I was in the mood for a little light reading, after a pretty uneventful clinic day, when I stumbled upon this novel, long lost in my e-book library (which I have been slowly guiltily filling up with titles, much like my print book reading pile), and I figured why not give it a go. The cover reminds me why I downloaded this particular title. A Little Something Different promised a simple love story with a little twist. It is told in fourteen different viewpoints, none of which belong to our young couple.
It’s really a interesting concept! I’m almost frustrated I didn’t come up with it myself. I think every couple has their own batch of cheerleaders, and we actually get to see the love story of Gabe and Lea unfold through the eyes of these so-called cheerleaders. I have my own share of seemingly ignorant friends who seem to be the only ones blind to the obvious spark between them, so I share in the frustration of being a bystander, of getting caught up in that perpetual dilemma of “What on earth are we going to do about these two?!”. Why can’t they just see what I see?
That said, I give props to Sandy Hall for attempting this unique way of storytelling. Definitely something different! I found some viewpoints more thoroughly-written and delivered than some. I personally liked reading through the eyes of Sam, Gabe’s ever-supportive older brother; Inga, the over zealous creative writing professor; Victor, the annoyed classmate; and Charlotte, the overly-involved Starbucks barista. In the beginning, I felt that the introduction multiple narrators came across as a little confusing for the reader, but as one went through with the novel, each voice began to stand out and take a life of its own. Well, mostly. I still found a few narratives a bit too similar in voice – cases in point, Sam and Casey; and then, Inga and Maxine. I struggled with some of the fast transitions, in that the author jumps from one narrator to another a bit too abruptly, leaving so little leeway for any character growth. Then again, perhaps, Sandy Hall didn’t intend for there to be any character growth with regards to some of her characters anyway, and instead, just focused on using them as a storytelling device, in that they’re just there for another perspective, to be another viewpoint, no matter how shallow. The addition of the viewpoints of the Squirrel and Bench was a cute attempt, but somehow, fell flat for me. While some may find that the two said viewpoints add humor to the story, I think the story could have done without their parts. Likewise can be said for the parts of Frank, the delivery guy; Bob, the bus driver; and Pam, the professor’s wife.
Overall, A Little Something Different succeeds in delivering a light and cute love story with a twist with the use of the viewpoints of our young couple’s cheerleaders. But all expectations should end there. There is really nothing different about the story itself, the plot, and even the cast of characters. In fact, you’d probably identify almost every rom-com stereotype in this one! For little ol’ me who was then tired from clinic duties, this certainly fulfilled my want and need of a light read.
- The Author Q&A portion at the end of the book revealed that it took Sandy Hall a mere 6 days (!!!) to complete this novel. WOW. Now that’s a feat! This, of course, was done after a few good rounds of outlining and planning with her method of choice (plotting via index cards). I guess it goes to show that once you have everything mapped out, producing your desired output will definitely be easier. That said, I wish I had the discipline and time (mostly the time) to properly plan out my novels. God knows how hard it is to repeatedly refresh one’s memory and orientation with regards to one’s novel-in-progress when one doesn’t have a regular writing schedule. BV you, medical school. And oh boy, with the board exams coming up, one just can’t focus on novel writing, eh?
DOCTOR’S ORDERS: a guaranteed delight to fans of cute and light romances, filled with all the elements that make a pretty decent chick-lit told in a unique way of storytelling with the use of multiple narrators
Watch out for: a few moments that are TOO sweet and sappy; a bit of confusion when it comes to narrator transitions; a lot of FRUSTRATION – you’d practically mirror the thoughts of the narrators and can’t help screaming: Why don’t the two of you just give in and get together?!