Delilah always keeps her messy, gooey insides hidden behind a wall of shrugs and yeah, whatevers. She goes with the flow—which is how she ends up singing in her friends’ punk band as a favor, even though she’d prefer to hide at the merch table.
Reggie is a D&D Dungeon Master and self-declared Blerd. He spends his free time leading quests and writing essays critiquing the game under a pseudonym, keeping it all under wraps from his disapproving family.
These two, who have practically nothing in common, meet for the first time on New Year’s Eve. And then again on Valentine’s Day. And then again on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s almost like the universe is pushing them together for a reason.
Delilah wishes she were more like Reggie—open about what she likes and who she is, even if it’s not cool. Except . . . it’s all a front. Reggie is just role-playing someone confident. The kind of guy who could be with a girl like Delilah.
As their holiday meetings continue, the two begin to fall for each other. But what happens once they realize they’ve each fallen for a version of the other that doesn’t really exist?
This book is by far my favorite of Elise Bryant’s, and I think it’s because of the characters. I adored Reggie and Delilah and their relationship, especially with how it started. Honestly, the way they met on New Year’s Eve reminded me a lot of High School Musical, mainly because of the holiday and they don’t see each other for a while after that first meeting. Their meetings are coincidentally only on holidays, but as time goes on, their meetings become intentional.
Reggie was so sweet with Delilah without even trying. He showed immediate concern when she got her migraines or when she was mistreated or upset. He was like a nerdy teddy bear and it was so cute. While he did put on an act that he was okay with who he was and that he didn’t care what people said about him, I feel like that also brought out a side of him he needed to be… that person who was a proud nerd no matter what anyone said. However, it was wrong of him to put Delilah on a pedestal, which was what made him act that way.
Delilah kind of did the same with Reggie – putting him on a pedestal – but only because he was putting on that front of confidence. In this case, it did work for both of them because they ended up taking risks and facing fears that they otherwise wouldn’t have faced, but it bothered me that they wouldn’t show their vulnerable sides with each other (though Delilah did at times with Reggie). I felt bad for her with her situation with the band, as Charlie was a total wipe and Asher just went along with him. Beau was at least a decent human being and did show that he cared about Delilah (as a friend). I was so happy when she finally stood up for herself and did what was right for her.
There’s a lot of representation in this book, including Black rep (obviously) and how racism is still prominent in daily life, dyslexia rep, and migraine rep (not sure if that’s a thing, but it’s a medical rep so we’re making it a thing), as well as learning to stand up for yourself when you’re being mistreated. It was cool how Reggie and Delilah reacted to one anther’s conditions (Reggie w/dyslexia and Delilah with recurring migraines), as it was opposite of how everyone else would react to them. Everyone but Delilah’s family and Reggie treated her migraines like regular headaches, and anyone who’s ever experienced migraines, you obviously know how bad they can get. So to get them on a consistent basis is horrible.
What really bothered me with Reggie’s dyslexia rep was how his teacher and parents tried to get him to phase out of his ‘speech-to-text’ and ‘text-to-speech’ apps that helped him write and ‘read’ from his phone and computer. Like Reggie mentions, dyslexia doesn’t go away, so why shouldn’t he use what’s available to him to help him get along easier? That’s like saying to someone who needs hearing aids that they just need to try to listen harder. It’s ridiculous that people try to make someone with a disability be “normal.”
You’d think with all of the issues tackled in this book plus the actual love story that it wouldn’t work, but it does. The author makes it all flow together so well. This is definitely a good young-adult book that I’d recommend to anyone.
Rating: 5/5 stars
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*Thanks to NetGalley for a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review*