Publisher: Feiwel & Friends on August 26, 2014
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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 a little aloof, Gabe is shy, and it looks like they are never going to work things out.
But something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at the local Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV series. The 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 Lea and Gabe were meant to be together.
“There’s something about the way she has her hands folded under her chin that makes me think she wants to touch him but she’s holding back.”
Aside from the almost-inevitable romance clichés, this novel is the cutest, sweetest story that I’ve read in a while. A Little Something Different was definitely something different, in the way Hall presents this love story. The use of multiple perspectives (14!!) for the most part worked in the novel’s favour, creating a lovely mixture of angst, delight, and all that cheesy goodness.
Azalea and Gabriel are meant to be. Everyone can see it. Everyone knows it. From their friends, to their teachers, even from their local squirrel and park bench, Lea and Gabe are destined to be together… except these two are completely oblivious to the fact. With angsty stares and serendipitous encounters, Lea and Gabe become the love story witnessed and rooted by many. But will Lea and Gabe realize their true affections for each other, or will they need a little push along the way?
This is a love story through and through. The romance is pretty tame, but the angst is real. Where Lea is reserved, Gabe is shy, which makes for a tension-filled love affair. Like the characters, the readers find themselves helplessly rooting for “Gazalea” (unofficial ship name? Yes.) mainly because they seem to be the main concern for all the other characters. Because of the novel’s structure, the audience is completely immersed in Lea and Gabe’s blossoming, painfully awkward romance, and I found myself enjoying the ride. I don’t know whether their attraction stems from natural chemistry or external forces, but I think that was perhaps the novel’s intention. There are so many factors that make up a story, and Lea and Gabe’s story is a prime example.
There are a total of 14 character perspectives, none of which are the main characters. Still, Gazalea remains the central subject within each perspective. While this indeed works out for Lea and Gabe’s character development, the POV characters are simply witnesses to their story. Of course, they further the plot of the novel, slowly revealing and unraveling Lea and Gabe for the readers, but they ultimately fail to exist independently from Lea or Gabe.
Still, I’d have to give honourable mentions to Charlotte (the barista) and Sam (the brother); we only receive glimpses of their characters, but they are wonderful, wonderful glimpses. (Though, I can’t say the same for that bench.)
A Little Something Different is an easy-to-read, adorable novel about two people perfectly meant for each other. It sounds simple enough, but Lea and Gabe’s story is not without complications. Hall uses the supporting cast of characters to not only compliment the narrative, but reveal the narrative itself — an incredibly unique way for readers to engage in a budding love story.