The heroine of his book is named Clementine, and she is part of a famous, wealthy family. She also loves to read romance books; she has a book review blog; and she has bonded with strangers on the internet over her love of books. I felt like the author was using meta trickery, speaking to me and all the book reviewers, telling us that we’re awesome and romance is the best. And hey — she’s not lying. Is it pandering? Maybe, but it went with the character enough that by the end, I didn’t mind it. I couldn’t really identify with Clementine because some decades and some millions of dollars separate us, but I didn’t hate her. I liked her, okay?!
Due to an airport mixup, Clementine has switched phones with a guy named Justin. They’re both on vacation for a week, so they agree to return their phones when they’re both back in Chicago. This sets up a week of careful are-you-single? conversations, followed by casual flirting and texting beach pictures back and forth. Have no fear, the entire book does not take place over the phone.
By the time they meet in person, Clementine is twitterpated. She actually uses that word, because she is One of Us. Justin is pretty full of lust himself, and their first date goes well. Clementine is the sole narrator, and it was cute to see her notice so quickly that Justin always fidgets, especially with his hands. He loves to stroke her skin, or hold her hand.
I wanted to think that this book would be too twee, that Justin would be too perfect, that the romance would be too shallow. But, magically, the author made me have feelings for the rich girl who can’t figure out what she wants to do with her life, even though her money and last name mean she can do anything she wants. When her grandparents asked why she couldn’t decide, and Clementine had a panic attack? That’s where I felt for her.
Justin is too perfect, but in a way that you feel like Clementine needs him, and she deserves him. For his part, Justin realistically falls for Clem. He’s a writer, she’s a writer, they discuss who/whom and affect/effect during foreplay. They make out while telling each other things they’ve never told other people. They both feel so damn lucky to have found each other that they jump right in.
Also, Clem’s narration is pretty hilarious and spot-on. “I wanted not to be swooning, but that ship had sailed.” “It was, by far, the most #firstworldproblem I could think of.” “Reading on the beach > real estate. Fact.” Then, again, showing that she’s One of Us, Clem discusses romance with Justin.
“What’s your favorite book?”
“That’s like asking me which molecule of oxygen I’ve enjoyed breathing the most.”
“It’s a romance. And before you feel compelled to laugh at me or question my intelligence, I happen to like romances. Lots of intelligent people do. It’s a genre, just like science fiction or fantasy, and no less unrealistic, and no I don’t think it’s porn for women, and yes, I do read other things, so just shut up about it.”
Basically, this book was a lot more fun than it had any right to be. There were some shenanigans at the end that were almost too much, but I forgive them. The worst thing I can say is that the sex scenes were either vague or closed-door. But it was fun to watch these two fall in love, and even though it was fast, I was totally on board.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
Call Me, Maybe
by Ellie Cahill
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Publisher: Random House