Book Reviews

The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth: Book Review

This is a spoiler-free review.

The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth

Published June 9th, 2020 by HarperTeen.

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Saoirse doesn’t believe in love at first sight or happy endings. If they were real, her mother would still be able to remember her name and not in a care home with early onset dementia. A condition that Saoirse may one day turn out to have inherited. So she’s not looking for a relationship. She doesn’t see the point in igniting any romantic sparks if she’s bound to burn out.

But after a chance encounter at an end-of-term house party, Saoirse is about to break her own rules. For a girl with one blue freckle, an irresistible sense of mischief, and a passion for rom-coms.

Unbothered by Saoirse’s no-relationships rulebook, Ruby proposes a loophole: They don’t need true love to have one summer of fun, complete with every cliché, rom-com montage-worthy date they can dream up—and a binding agreement to end their romance come fall. It would be the perfect plan, if they weren’t forgetting one thing about the Falling in Love Montage: when it’s over, the characters actually fall in love… for real.

“See, the thing about the falling in love montage,” she said, her voice hoarse, “is that when it’s over, the characters have fallen in love.”

This book utterly destroyed me. I’m talking wave after wave of emotion. Not to be dramatic, but I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. You know that first time you read a book and you just know it’s going to be one of your favourites for ever and ever and you’ll definitely read it over and over again and feel the exact same way? Yeah, that was this book for me.

The Falling in Love Montage is everything I’ve ever wanted in a book: a cute – sapphic! – romance, strong family themes, and a coming-of-age story. The main character, Saoirse, is such a treat. I really appreciated that even though throughout the story she’s figuring a lot of things out, one thing that she never questions is her sexuality. (Also, I just loved the way she talked about Ruby? I, too, love a soft tummy. 😍) She’s quirky, sarcastic and incredibly relatable. It’s impossible not to feel something while reading her story, and I for one was obsessed with her voice. SO fun and heartfelt all at the same time.

I have this bad habit of always reading a chapter or two of a book before getting around to reading the synopsis, so I was totally not prepared for Saoirse’s mother having early onset dementia. As a queer woman whose own mother has dementia (and who is and has always been absolutely obsessed with romcoms)… this was incredibly hard but also incredibly cathartic to read. I know this is my personal biases showing, but damn, everything with the mom got me right in my feelings.

I loved how this book wasn’t just about the romance between Saoirse and Ruby, or just about Saoirse and her mother, or even just about Saoirse graduating and going off to college and trying to figure out what she wanted in life. Any of those would have been enough to get me, to be honest, but the fact that it was all that and more? That’s what made it incredible. This read is such a whirlwind, you can’t help but get swept up in it. I felt so personally invested in this novel, haha, and watching Saoirse grow and change for the better was so rewarding.

Everything in this book just felt so honest and real. It also manages to include all that gut-punching emotion and to be a cute, fun read all at the same time? I can’t even. Smyth is such a fantastic writer. It’s crazy this is her first novel. Do yourself the favour, and pick up this book!

What books have you read recently that instantly became forever favourites?

Let me know!

Liza is a twenty-something book blogger who spends way too much time with her nose in books and feels way too much. She loves cooking, baking, reality tv show watching and, of course, reading. She can be found most often with a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other. Her blog, Literary Liza, features bookish content like reviews, recommendations, and author interviews.

Leave a Reply

Discover more from Literary Liza

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading