Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Book Review: "Will You Won't You Want Me" by Nora Zelevansky

Will You Won't You Want Me? Nora Zelevansky
Published: April 19, 2016
Genre: Romance
Source: Netgalley
Highly Recommended

You might enjoy this book if you like: Books with a touch of whimsy, books about struggling to adult, books set in New York City

Marjorie Plum never meant to peak in high school. She was Queen Bee. Now, 10 years later, she's lost her sparkle. At her bleakest moment, she’s surprised by renewed interest from a questionable childhood crush, and the bickering with her cranky boss—at a potentially game-changing new job—grows increasingly like flirtatious banter. Suddenly, she’s faced with a choice between the life she always dreamed of and one she never thought to imagine. With the help of a precocious 11-year-old tutee, who unknowingly becomes the Ghost of Marjorie Past, and a musician roommate, who looks like a pixie and talks like the Dalai Lama, Marjorie struggles with the ultimate question: Who does she want to be? Nora Zelevansky’s Will You Won’t You Want Me? is a funny, often surprising, novel about growing up when you are already supposed to be grown. 

My Thoughts:
Every once in a while I come across a book that is just a delight, one that is both comforting and unexpected.  Will You Won't You Want Me is one of those books.

This is classified as a romance, and it is a romance.  But it is also something else.  It chronicles the struggles of adulting (and, as we all know, the struggle is real!) Marjorie is that person--one I think many can relate to--who believes she "peaked" in high school.  Now, ten years later, she feels that her life has no direction.  Zelevansky skillfully shows, instead of tells, us all exactly how unfulfilling Marjorie's life has become and how she knows what the problem is, but not how to solve it.

And there is a love triangle, which is sometimes a turn-off for me.  Either it is set up with one person trying to decide between a "good" option and a "bad" option, or it just becomes a muddled mess of emotional angst.  Here, however, it works.  Partly because the Marjorie's two romances are kept separate and the one that fails, fails on its own merits--just as the one that succeeds, succeeds not because Majorie chose that option over the other option, but because she made a decision to pursue that relationship.

I loved Zelevansky's writing style--I'm not sure if this is her first book or not (oops...a check just showed that she has one other novel, which I will most likely be reading soon), but she is definitely an author to follow.  The first thing that really pulled me in is the perspective,  It is told in the 3rd person omniscient voice, but that is usually as some disembodied voice who just seems to know everything.  Here, however, it is like someone (not any of the characters in the book) sits down with you and gossips out a whole juicy story about Majorie and her friends and family.  I felt like I was in on the story, not just a reader on the outside.

Another area where Zelevansky shines is her ability to write place.  Most of the book is set in New York City--which is where many writers would stop.  Instead, Zelevansky creates the world of Manhattan and the world of Brooklyn and she brings the reader along with her into those worlds.  When the action moves to the world of the wanna-be-but-not-yet Rich and Famous of Los Angeles, Zelevansky succeeds again.  Admittedly, she might be relying a bit more on cliches here, but it is still entertaining and believable.

If I had to choose one word to summarize this novel, it would have to be "charming."  Reading it was a delightful experience and this is a book I would recommend to anyone looking for a love story with a heroine who will win your heart.

I received an electronic copy of this book in return for an honest review.  I received no other compensation for this post.

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