A Little Something Different
author : sandy hall
pages : [paperback] 272
memorable quote : Sometimes it’s better to say something stupid than nothing at all.
favorite point of view: bench
Lea and Gale 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.
Fall in love with falling in love with this irresistibly romantic, completely original novel!
A Little Something Different is just that: a love story you’ve certainly never read before. Though the plot circles around two college students destined for one another, the reader never hears from them. Instead, the book rotates between fourteen different points of view that try to tell the story of how these two get together. You know from the very beginning that they’re going to be a couple–literally every character mentioned seems to know, innately, simply from looking at these two that they’re not just cute together, they’re destined to get together. I thought that it was a cute and fun concept; I wasn’t looking for a particularly deep story . . . I wanted something more.
It’s hard to learn too much about characters when they’re never able to speak for themselves and there are so many other first person narrations imposing their own feelings/interpretations onto whatever Gabe and Lea (our leading guy and gal) are doing and saying. The narrators have a great deal of variety–there’s their creative writing professor, a handful of friends for each of them, a bus driver, a barista, a squirrel, a bench. Yes, the perspectives do get a little crazy, but I have to admit that I really enjoyed reading from the bench’s perspective.
I’m the oldest bench on this green and I get no respect. I’d like to say there are worthwhile things about the job. And maybe sometimes there are. Sometimes you get a really perfect butt; however, all rear ends are not created equal.
It was hilarious, reading about it going on about Gabe’s perfect butt and how terrible it was when anyone came to talk to Gabe on the bench because then it was distracting the bench from the butt.
Unfortunately, other than the comic relief, the perspective switch didn’t really do much for me except get me confused and angry. If an author is going to have more than one POV in a story, it’s absolutely imperative that they don’t sound identical. It isn’t like it’s easy–if you prefer to write one way, it’s going to be hard to write in thirteen different styles to showcase those POVs. Hall really failed at making her characters unique, in my opinion. They all had very similar quirks and the sense of humor was the same. Different people of different ages shouldn’t be making the same little jokes. Most of the characters were really stereotypical of “the college experience”-i.e. a creative writing professor who is artsy and quirky, that guy in class who is eternally angry about everything for no reason, athletes who only seem to go to parties or talk to girls. If anything, the effort that had to go into making these people practically stalk Gabe and Lea so we could see more of their story just accentuated all of their already exaggerated features. Victor, the angry guy in their creative writing class, just ended up making me angry.
I shake my head and roll my eyes and just barely keep from concussing myself into oblivion . . . I pick up my fork off my tray and pretend to stab myself in the eye with it.
Just a few lines from Victor’s POV when he’s in the cafeteria overhearing a conversation between Lea and Gabe. They literally aren’t doing anything to him, he has the freedom to leave and carry on his own life, but instead he eavesdrops so this can happen.
I did read the little author interview that was included at the end of my paperback and saw that Sandy Hall had written this entire book in six days. Six days! That’s incredibly impressive, but it also kind of makes me sad. This book might have been awesome if it’d been given a lot more time and love.