Hello and happy Wednesday. I have now decided to start taking notes about the books I’m reading to help me remember my thoughts when I’m reviewing, and so I have one page and a half full of notes on Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame. Are we ready for them?
Let me start by thanking the author and NetGalley because I had the chance to read an ARC of this book and now share my review with all of you. I love reading books by Wattpad authors because I think that is an amazing community, and I love to see writers succeed thanks to it.
If you’re looking for a great summer read, this is it because it will make you fly all the way to California and be sixteen again. It’s your typical “girl flies to another city to spend time with her estranged parent” scenario, which we’ve already read in The Statistical Possibility of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith and How Hard Cal Love Be? by Holly Bourne. If you know me, you know I adore both books, but I rolled my eyes to see that was a part of this book.
I had a major issue, and I would put it out there as a potential trigger warning, with Eden (the main character) always skipping meals and having problems with her body image. This wasn’t explored in depth as an eating disorder, but it was hinted that way. I’ve said it before in reviews and I’ll say it again now: authors have to be very careful when addressing issues like eating disorders; they have to document themselves, and they have to be aware of the fact that their readers are most likely teenagers who might be prone to suffering from them. Eden doesn’t seem to understand the seriousness of her problem, and her family’s not aware of it either, so treatment is never mentioned, and that was a big no-no for me.
When I was taking the picture I used for this post, I read the text in the cover, which says something about a forbidden kiss or something like that. Then, as I read, Tyler, Eden’s step-brother was mentioned and, of course, everything made sense to me. Needless to say, the plot was super predictable from then on. Something that bothered me big time, though, was the fact that before the “forbidden kiss” Eden absolutely despised Tyler for no apparent reason. Like, yes, he had an attitude towards pretty much everyone, but she’d encounter him twice and seemed to think of him as her worst enemy.
Eden herself was a character I didn’t like at all. She was immature, but immature in a relatable Lara Jean Song kind of way, you know? She was more like, why is this kid still here bickering about everything. I didn’t appreciate the fact that she was always insinuating how she was “not like other girls” because she liked running and her Converse had song lyrics written on them. And yet, despite how original and different she was, guess who she hung out with? Hypocrite much?
My dad is married, and his wife has two kids, who I consider my siblings. I know not all family dynamics are the same, but I don’t understand why Eden hater her family so much. Like, honestly, nobody forced her to travel to Santa Monica to be with her father and his family, it was Eden who made the choice, so why was she always complaining about everything?
Let’s go back to Eden and Tyler because the story centers around them anyway. I felt that some situations were forced in order for them to be together, you know? Like it’s summer and they’re staying at the same house and they share a group of friends, so just let their encounters be more organic. The fact that their encounters were so not casual, made it obvious that they were going to end up together, even to those not reading the little text on the cover. In YA, two people don’t spend so much time together and not end up being a couple, that’s just not how it works.
Now let me get something off my chest (no pun intended, I swear), but what’s with heaving a sigh? I’d never heard that expression before, which is not weird because English is not my first language after all. I got to read it repeatedly throughout the novel and it annoyed me every time.
You know I love me some bad boys, and Tyler was definitely one, but I feel the way he was portrayed didn’t do him justice. For instance, he was a vegetarian, which was sorta thrown out there halfway through the book like it was nothing. I think it would’ve given depth to Tyler’s character if the reasons for his vegetarianism had been explained in the story, you know? There’s also Tyler’s story, which might call for another trigger warning on child abuse, or rather domestic violence. It was briefly and (at least to me) superficially explored, although it then led to a bit of character development and to an interesting plot twist.
Tyler compensated for a few things I didn’t like about this novel, which in all fairness are things I don’t like in general. For one, it’s the fact that Eden and Tyler engaged in a relationship that was not only forbidden because they’re step-siblings, it was plain cheating. Tyler had a girlfriend called Tiffani, and she was the most stereotypical character ever, who also caused or was always at the center of your stereotypical high school drama. An example? Sure, here’s an example of her drama, but it’s a spoiler, so skip to the next paragraph if you don’t want to read it: the whole baby drama. I mean, seriously? Are you really going to pretend to be pregnant? Ugh.
I grew up in a country where parents are super involved in their children’s lives, so it was a little odd for me, and rather hard to believe that the parents in this story were rarely around. They were always conveniently away whenever there was a party or a big event. Not realistic at all, if you ask me.
I’m nearing the end of my notes and they’re happier than the others, so let’s explore the things I liked about this novel. I really liked Dean and Eden’s relationship. I thought their friendship was fresh and nice. I enjoyed the fact that although this book is over 400 pages long, it took me over a week to read it. And, oh, let’s go back to Dean and Eden: the ending of the novel reminded me a whole lot of It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han. Then I read the epilogue and, yep, definitely like INSWY. The epilogue, though, made me think “what the hell…?” because honestly Estelle, did you just skip ten months? What? Why? Nonetheless, it was probably my favorite part, and it of course made me want to devour the second book in the series.
So, those are my thoughts on this novel. Thanks again to NetGalley and Estelle Maskame for the ARC. If you read this book, please let me know what you think!
Love, Miss Camila