ARC April is going swimmingly, and I spent all Sunday reading this contemporary romance set in Seattle with realistic depictions of teens, mental health discussions, a medical condition rarely seen in YA (or books in general) and a little literary mystery. While this book could have done more to flesh out the mystery, I liked it well enough overall.
Birdie is feeling freedom for the first time, and she’s not quite sure what to do with it. She’s eighteen, her mother has been dead for eight years, and her grandmother who home-schooled her has been dead for six months. So she’s excited to start her new job as a night clerk at the famous Cascadia Hotel…except that on day one she runs into a boy, Daniel, she may have had a brief…run in…with a month before. Now, she has to deal with the blooming relationship she literally ran out on since Daniel is still interested in her, and willing to woo her. Brimming under the lid of their relationship is a reclusive, mysterious author who may be frequenting the hotel and hiding an even bigger secret than his true identity. Along the way there is talk of self-harm, narcolepsy, the perils of pregnancy, teen sex education, and more.
It’s kind of jam-packed with some heavy topics–like undiagnosed health problems, parental abandonment, suicide, etc, but I don’t feel like it tokenizes any of those topics–just doesn’t necessarily have the time to spend with them all. But, I did feel like Birdie was one of the more realistic teens I’ve met in YA. Her understanding of sex was super refreshing, tbh, and I also loved the freedom she had which is reflective of my own upbringing and how kids truly are at 18, about to go off to college. She and Daniel are also an interesting pair because the end goal isn’t college for either of them and that is totally accepted! I think we need to see more of that in older YA novels.
Overall, this book wasn’t perfect but it was a quick read with a cute little complicated romance at its heart and has lots of mystery novel references.