I’ve read two of Solomon’s books, and she’s definitely got a knack for writing believable, flawed, realistically sexy relationships that are infused with her special sauce–namely, Seattle + Semites (of the Jewish varietal). If I had to rank this book, I’d say it falls below Today Tonight Tomorrow and on par with The Ex Talk.
To get the top line out first: Quinn’s stress and anxiety and Driving Force take the wind of the sails of the book you think you’re going to get from reading the blurb–one about meet cutes and shared history and awkward love confessions. She’s newly graduated from high school and so seems simultaneously too young and too old to be so firm on her stance that she doesn’t believe in romance. Namely because it’s not due to being gang pressed into harp playing for all hundred of the weddings that her family plans through their wedding planning business–it’s because 10-ish years ago her parents separated for six months, and no one has ever spoken about it.
That seems like…a big thing, yes, but maybe not one that needs to be bottled up for so long? Especially in a family that is open about mental health (Quinn goes to therapy and is medicated for her OCD)? It’s presented as this pivotal reason for her being the way she is, but she’s an 18 year old in the Pacific Northwest in the 2020s. I’m older than her and still grew up with multiple examples of parents who had separated, divorced, amicably or not, and understood that marriages weren’t this magical fait accompli. You have to work at it, and sometimes it takes a while to get it going.
SO that aside, I (as always) LOVED the matter of fact way that Solomon portrays Quinn and Tarek’s intimacy, both with each other and with others. They’re neither of them blushing virgins, but they’re also not bizarrely talented Casanovas. They’ve had reasonable length relationships or hookups, the way that you would (I mean, I assume so, I had a very…different high school experience. Model UN for lyfe). No one is made to feel judged for their lived moments, and their relationship proceeds in a way that’s matter of fact wrt their experiences.