Title: A Totally Awkward Love Story
Authors: Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: Hardcover, 320
Publication: May 3, 2016 by Delacorte Press
Right from the beginning, A Totally Awkward Love Story grabbed and pulled me into the story. This story is about two characters, Hannah and Sam, who are both struggling to find the things that they want from the world. Hannah wants to lose her virginity and find her “lobster” (aka her true love) before college, and Sam wants to lose his virginity and move on to another girl. When Hannah and Sam randomly meet at a party and completely hit it off, all that they think about is each other. Although they both have different friend groups and go to different schools, Sam and Hannah vow to themselves that they’ll find each other. After two failed hook-ups (with other people), a falling out with a friend, heartbreak, and exam results, Hannah and Sam finally find love in each other.
What I loved the most about this story is that it’s told by two different perspectives: Hannah and Sam, both of which are going through exactly the same things. These two narrators, though starkly different, have the same completely dorky and adorable qualities. The best thing about the narrators is that they’re insanely funny and incredibly witty. These two perspectives had me laughing out loud several times.
The basic plot of the book is about Hannah and Sam trying to find each other, and the authors do an excellent job writing a sweet and undeniably awkward love story. Their relationship is messy at times. Things fall apart, people mess up, and situations change, and that’s what makes this book so realistic. The authors take a love story that every person dreams of having (sweet, random, and romantic), and it makes it undoubtedly real. Sam and Hannah work very well together– they understand and love each other, but it takes a long time for them to get there. Generally, a lot of YA romance books don’t show you that side of things, but this one does.
Another thing that this book does very well is show the reality of growing up. These characters are all limboing between childhood and adulthood, and they’re trying to find their place in this world. The main characters don’t really understand what it means to be adults, even though they long to be them. Hannah, especially, struggles with what it means to be adult in terms of platonic relationships. From all of the problems that she has with Stella, like with most teenagers, she doesn’t know how to deal with it. Throughout the book, she constantly struggles with finding that relationship she had with her best friend when she was younger and redefining it, and it’s amazing that the writers are able to portray this so well.
A Totally Awkward Love Story takes a story about messy firsts, and turns it into a coming-of-age story that resonates with all people transitioning from childhood to adulthood. It’s clear that Ellen and Ivison understand their audience, and what it means to find yourself. This book makes you laugh out loud, empathize with every character, and have massive cringe-attacks because you completely understand the awkwardness of growing up in the span of about 300 pages. We’d definitely recommend this as a fun, light, and hilarious summer read.