Title: A Little Something Different
Author: Sandy Hall
Published: August, 2014 by Swoon Reads
Purchase: The Book Depository
The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out. But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.
Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together….
Not going to lie, I picked this book up purely because one of the POVs is a squirrel, and my RPT (Random Page Test) landed me on the squirrel telling us how his friend’s tail got trodden on one summer and has never been the same since. That was all I needed. I bought it, took it home, and got stuck right into it. By the end of the novel I was in love. A Little Something Different is not only hilarious, and romantic, but as the title suggests, it provides us with a new way of experiencing the YA contemporary/ romance: from the perspective of basically everyone except that of the target ‘couple’.
I don’t know if this novel will be for everyone, because I know some people with certain likes and dislikes for how a story is presented, and who would never even consider a book where you never have a chance to get inside the heads of the main characters. One thing is for sure, and that is that this book works great the way it is. Would you rather have had 244 pages of the main two saying nothing but “I wonder if he/she really likes me?” to themselves non-stop, or an entire ensemble of characters gossiping about whether or not they’ll ever have the guts to ask each other out?
The cast probably wouldn’t be described as ‘complex’ individuals, but we do hear enough about their own lives and personalities for them to be considered more than 2D. Funnily enough, Inga the creative writing professor, and Squirrel – each at opposite ends in their active involvement in Gabe and Lea’s relationship – are the observers we learn the most about. The Bench (on the green) is exempt, because he, understandably and begrudgingly, has no life to speak of besides that of various people’s butts. Everyone had their own lives, quirks, and wavering opinions, and it was so refreshing having fourteen accounts of the events rather than being limited to a chosen few.
Another thing that was ‘a little something different’ (yeah, I went there!) was how the story played out in the end. Sadly, I can’t get into that without giving away spoilers. Just trust me when I say Gabe and Lea are beyond cute, and you will get sucked into the’ will they/won’t they?’ just as badly as the characters we hear it all from. If you’re the kind of person who has read a tonne of books with the same formulae, or you’re ready to jump into the deep-end of multiple POVs, then I believe A Little Something Different would do you a lot of good.
Recommended to: People who definitely like multiple view points, super cute love stories, and low-key romance.