Sunday, January 15, 2017

Book Review: Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall

Author: Sandy Hall
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Pages: 224
Format: E-book
Published: August, 2016
Price: $6.34 -> Rp85.749 (Amazon)
Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Date started: December 26, 2016 - Date finished: December 31, 2016

Gideon always has a plan. His plans include running for class president, becoming head of the yearbook committee, and having his choice of colleges. They do NOT include falling head over heels for his best friend and next door neighbor, Kyle. It’s a distraction. It’s pointless, as Kyle is already dating the gorgeous and popular head cheerleader, Ruby. And Gideon doesn’t know what to do.

Kyle finally feels like he has a handle on life. He has a wonderful girlfriend, a best friend willing to debate the finer points of Lord of the Rings, and social acceptance as captain of the basketball team. Then, both Ruby and Gideon start acting really weird, just as his spot on the team is threatened, and Kyle can’t quite figure out what he did wrong…
Gideon and Kyle met when they were little, exactly on the day that Kyle moved in to the house next door. Ever since that day, they became the best of friends. Gideon and Kyle are complete opposites from one another, Gideon is your typical neat almost OCD-like, smart guy, overachiever. Meanwhile Kyle is what I like to call a "jock with a twist" the twist is that he's not a jerk as one would typically characterize jocks, he is a jock that is nice and friendly.

Gideon and Kyle shared a love of all things nerdy, especially Lord of the Rings stuffs, they actually use elvish sometimes as their way of communicating to each other. Kyle is dating Ruby but what Ruby doesn't know is that Kyle is bisexual, he wants to tell Ruby because he couldn't bear lying to her and besides Gideon already knows as well. Gideon kind of, sort of has a crush on Kyle but the hasn't decided on whether or not he's gay or only into Kyle. To make that decision, he decided to make a list of all the bad things and all the good things about Kyle.

One day when Ruby, Kyle and Gideon were all hanging out at Gideon's house, Ruby found Gideon's lists took a picture of it and confronted Gideon. There are some nasty things about Kyle in that list and Ruby sort of secretly hated how close Gideon and Kyle are and having that list means that she's got something on Gideon that would really devastate Kyle if he ever finds out.
“I’m just really happy,” he says, rolling away from me and leaning up on his elbow. “I’m so happy it makes me want to hide, because I don’t know what to do with it all. I want to store it up and save it for winter.” “But winter just ended.” “Fine, I want to store it up and save it for when I don’t feel like it’s bursting from every single one of my pores. I didn’t know this was possible. To feel this way.” I lean up on my elbow to face him, smiling.
This was my second YA LGBTQ contemporary, the first one was Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, which I adored so much that it made one of my top reads of 2015. I really liked Been Here All Along, it wasn't as off-the-charts amazing as Becky Albertalli's book but this book is still pretty good. The best part about this book though was the dynamic between Kyle and Gideon, I mean this is the kind of friendship everyone wish they had (including me!).

This book is told in alternating perspectives of Kyle, Gideon, Ruby and Gideon's brother (which name I've forgotten). I think writing it using multiple perspectives is the right choice but I definitely didn't need Gideon's older brother's perspective because it didn't really contribute much to the story. In addition to that, the execution could've been made a lot smoother because at times throughout reading I still need to go back and forth to see whose perspective I'm reading about, this was due to the fact that their voice weren't all that different from one another, especially Gideon and Kyle. I can still differentiate Ruby's voice from the others, but it's harder to do with Gideon and Kyle.

Besides that, another thing bugging me about this book was its plot. There were some plot holes here and there (I'm not going to discuss because of spoilers) and I think the resolution of the conflict happened way too soon and the conflict was resolved very easily, in this book's defense the conflict wasn't all that major to begin with anyway.

The whole entire time I'm picturing Nick Robinson as Gideon and Shawn Mendes as Kyle (I know, totally weird). I don't know why but to me they seemed like a perfect fit for these characters if this book was ever made into a movie. I'll admit the facial visualization of Nick and Shawn as the main characters of this book increased my enjoyment in reading this story, I just enjoy reading more when I can visualize the characters vividly. Also, if you're wondering I'm picturing Dove Cameron as Ruby.

This book was definitely a light read, I would say perfect for someone who's venturing out into LGBTQ reads for the first time as an introduction.

That's all for now!

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