Novelly Upon a Time by Sarah Monzon

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Novelly Upon a Time by Sarah Monzon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

When reviewers complain about the inauthentic feel of the romance in Harper Jones’s latest novel, Harper’s editor suggests that the author go out and get some actual romantic experience. Harper isn’t too keen on doing so, especially not with the guy who constantly infuriated her back in high school, Kyo Tanaka, in Novelly Upon a Time by author Sarah Monzon.

Skipping the book blurb beforehand, I jumped right into this novella, enjoying Harper’s voice from the get-go.

Now, the enemy phase of enemies-to-lovers scenarios can wear on me if “the lady [or gent] doth protest too much,” if a romantic character seems to be overplaying their disgust. Also, considering the real-life societal climate around, timing may have been a key reason why certain jokes in the book concerning Pearl Harbor, forceful arrest by police, and Nazis didn’t strike me as funny.

I actually started breathing easier as the story became more serious, particularly during Harper’s reflections on Japanese internment in the US and her unsettling feeling that “we seemed not to learn from our historical mistakes and were headed once again in the same direction.” Not at all a happy thought, but a sentiment shared by this reader.

Don’t get me wrong—I did smile and even laugh aloud at times during the read, and nothing beats a writerly heroine who rides a bike and takes public transportation. I do wish Kyo could have had a little more time to be present onstage, and though it’s a romance, the romantic relationship doesn’t seem to own the story’s climax so much as it leads up to it, or shares it with another relationship.

Nevertheless, lots of folks who can appreciate a good mix of light and heavy in a short and sweet romance should enjoy this one.


This novella is a part of the Book Nerds and Boyfriends Collection.


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