And so, every Sunday for the foreseeable future, I would like to highlight short stories and novellas set in worlds I've already come to love and learn a little more about some of the secondary characters in my favorite novels. I'll be underscoring some of my favorite aspects of these short works of fiction, in addition to offering up a mini review of each work.
This week I'm featuring a cute, contemporary story from the author of The Sweet Trilogy:
Author: Wendy Higgins
Series: stand-alone novella
Publisher: HarperTeen Impulse
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
It's no secret that I loved Sweet Evil. I rarely have time to re-read novels these days, but I've read that one three times already since its release. And Wendy Higgins' foray into the lighter side of YA is just as addictive. Granted, it's a short story and it's supposed to leave you wanting more, but that's irrelevant at this point.
Flirting With Maybe was adorable and sweet, but it also delves deeper into relationships at a time when the main character is just starting to find himself. Yep...this story is told from a male perspective. I love the male POV, but I'm also always a little skeptical of them when they're written by a female author. I just want it to feel authentic. And Ryan's voice in this story totally did. Actually, I think this character is a lot like my husband would have been at that age. He's so respectful and thoughtful now that I can't imagine him any other way, even as a teenager.
So, Higgins got the voice right, but what about the actual relationship between a younger guy and a slightly older woman? She nailed that one, too. In fact, in high school, I had this exact same relationship. (Trust me, younger guys can be just as mature and intelligent as peers your own age, if not more so; it just depends on the guy.) The relationship that develops between Ryan and Brooke is chaotic at times, but it's also one built on a great friendship, and so there's actually the potential for a meaningful relationship there, despite some of the bumps they have to overcome along the way. It's true...a couple of years difference in high school may be a big deal, but later on down the road, it becomes nearly insignificant.
This novella covers a span of nearly three years, I think, but all of the important events were touched upon, and nothing felt rushed. It was genuine, covering years of heartbreak, betrayal, love, and above all, a friendship that withstood the test of time. I loved how it ended, with a sense of promise and hopefulness without revealing too much about the future of these kids, but if you're curious, there's also an epilogue over on the author's website. I'll be honest, I thought the true ending was perfect as it was, but if you prefer a more conclusive ending, you'll probably appreciate it.
Oh, and there's a short preview of Sweet Peril at the end. =)