Give Me A Reason by Lyn Gardner
Date: October 25 2013
**Winner of the 2015 National Indie Excellence Awards in LGBT Fiction**
**Finalist in the 2015 International Book Awards for Fiction: Gay & Lesbian**
**Winner of the Silver Medal in the 2014 Global Ebook Awards in Gay / Lesbian / LGBT Fiction**
**Winner of the Silver Medal in the 2014 eLit Book Awards – Illuminating Digital Publishing Excellence in Gay / Lesbian Fiction**
Rating: 5.50 out of 5.50
Read: February 12 to 14 2016
By the time I got to this book, there were a large-ish number of reviews, and all but 24 people 'liked' the book (or 4% of the readers; I'm going with how GoodReads takes everyone that rates a book 3,4,5 and calls them 'like' for % purposes). And so, I'll just tackle a few things here and there.
1) I loved how fully formed the characters were. I'm sure there were things here or there that could be pointed at, probably some of the side characters, but there's even more fully formed side characters going on in this book than is normal in a romance.
2) And we come to the main thing I wanted to mention - the . . .genre of romance novels, I guess I could label the 'thing'. Romance novels, with exceptions, seem to be relatively repetitive in at least one way - they might not all get there the same way, they might have a million and one variations, but they tend to follow a certain path. Two people (occasionally more, but I do not tend to read love triangle books, and rarely poly books) circle each other for most of the book, and even if they 'come together' as a couple fairly early on in the book, that doesn't remove the book from the repetitive cycle. It just means that the couple will probably either have outside forces pound on the relationship (a danger/damsel in distress type situation), or internal forces pound on the relationship (fear, miscommunication, cheating, etc.). And then, as long as the book is actually in the capital R Romance category, then the book ends with a HEA (Happily Ever After) or HFN (hmm, I have the second one wrong, but whatever the letters are, they mean 'Happy for now'). Some include a chapter or two in an epilogue section that follows the couple as a couple. As a fully formed entity. Some don't have that epilogue.
Romance novels tend to get around this relatively repetitive trap of having the majority of the book being about the formation of a couple-hood instead of being about a couple as a combined entity through two to three means - (A) create a series wherein the couple in book 1 can show up as a fully formed entity in book 2 but are not the main characters (see such series like Soho Loft, that Shifter Universe by Jae, the two series by Lynn Galli (Virginia Clan and Aspen Friends) etc.), (B) have a book that's really really long, like, say, this book here. (C) is something like a trick - have romance elements but put the book in a different genre - which the fanfiction by Fletcher DeLancey involving Star Trek Voyager mostly is - Science Fiction with very strong elements of Romance. Or be like two of Galli's books - follow the same couple, but add an element, the second book changes the normal emotional 'things' that wrap themselves around a couple and slam against them, and wrap themselves, instead, around family - so it's a two book series involving a Romance, and something else (Slice of Life?).
I thought, while reading, that the book could have had a great closing roughly around the 56% mark. And when I feared, as I occasionally fear, how this specific author was going to 'mess with' the couple, I kind of wanted it to end there. I'm really really glad that the book did not, in fact, end there, though. But if it had, then it would have been two things - longer than the average romance novel (being, as it is, that 56% of the book would be 371 pages, and most Romance books from 'official channels' in the lesbian genre tend to be closer to 240 to 300 something); and, the second thing, roughly in line with that repetitive thing I mentioned above that Romance books fall into. However they get there, the books are about the formation of a couple, not about a couple living their life after formation of their relationship. Well, this 'formation' didn't end at 56%, but there was enough there for it to close, then have some epilogue tacked on the end. Then spin the second book out as a sequel. I'm, roughly, 100% happy that that isn't the direction this author went.
As I think I mentioned somewhere along the way - this is a fully formed book. A mixture of a Slice of Life book, with a Romance, with a Family novel all rolled into one (with the addition of a 'Holiday' novel slipped inside as well). It even had the element of danger/damsel in distress/etc. mixed in. And no I'm not only talking about flashbacks for that/this point.
Hmms. I just realized that I finished this book in the early morning hours of the 14th. It's one of those books I figured I'd read a little then close it for sleep, glanced at the clock and saw it was 1 am, glanced again when I realized I'd finished the book and noticed it was 3:30 am. *shrug* Back to the 14th - it's a rather good book to read/finish up on/begin the day with on Valentine's Day.
ETA: Oh, right, forgot two elements that I reminded myself of when I glanced at my status updates. This book includes a love scene, and yes I call it love instead of sex, that is arguably the best I've read. And I forgot when I was mentioning things that this book contains - it also contains humor. Bits and pieces here and there.
From my status updates:
- Now that, friends and whatevers, is how you write a love scene. A+ and words like that.
- 'Smiling at her accomplishment, Toni looked over at Laura. “I recommend we don’t open this until Scotland or the bloody thing will projectile vomit all over the motorway.”' - re: filling trunk with luggage. Was funny. I laughed.
February 14 2016