First book tour (and review) of August! This cute, new YA book is courtesy of the author and Xpresso Book Tours!
August will likely be my last month of full-time blogging for some time so I have a bunch of reviews to share with you before I take a break, and hopefully you’ll find something to add to your TBR 🙂
Little Forevers by Katie Kaleski
Genre: Contemporary / Romance / YA
Phoebe likes Gage, but there’s a problem—he’s her brother’s best friend.
As the result of an extra-marital affair, Phoebe Bautista has had little contact with her dad, none with her step-mom, and her siblings have just recently learned of her of her existence. Now she goes to stay with them while her mom is on assignment in The Yukon for three months. As she tries to find her place and navigate the developing and rocky relationship with her temporary family, she begins to spend time playing music with her brother, Oliver, along with his best friend, Gage.
Gage is cute, smart, has selective mutism, and makes Phoebe’s heart skip a beat, but she knows she has to fight her feelings for him, so she doesn’t ruin her growing bond with Oliver. But the more time the three of them spend together, the harder it becomes to ignore what she feels for Gage, especially when she learns he might like her too.
And with her dad pretending everything’s fine, the fact that she might never belong anywhere, and knowing that she only has so much time with her new family, Phoebe might not make it out with her heart intact.
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The “brother’s best friend” is probably a commonly used trope at this point but I’ve certainly never seen this twist before! In this case, Phoebe is the result of an affair and is now moving in with this other family, who maybe hate her because of the reminder she brings of her dad’s unfaithfulness. A heavy weight on anyone’s shoulders, I’m sure! Still, even with all this family drama, the story ultimately comes back to Phoebe and her forbidden love – a YA romance at heart.
This is a cute story but it was a little weak in its delivery. Reading it, I really thought that it was the author’s first book because it seems to not quite have the structure and flow down. Still, I really enjoyed the story despite it being a little rough around the edges.
It was really just the delivery bringing my rating down so here’s what I liked:
The characters are all very likeable, despite some of them being downright rude at times (though can you blame them when they’re faced with this twist?!). Phoebe and Gage’s relationship gets a lot of the focus since this is a romance story but it’s also very much a story about family and I loved that we got to experience Phoebe forming bonds with her new siblings.
A little surprising perhaps was how this cutesy story still dealt with a lot of heavy topics. There are frank discussions of addiction, sex, and affairs, while still respecting all the characters’ stances. This is a dysfunctional family, especially with the father’s revelation, but we get to see this family try to work it out and be open with each other. An overarching theme seems to be about finding your place. Phoebe feels out of place with her mom and now in this new setting, she feels unwanted and in the way. We get to see her explore where she belongs and start to feel free in working towards her own goals, rather than those others might intend for her.
There’s also a lot of diversity in the book, as Phoebe and her half-siblings are Filipino – or half? This isn’t clearly explained, which brings me back to the issues I had with the book.
I saw one reviewer describe the book as often “telling and not showing” and I wholeheartedly agree. A lot of the plot felt rushed, especially Phoebe’s crush on Gage, since it was stated rather than really a progression we could follow. The dialogue as well felt too literal and not something I could picture naturally occurring.
With my comments about diversity above, while I loved that the MC and her family are Filipino and we could get glimpses of this culture, it wasn’t until maybe halfway through the story that this was actually identified. At one point, her little brother calls her “Ate” and not knowing Tagalog, I had no idea that meant sister and was just really confused. It felt like the author and the MC were on the same wavelength, but Kaleski forgot to clue the reader in.
It’s a sweet story and explores a lot of family themes (and the romance is very cute 🙂 ), but the structure made it all fall a little flat.
About the Author:
I received a copy of this book through Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own