Title: Been Here All Along
Author: Sandy Hall
Genre: YA / Romance/ LGBT
Rating: 3.5 /5
Gideon always has a plan. It includes running for class president, becoming head of the yearbook committee, and having his choice of colleges. It does NOT include falling head over heels for his best friend, Kyle. It’s a distraction, it’s pointless – Kyle is already dating the 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. So when both Ruby and Gideon start acting really weird, just as his spot on the team is threatened, Kyle can’t quite figure out what he did wrong.
(Description from Pan Macmillan)
Warning: I am about to use the word ‘cute’ a lot. So this is the first time I have ever read a gay love story, and I had no idea what to expect – but it definitely wasn’t this level of cuteness. Gideon and Kyle are possibly the two sweetest things on the planet. The way that their friendship blossomed into love felt so natural and so right.
I loved all the characters. Yes – I even loved Ruby, the ‘bad guy’. She had a mean streak for sure, but I think Sandy Hall wrote her in such a way that we could empathise with her as well. To be honest I felt really sorry for her- she was going through a lot and had no-one she felt like she could talk to about it.
I felt like having Ezra’s perspective in there was a bit too much. It was a short novel, and having four POV’s was maybe too much. Still, it was nice to see how much he cared about his brother, but there wasn’t a lot of room for character development there.
Gideon and Kyle, what can I say? I love them both. I loved their banter, their obsession with the Lord of the Rings, and the way they became so bashful around each other when they realised their feelings were deeper than friendship – they were so, so cute!
I also thought this story dealt well with a range of issues. I think this book would be a really helpful read for anyone who is thinking of coming out to their family and friends. Gideon’s family was super-supportive of him – THE WAY ALL FAMILIES SHOULD BE WHEN SOMEONE COMES OUT. Their friends were all super-cool with it and very accepting. It was nice to read something where two people coming out was just not a big deal, everyone kind of just got on with their lives.
There was actually quite a lot of self-discovery going on in this story, and it wasn’t all about sexual orientation. There were other things going on, like learning disabilities, jealousy, friendships, and love. I thought the author did a great job of weaving these different themes into the story. There were so many positive vibes and I loved it.
Plus Kyle and Gideon are adorable! Okay, I know I’ve already said that, but I seriously ship them so hard. I mean, they can both write in Elvish. They’re both awkward but so, so sweet. Gahhhh I just love them so much.
As much as I loved all the acceptance and support that was going on, I felt like some opportunities for conflict were wasted. A lot of the sub-plots in this story got resolved really quickly – sometimes it felt like this group of teenagers were a little too supportive of each other to be realistic. While it’s nice to have such a sweet story, there were times when I was really hanging out for a bit more drama.
This book was a quick, easy read. I read it in two sittings, in between writing essays for uni (sob). The storyline was fairly simple and kinda predictable, but it was honestly nice to read something light-hearted and sweet.
Overall I think this is a super-cute book and that people should read it. It’s not gonna blow your mind but it will totally blow your heart open wide (in a good way, I promise).
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication Date: 27/09/2016
Price: $16.99 AUD
Thanks to Pan Macmillan for sending me a copy of this adorable book in exchange for an honest review xx