Published by Swoon Reads on August 30th 2016
Source: Author Review Copy
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, LGBT, Contemporary
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Gideon always has a plan. His plans include running for class president, becoming head of the yearbook committee, and having his choice of colleges. They do NOT include falling head over heels for his best friend and next door neighbor, Kyle. It’s a distraction. It’s pointless, as Kyle is already dating the gorgeous and popular head cheerleader, Ruby. And Gideon doesn’t know what to do.
Kyle finally feels like he has a handle on life. He has a wonderful girlfriend, a best friend willing to debate the finer points of Lord of the Rings, and social acceptance as captain of the basketball team. Then, both Ruby and Gideon start acting really weird, just as his spot on the team is threatened, and Kyle can’t quite figure out what he did wrong…
A couple adjectives to describe this book would be adorable, quick, fluffy, and light. It almost played out like a high school movie. We have very authentic characters dealing with various real life situations that influence the way they act. Even though the short length of the book means that these situations aren’t fleshed-out as much, there’s no denying that they were great additions to the story. I’ve been reading this author’s books since her debut A Little Something Different, and I find that her books always deliver on sweet, short stories that may be fleeting but certainly makes a reader feel warm and fuzzy inside for a while.
Told in the first person perspective of multiple characters, Been Here All Along follows two best friends: Gideon and Kyle. I love the way Hall wrote these two seemingly different characters who became friends at a young age, shortly after becoming neighbors. They’re both on their junior year of high school and going through realistic things during that age. Let me just say Gideon is pretty much me: he’s organized, efficient, and has clear goals set in mind. We open the book up with him thinking about making SAT vocabulary cards to use during a boring school pep rally.
My request to use the wasteful pep rally time to study SAT vocabulary was quickly shot down by the vice principal. Doesn’t mean I’m not going to have a pile of flash cards in my pocket. The administration can’t stop me from becoming more than my monosyllabic classmates could ever imagine.
Kyle, on the other hand, is a bit more slow at catching up with school work. He’s tall and plays basketball, while Gideon is short and running for student council. Hall does a great job in creating this foil that sets these characters apart. Despite it all, they’re still great friends who geek out to Lord of the Rings. How freaking cute is that? However, not everything is what it seems. For one, in the beginning of the book Kyle comes out as bisexual to his girlfriend of six months, Ruby. This in turn makes Gideon start questioning his own feelings to Kyle, which spurs him to do things that will have consequences later in the book.
I have – I hate myself even as I think the word – a crush. I have a crush on my best friend. I have become a teen rom-com cliche. There is no hope for me.
Hall delivers creative characters that certainly reflect characterizations that can be found in the real world. Ruby’s vindictive actions are not that uncalled for, and Kyle also deals with surprising problems along the way. The book is set in a very authentic feel of life, high school, and relationships. My only complaint I guess would be the fact that even though the author presents all these great aspects of life – positive and negative – none of them gets explored in the book. Like I said, the short length makes it very difficult, but these situations just end up being touched upon and never examined in-depth. I feel like that would help me in liking some of these characters more. Suffice it to say I just ended the book with warm feels for Gideon and Kyle.
Okay but seriously, you’re really going to need to read this book to feel how adorable it is. It played out rather like one of those romcom high school movies (think: The Duff, 10 Things I Hate About You, Mean Girls, She’s All That, etc) ((I JUST LOVE HIGH SCHOOL MOVIES OKAY *sobs*)) that deal with all aspects of life with adolescent characters. And a cute love story to mix it all in. I can’t say I like the fact that certain moving issues aren’t really attacked, but again, it is a shorter book that does a great job instead of delivering a sweet story. I found this to be a contemporary YA that I could really connect to, even though I didn’t have everything in common with the main characters. It was super easy to empathize with these well-written characters. On the other hand, the plot was extremely predictable and I pretty much knew what was going to happen from page 20. I’m glad the book was just a little over 200 pages long, so I could get through everything that I already knew would happen. I would totally recommend this book to YA readers that are looking for a quick, quirky, and qute escape from real life.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Thank you Swoon Reads for the review copy, in exchange for an honest review!