Top critical review
Short, Sweet Read
Reviewed in the United States on June 16, 2020
I enjoyed this book a good deal. It was fast, fun, and fluffy. I felt that the diverse representation of LGBTQIA+ characters was done well, without being stereotypical or clearly just trying to earn the title of a diverse book.
While it was an enjoyable, binge-in-one-day read, it isn't the strongest, most developed romance I've read. Given that the main character has been close with her friends back in Texas since before grade school, apparently, it seemed odd to let the characters drop off completely by a third of the way through the novel.
There were also some plot points in the book that never got resolved or happened "off-screen," that the novel would've benefited from having shown.
Finally, I felt that the novel's pacing was a little inconsistent, with the narrative taking its time to unfold and introduce you to the characters at the beginning and shifting into high gear after the setting changes, even though this portion could've used an equally paced exposition. I think this pacing issue came down to relying a little too much on telling (through dialogue or internal stream of consciousness) instead of showing. Having maybe 50 more pages in the book would've given it the space it needed to really create well-rounded, reoccurring characters, making the novel more believable as a slice out of someone's intricate life.
There were also a few things that I really loved about the book. I loved that the main character is unsure of who she is but isn't all consumed by it and is just slowly finding her way, which is a perspective not often found in YA. Usually an insecure character is angsty beyond reason, but Amelia/Millie had a great balance of nervousness and unabashed passion for what she likes, like studying hard and geology.
I also loved that the book was in first person and was told in a stream of consciousness way, making you feel closer to the MC and privvy to her changing thoughts about those around her, including her love interest.
I additionally enjoyed the snippets from the tabloid magazines between each chapter, as I thought it was a creative way to move the plot forward and give different perspectives. I wished it would've been flushed out a little more as it could've provide a better connection to her old friends in Texas. I also would've liked a resolution to the tabloid's insider source (which continued after the supposed guilty party was caught?).
Overall, it was an enjoyable, fast, cute read. Perfect both for sunny summer days or for cloudy, rainy days (as it fits the Scotland mood perfectly). The romance progressed a little fast from hate to love and felt more insta-lovey, but it was still sweet.