an absolutely perfect book to buddy read. I truly and highly recommend reading this one with a friend or two. I did and I have zero doubt that the reading experience was made all the better for having done so. Yes, this was another buddy read with my buddy read besties, Christelle and Josy. So thank you ladies once again for a fun weekend.
"What It Looks Like" wasn't at all...what it looked like. It was more, way, way more. While the blurb actually only gives us a very general and to be honest in some ways vague story description something which has been known to keep me from reading a book but in this case I had a friend who wanted someone to read it with her...side-eyes Josy...and said friend and I felt compelled to drag Christelle into the experience...kicking and screaming, right Christelle? NOT!!!
What we found was a book that on the surface seemed like it would be ok and when we got into it we discovered layers and layers of things that added depth and interest to the story along with the fact that at some point or another one or more of us wanted or needed to talk about.
This is the point at which I would love to go into a big long detailed explanation of what I loved about this book and why...however, I'm going to refrain from a lot of it because in order to do that I'd either be giving away...way, way too much information about the story or this review would be one long trail of spoiler tags. So here goes with what I feel I can comfortably say...
I loved both Eli and Rob. As a couple on paper I'm pretty sure it shouldn't work but they did. They were like two pieces from different puzzles that somehow slotted together perfectly to create an unexpectedly new and beautiful picture. Yes, I did get a little frustrated with Eli a couple of times but Eli also snuck into my heart in a really big way and I found it easier to see and understand his motivations for some of the things he did, I'm not saying I agreed with him just that I was able to understand. Rob on the other hand for all of his big, gruff, crude talking, street fighting, inked exterior was even easier to love. He was the type of man who loved who he loved and was fiercely loyal and protective of those he loved. While he may not have grown up in the best of circumstances he was so much more than what he looked like.
For all their exterior differences both Eli and Rob knew what it was like to not be accepted for who you are, to have people pass judgement on you solely based on superficial reasons rather than because they took the time to get to know you. To be rejected by their family...the people who should love you the most. But it was from these things that each man learned to look deeper and see what others had missed.
Rob and Eli shared a relationship that was not always defined by what most would consider to be 'normal' or 'traditional' guidelines but by what Rob and Eli felt worked for them and this prompted much discussion during our buddy read. Discussions that had me and I'm sure my reading partners stepping back and viewing things from different perspectives and seeing things hopefully in a new and different light...see reading with friends is a good thing.
The dynamics between Eli and his family and Rob and Eli's family are to say the least precarious at the best of times and were very central to the story line and the tentative ending that was given to this part of the story was so well done. It wasn't suddenly a Christmas card family scene but it was a very believable scenario that left this reader feeling like maybe things would never be great but they could at least have a chance at getting better.
This was my first time reading this author and I was 100% impressed. For me 'What It Looks Like' really wasn't it was so much more and so much better. Like my friend Christelle, I was taken on a veritable emotional roller coaster ride and I was wonderfully surprised by how much I loved this book...seriously LOVED this book.