Honestly, there are few things I love more than f/f rom-coms! Today’s review is about a new YA one that needs to be on everyone’s radar.
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Title: I Think I Love You
Author: Auriane Desombre
Release date: March 2, 2021
Synopsis: “A sweet and funny debut novel about falling for someone when you least expect it . . . and finding out that real life romance is better than anything on screen.
Emma is a die-hard romantic. She loves a meet-cute Netflix movie, her pet, Lady Catulet, and dreaming up the Gay Rom Com of her heart for the film festival competition she and her friends are entering. If only they’d listen to her ideas. . .
Sophia is pragmatic. She’s big into boycotts, namely 1) relationships, 2) teen boys and their BO (reason #2347683 she’s a lesbian), and 3) Emma’s nauseating ideas. Forget starry-eyed romance, Sophia knows what will win: an artistic film with a message.
Cue the drama. The movie is doomed before they even start shooting . . . until a real-life plot twist unfolds behind the camera when Emma and Sophia start seeing each other through a different lens. Suddenly their rivalry is starting to feel like an actual rom-com.”
I Think I Love You is an adorable, laugh-out-loud queer YA rom-com that I already know will be a huge hit with teen readers. It’s a contemporary retelling of Much Ado About Nothing, but can certainly be enjoyed by readers who aren’t familiar with the original. Emma and Sophia may be in the same friend circle, but they couldn’t be more different. When they decide to enter a film competition, the two (of course) clash and can’t seem to agree on anything—and they quickly decide to split the group up and create competing films. But Emma and Sophia have no idea that their friends have a behind-the-scenes scheme that just might make them see each other in a new light. Emma might actually get the rom-com of her dreams with the person she least expected.
This YA contemporary is definitely a novel where the characters and their relationships stand out. Both lead characters are passionate and feel multi-dimensional. Emma is bi and Sophia is a lesbian, and the two have always pushed back against their friends’ expectations that they should date just because they’re both queer. Much to Emma’s chagrin, Sophia has just returned from a year away in Paris, and desperately wants to find a place for herself in her old friend group again. Emma and Sophia’s friend group is fleshed out and I loved following their hijinks. They’re the kind of friends who will do whatever it takes to help their pals out—including coming up with a wild plan to trick Sophia and Emma into spending time together.
In addition to being a romance, I Think I Love You is very much about family, both chosen and biological. The two protagonists have very different yet equally complex families. Sophia is still processing her parents’ divorce and her mom’s decision to remarry and move to Paris. She’s struggling with feelings of betrayal and abandonment, while wishing she could go back to the idyllic family of her childhood. Meanwhile, Emma has a wonderfully tight-knit family whom she’s afraid to come out to. As the two grow closer, they find themselves opening up to each other about their families, despite their supposed arch-enemies status. And while they both work on their films for the contest, they find themselves exploring their own fears, anxieties, and wishes through the camera lens.
Auriane Desombre’s writing style is funny, fresh, and easy to read. The alternating perspectives work well, and both Emma and Sophia felt like distinct voices. I truly loved the way friendships and family are dealt with in I Think I Love You, and I believe that Emma’s coming out plotline will resonate with many readers. I found the pacing of the novel to be well thought out, and it kept me engaged in the story all the way through.
I Think I Love You is a sweet, fluffy rom-com that is perfect for fans of retellings, or readers who enjoy the enemies-to-lovers or opposites-attract tropes. It’s a light and utterly readable romance that will also be a hit for younger teens or those who are new to YA romance. I’m so excited to have another sapphic rom-com to add to my library collection and share with the teen book club at my library. I’ll be recommending I Think I Love You to fans of Jennifer Dugan, Marisa Kanter, and Kelly Quindlen. Auriane Desombre is certainly a new voice in YA that I’ll be keeping my eye on!
Thank you to NetGalley and Underlined for the digital review copy!