A Little Something Different
Swoon Reads / August 26, 2014 / $9.99 print, $7.12 digital
Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.
But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it.
You have heard the saying that it takes a village to raise a child—well, in this new playful release, A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall, it takes a village to get two crazy-for-each-other university students together.
Some of you might have never been shy or self-conscious in seeking out the object of your infatuation—you see someone you like, you strike up a conversation and if nothing comes of it, well, there are plenty of fish out there. But for those of you who've agonized over every sighting, explored every nuances of a simple one word conversation, like “hi,” be prepared to be thrown back to your youth with Hall’s amusing and tender story of two people finding their way to each other.
Now, two people being too shy or introverted to make the first move is nothing new, but the way the book unfolds is. The story is not told by either Lea or Gabe but by the people around them. It is clear to their creative writing instructor, the baristas at Starbuck, the Chinese deliveryman, the local bus driver, the waitress at the local café and even the squirrel that watches them walk to class that Lea and Gabe are perfect for each other. Pheromones of attraction float in the air, as they gaze at each other—but of course it is only when the other is not looking, and sadly it appears that it is only visible to others, not the two themselves.
So I bet you’re wonder how you can tell a story from bystanders’ viewpoint. Using the thoughts and conversation of fourteen different—well I can’t say individuals, because there is the squirrel and I can’t say beings either because there is the park bench, let’s settle with entities—is very creative and cute!
Victor (another student in their creative writing class):
Why do Big Foot and the Giraffe always sit by me. I swear I randomize my seat each class and somehow I still end up between or near these two dillweeds every single time…
I’m tired of playing chaperone to their weirdo mating ritual. Talk to each other already! You’re in college! Stop being coy and adorable. And I don’t mean adorable in a positive way. They’re cloying and maybe even a little bit pathetic.
I make the next stop and they get off together, though they don’t talk to each other at all. Both of them thank me, and they’re the rare kind. Makes me happy, makes me think that maybe they should talk to each other but I suppose I don’t have any control over those things.
Inga (university professor):
They have a story. I’m telling you, there’s no way they don’t have a story. They have this chemistry that’s impossible to ignore. I don’t even know what it is. But I’m going to do whatever I can to get them together.
I see a boy and a girl. The girl gave me peanuts once and she always looks at the boy a lot. He looks at her too. But they always look at each other at the wrong second. But today they look at each other at the right second and they both smile so wide it looks like they’re laughing.
I hope they’re laughing.
I hope they like acorns. Maybe I’ll throw some acorns at them. No. that’s a bad idea. I don’t want to lose my acorns. I don’t want to share. Call me a bad squirrel, but I do not like to share my acorns.
Frank (Chinese-food delivery guy):
Finally both elevators slide open, and a girl emerges from one and a guy from the other.
“Delivery?” I say, holding up the bags. “Is it possible you guys ordered the same thing?”
“Sesame noodles with chicken and side of fried dumplings?” the girl says looking from me to the kid.
“Yeah,” the kid says, so quietly that it’s like barely a word and more of an exhale.
“Seriously?” I ask.
He nods and she smiles.
“And you’re not together?” I ask, confused. “This has never happened before. It might not seem like a big deal, but I’ve been delivering for my family’s restaurant for six years and it’s literally never happened before.”
“No,” the girl says. Guess she’s the spokesperson tonight. “Not together. But glad we could break some kind of statistical record for you.”
Reading A Little Something Different will put a smile on your face, not just because Gabe and Lea are adorable in their awkward, gauche, and sweet courtship, but because of the very real portrayal of youthful insecurities (and how you finally get it right).
Learn more about or order a copy of A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall, out now:
Leigh Davis, blogger