When I realized this book was going to be a kind of modern version of Romeo Juliet with conflict centering on comic book copyrights, I was thrilled. Who doesn’t enjoy a well done enemies to lovers story. This one turned out to be an okay experience though, enjoyable enough but not very remarkable or maybe I just hoped for too much.
The writing was simple enough that I finished it pretty quickly. However, the conversations between the characters didn’t always feel realistic. It’s probably the first time I actually liked the characters’ internal monologues more than the dialogues because it helped me get to know them better. It was also quite unique to see this book set in rural Canada, which I know nothing about. The small town feel, the contrast between the rich and not so rich part of the town, the helplessness of living in a place where there are not many opportunities – all of this is captured quite well. I also liked the idea of so many people, both old and young finding such joy and contentment with comics. However, the main conflict of the book is supposed to be about the TomorrowMen comics and how Mir’s grandfather was not given his due by Weldon’s and I think the whole past issue was not really explored at all. We only get small glimpses from both the families but we never get the full story and I kinda felt cheated because of that.
Miriam was not an easy character to like initially. I thought she was being difficult, but it took some time for me to understand her perspective and struggles. She was just being a very confused teenager, unsure about what to do after graduation, how she would pay for university and if leaving her small town meant losing all her friendships. I obviously didn’t realize her obsession and anger about the comics, considering she never even met her grandfather, but it was nice to see her slowly realize the futility of it and let it all go.
In the beginning, Weldon seemed like a spoiled teenager just doing bad things for the fun of it, but soon it was clear he wanted to be noticed and not feel so invisible in his own family. However, he too slowly realizes that isn’t the way to go and becomes slightly more responsible and confident about what he wants for his future. I also enjoyed his changing relationship with his mother and the possibility of them being closer again.
There was only a slight conflict between the two of them and I thought it was resolved fairly quickly. There wasn’t much angst and perhaps I was expecting more of it. The development and progression of their friendship was very cute but I truly didn’t feel the chemistry, especially not enough to warrant the decisions towards the end of the book. Everything seemed to resolve fairly quickly and easily too, neatly wrapped up in a bow, which was okay I guess but also made me feel like the stakes were never too high.
I would recommend this book if you are looking for a cute high school contemporary with nerdy characters, some fun moments and not much angst. I would suggest not going into it with too much expectations, specifically for the enemies to lovers trope. It was entertaining while I was reading it and left me feeling pleasant.
PS: Thanks to Netgalley and Roaring Brook Press for providing me with the advance copy. All opinions expressed here are unbiased and solely mine.