Wahey, there. I kind of forgot I had this arc until I saw the pub date I apparently put in my Google Calendar (haha, thank you past!DB for being smart). Luckily, it was a pretty quick book. Also, I’m a bit confused? Goodreads says it’ll only be published in 2021 but Netgalley and the author’s website says 2020, so here I am, I guess.
Just because I didn’t like the book, doesn’t mean you can’t like it 😊
Title: When You Get the Chance
Authors: Tom Ryan, Robin Stevenson
Year Published: 2020
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Genre: Young Adult ~ Contemporary ~ LGBT+ characters
Rep: Queer main character, gay main character, non-binary side character, casual lgbt+ characters
Disclaimer: I received this e-arc through Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. The image header and the quote edits used is my own and the link in the book’s details is to the book’s Goodreads’ page. All quotes given in the review are from the e-arc and therefore might not be accurate. The summary is my own (well, I summarised the Goodreads description). All opinions expressed are my own.
Mark and Talia, cousins, have not seen each other for a couple of years, due to their parents fighting over something unknown that happened when the cousins were kids. But then they have to see each other and spend time with each other for their grandfather’s funeral.
And it’s Pride. In Toronto. Which is very close to them. And both Mark and Talia have their reasons for going.
Will they both get there? Will they find what they’re looking for? Will they find out why their parents don’t talk to each other anymore?
Let’s focus on the narrators first. This book is narrated by two people – cousins. One’s Mark, and the other Talia (whose name I forgot for a few seconds. I only remembered Mark’s because his is on a Note on my Kindle as my Notes are currently pulled up). And I felt both narrators were pretty boring. I liked Talia a tiny bit more, but that was it.
I mean, Mark, to me, felt so self-centered and boring and privileged and just, sorry, but boring again. Like instead of helping around the house he decides to have fun. He should’ve paid more attention to Paige, seriously. He tries to act funny but it just fails. Talia, while the (slight) better of the two narrator, tries to act like she’s awkward and cool at the same time and it only makes her look more awkward and not in that cool type of way. While she is very proud of her identity, and she can most certainly be, it just felt like she was pushing all her ideas and opinions onto other people and trying to make them think like her. And people don’t feel the same way and that’s okay!
I love this cover so much. The font’s super cool, the rainbow road and the car, all so great. But… that’s about it. The third star is solely for the cover. Paige is mostly the reason why I didn’t star it lower – she was at least funny, adorable, and she reads Magnus Chase so ☝🏻☝🏻
The way the chapters just end. There are good ways to end a chapter, then there are bad ways, and then there are just… ways. I know I’m not making sense – but to me the endings of the chapters didn’t make sense? Like there’s still meant to be another paragraph but there isn’t – because it’s the end of the chapter.
And I’m sorry if I sound old and all – but the WAY they get to Toronto and eventually Pride is SO UNSAFE in a big, HUGE way and it just further annoys me with how teens are written in regards to how they treat their parents. Like?? They just swear in front of their parents with no repercussions? They do this thing where they just go out and don’t tell their parents? My parents had to have at least two of my friends’ phone numbers and if we were going other places, I had to message them about it. And Mark and Talia tell their parents nothing and they’re not even stressed about it?
And the parents?? Don’t even get me started on how much they annoyed me. So, this ‘big thing’ happened when their kids were younger (can’t talk about it too much as it’ll be a spoiler) – but to me it wasn’t such a big thing – and they decide to not speak to each other for a whole bunch of years??? Have they not seen Parent Trap?
The plots. Well, there were plots. That’s about it. Like literally. I already spoke about the parents and the Pride and I just felt very let down by both.
As much as I really wanted to give it 2 stars, I decided to give it 3 stars (the third star was literally for the cover alone). And when it comes down to it, this can be an important book for readers. Just because I didn’t like it doesn’t mean other readers won’t absolutely love it to bits. And that’s perfectly okay. I loved the cover and the Pride scenes and moments with all the casually queer characters – that’s great. But it wasn’t enough to distract me from the subpar plots and shoddy characters.
Have you read this book? Tell me your thoughts down below in the comments! Isn’t the cover great?