When I read the blurb for An Unexpected Kind of Love I was immediately intrigued and thought it sounded like a gay Notting Hill. But sadly it was a bit of a letdown. I really wanted to love this book, but there were just too many things that were off, both with the characters and the plot. The characters were either non-likable or too bland, and the plot just didn’t make sense, nor did the romance part. It was just impossible to understand why the two main characters would ever be attracted to each other.
The story follows bookstore owner Aubrey Barnes, who is struggling to keep his business going, when a film company throws his quiet, ordinary Soho street into chaos. Not to mention bringing the hot American actor Blake Sinclair into his life…
I loved the bookstore setting, all pop culture references and how devoted Aubrey was to his books, and I really appreciated the representation both in terms of sexuality and disability. With all this, and on top of that the perfect romcom Soho setting, there was so much potential to this story! If only the main character had been a little more likable and the romance more believable…
I usually love quirky and broody characters, but Aubrey was just too grumpy and whiny, always complaining about everything. He also felt very judgmental and unpleasant with everyone. Like how he scoffed customers buying books for their covers, or the way he treated his friend Gemma like an inconvenience, when all she did was be there for him and help him out with all his petty troubles.
Blake in the other hand was almost too likable. He didn’t have a single flaw and didn’t feel like a real person. I loved the way he tried to get Aubrey’s attention by moving books in the store, and the cute Notting Hill references, but other than that it felt like we never really got to know Blake beneath his looks and charm.
But the main problem was that the romance felt completely rushed and unbelievable. Especially a thing that happened at the beginning of the book that was completely unexpected and made instalove feel slow in comparison… The romance definitely would have needed a little (a lot!) more build up to make me root for it, especially as it never made sense why the characters would even be attracted to each other in the first place. All along the book, it was never clear what actually made them realise that they had deeper feelings than just the physical attraction for each other. There was much more focus on Aubrey feeling misery for various reasons, than on him falling in love with Blake. And what Blake could ever see in grumpy Aubrey is beyond me. It was also so weird that Blake was completely fine with being seen with Aubrey in the beginning, but then it was a major deal that their photo was in the tabloid since he wasn’t out. Until that moment, there had been no mention about whether Blake was out or if he was even gay or bi or whatever, which made it all just feel like a manufactured plot drama.
So, I’m very sorry to say that, even though this book had so much potential and so many ingredients that I love, it sadly wasn’t for me.
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alwyn Hamilton Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.G. Drews Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elizabeth Acevedo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray John Green Julianne Donaldson Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Williamson Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Mackenzi Lee Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally M. Tasia Nancy Garden Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve River Braun Roan Parrish Roseanne A. Brown Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Saundra Mitchell Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophie Gonzales Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Teagan Hunter T.J. Klune Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard Yamile Saied Méndez