did too - though my review isn't going up until next week I think? I loved the diversity though and that nobody had to come out or explain themselves.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. The lack of needing to label was probably stood out most to me, and I loved how natural it was.

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  4. Looks cute and I love the title. I like that it’s a love story at heart and not a “statement” book. I’ll have to check it out.

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    1. It is really just a story of love, friendship, and family that happens to feature a very diverse group of characters. The only statement it made, if you ask me, is that love is love.

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  5. Um, okay, so my takeaway from reading your review is that I NEED TO READ THIS RIGHT NOW.

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    1. It's a really sweet romance with an interesting friendship dynamic. I enjoyed seeing Nate take a chance on romance.

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  6. This one has kinda-sorta been on my radar since I first came across it a couple weeks ago. And now I know I have to read it. :) I love the sound of Nate and already want to meet him. And what I love about the sound of this one is that, just like Simon or Autoboyography, yes they characters may be gay, but it's first and foremost a love story. The characters just happen to be the same gender.

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    1. The difference between this and Simon or Autoboyography is that there is no drama related to the characters' sexuality. It's just a story of love and friendship, and the characters happen to also be queer. Nate was dating Flo, and then Flo was dating a girl, and Nate fell for a guy, and nobody blinked. It was so refreshing, and how I imagine things should just be.

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  7. This sounds really good, Sam! I love that this was really wonderful love story. I will have to look for it!

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    1. I am a hopeless romantic and needed Nate to give love a go again. And I smiled so much while reading this book too. I just couldn't help myself.

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  8. I really enjoyed this one too. I also would have liked to have had an epilogue - of them in NYC maybe.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. An NYC epilogue would have been amazing 😍

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  9. Aww another post about diversity! Yay! I love how authentic the characters sound in this book! Even though stories about coming out are important normalization is very important too so YEAH! You had me at "near perfection" I will read this book Sam!

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    1. I think it's important to see queer love stories that are just love stories, and this was a really great love story with a little coming of age thrown in for good measure

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  10. I haven't yet had the chance to read this, but I'm so excited for it!! I love the way you described the characters and I 1000% agree about this being an important book representation-wise, gonna go and preorder this rn. Great review!

    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

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    1. It was a great romance, and all the family and friend stuff was gravy for me. I will definitely read more from Callender.

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  11. Great review! This has been on my TBR forever and I keep hearing nothing but amazing things so I’ll have to give this one a read when I get the chance :)

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    1. I hope you get to read it, because it was a great romance

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  12. I can't believe I haven't heard of this book until now! I'm heading over to goodreads right now and adding it; it sounds wonderful. :) I love when books have queer MC's but the plot doesn't follow the struggle of self-acceptance or coming out. It's nice just to read something happy and care-free!

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    1. I have been seeing more and more books like this and I think they have just as much importance as a coming out story.

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  13. The representation in this one sounds fantastic, with it having a queer POC who is hard of hearing. After reading A Quiet Kind of Thunder I would actually like to read this one all the more to see how this author includes signs and compare it to how Barnard managed. And yay for there being strong friendships that help support the main character through everything that happens too ^.^ Great review!

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    1. Oliver lost his hearing from meningitis when they were preteens, and him, his mom, and to some extent, Nate, are the only ones who sign. The others try to talk slowly facing him or type on their phones. It was interesting to see it play out, but it was never the focus. It was really well done.

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