Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Me on Been Here All Along

Title: Been Here All Along
Author: Sandy Hall
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Reads (Macmillan imprint)

Gideon always has a plan. His plans include running for class president, becoming head of the yearbook committee, and having his choice of colleges. They do NOT include falling head over heels for his best friend and next door neighbor, Kyle. It's a distraction. It's pointless, as Kyle is already dating the gorgeous and popular 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. Then, both Ruby and Gideon start acting really weird, just as his spot on the team is threatened, and Kyle can't quite figure out what he did wrong.

Been Here All Along is a sweet, fast-paced story about friendships, relationships, changes, and being willing to trust those close to you with the truth, even when it descended into cliché and shallowness.

Gideon is the over-achiever, the super smart and super dedicated teen boy ready to take on the world and lead his peers as class president. He's a little awkward, he's a little short, and after some serious pondering and being honest with himself, he's nursing a major crush on his next-door neighbour and best friend. Now, how to hide it from everyone when he's a little obvious whenever he looks at him. Kyle is the sociable athlete with the cheerleader girlfriend, the sort of openly bisexual athlete. He's happy with Gideon at his side, with Ruby as his girlfriend, with basketball. But when there's a change in English teachers, things aren't as easy as they used to be. He's trying his hardest, putting in all the extra hours he can, but he's still not getting it. He needs Gideon to help him more than ever now, if things weren't a little awkward between them.

A fair amount of this book takes place in the high school both boys and Ruby attend, but it might as well be an empty building full of people. Days pass, time moves on, and there is character development, but I got nothing, felt nothing, from the setting. There was talk of classwork and teachers, a lot of Kyle's struggles center around school, but it was like a non-entity. Kyle is captain of the basketball team, but the important game was barely mentioned. Gideon wants to be class president, but where's all the planning and the campaigning?

This is a good book to pick up if you're looking for something quick, sweet, and a little silly. Gideon and Kyle are characters that are complicated when they're alone, supportive when they're together. There were some other characters, like Ruby, that felt like stereotypes and clichés, that felt flat and only there to serve a purpose as a vague nemesis/misunderstood character. A cute and fluffy book about two teen boys realizing they like each other more than friends, yes, but I was lost looking for something deeper.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)

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