When You Get the Chance by Tom Ryan & Robin Stevenson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: May 4th, 2021
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, LGBTQIA+, Family, Mystery, Romance, Identity, Road Trip
I am always a little surprised when I enjoy books like this one, the kinds of books that don’t have memorable characters or original plotlines or even incredibly skilful writing styles; the kinds of books that you read and forget, and yet the in-between parts are quite enjoyable.
I enjoyed this book despite of all of its flaws—and believe me, there are many. I enjoyed it because it was the kind of mess that was evidently felt but never too overwhelming. The publisher has decided to postpone its publication date to May 2021, and yet I wish somehow they hadn’t. The characters experience a sort of confinement, both environmental and mental, that I related to and that managed to soothe me somehow.
Yet I didn’t much like them. Mark is a gay teenager with a boyfriend he isn’t into anymore but strings along. Talia is pining for a girlfriend whose identity and sexual choices she doesn’t understand or agree with fully. These two cousins are coming together for the funeral of their grandfather, and yet both of them are too preoccupied by their own personal problems to really care and bond as a family.
They’re characters you want to shake strongly. Slap, at some point. But I didn’t read this book for them specifically. I read it for the atmosphere, the drama that was different from what I’m experiencing in my life right now but that I still could connect to, and the light narration style. It’s an easy book to read, since the content isn’t suffocating and the writing is pleasantly clear. I also found insightful the discussion on identity, although the polygamy topic was only briefly explored. Not a book I will reread, but one that I easily read in one day, with interest, and recommend.
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