A Little Something Different
Written by Sandy Hall
Published September 1st 2014
Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia
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...
The staff at the local Starbucks can see the subtle smiles. The take away delivery driver can tell that you in all his years, no two people have ever ordered the exact same meal. The bus driver can't wait to tell his wife at home about the two that ride the bus each day but never speak. Even their Creating Writing professor and the little squirrel in the park on campus can see that this could be only the beginning of Lea and Gabe. Pity neither Lea or Gabe realise it yet.
But where Lea is an introvert, Gabe is shy and finds it difficult in social situations. And as much as he enjoys the awkward company of Lea, she interprets his non committal responses as nothing more than his lack of interest. Everyone from the bus driver, the Starbucks staff, both their friends and even the acorn obsessed squirrel that inhabits the park they both frequent are nudging them together. But who will make the first move?
Every once in a while, a book comes along that is the epitome of what a young adult romance should be. Affectionate, tender and endearing. A Little Something Different was incredible and captivated my attention from the very first page. Uniquely told from fourteen different points of view, everyone except Lea and Gabe, the storyline begins at that tentative first meeting and follows the should be couple as they navigate their feelings towards one another. What makes the storyline so unique, is that the reader isn't thrown into the action, but swept up in the romance of simply being a voyeur through the interactions of fourteen seperate characters. It was incredible.
He stands with her while she waits for her drink and I hear him say, 'Do you want to, um, maybe, um, you can say no, of course. You could maybe, if you wanted to, sit with me.' I hate to admit that it is absolutely endearing, the way he digs his hands so deep into his pockets and how he sort of kicks at the floor tile and doesn't look at her. I feel like this whole exchange is being wasted on me. I wish the others were here to see it.
Both Lea and Gabe are in college, but the innocence of both characters, both socially awkward, are both about to endear the campus to their love story of glancing, blushing and half conversations. And along with all the secondary characters, you'll find yourself mesmerised. This isn't a story of instant love or physical lust, both Gabe and Lea are realistic and I can't recall two characters that I've ever found so utterly perfect for one another.
I don't swoon often, but I was smitten. With Gabe and Lea, their story and felt as though I was part of something incredibly special. It's beautifully written. Amazingly so. Fluffy, romantic and heartwarming. It's akin to sleeping on a cloud or surrounding yourself with puppies. It's simply joyful.