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All the Better Part of Me

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It's an inconvenient time for Sinter Blackwell to realize he's bisexual. He's a 25-year-old American actor working in London, living far away from his disapproving parents in the Pacific Northwest, and enjoying a flirtation with his director Fiona. But he can't deny that his favorite parts of each day are the messages from his gay best friend Andy in Seattle, whom Sinter once kissed when they were 15. Finally he decides to return to America to visit Andy and discover what's between them, if anything. He isn't seeking love, and definitely doesn't want drama. But both love and drama seem determined to find him. Family complications soon force him into the most consequential decisions of his life, threatening all his most important relationships: with Andy, Fiona, his parents, and everyone else who's counting on him. Choosing the right role to play has never been harder.

[Content warnings (INCLUDES SPOILERS): homophobia/biphobia (some internalized), pressure to come out, pregnancy, car accident, hospitals]

307 pages, Paperback

First published September 3, 2019

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About the author

Molly Ringle

15 books405 followers
[Aug. 2022 note: I'm going dormant on Goodreads and moving over to Storygraph. Find me there! I'm under username mollyringle and would love to connect.]
Bio: Molly Ringle was one of the quiet, weird kids in school, and is now one of the quiet, weird writers of the world. She/her. Perv on the page, demisexual panromantic in RL.🏳️‍🌈

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 160 reviews
Profile Image for Anniek.
1,772 reviews651 followers
June 12, 2020
*This review contains major spoilers of the book, so be aware of that when reading this review*

I received an eARC of this book through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review.

I was expecting a wholesome new adult romcom with a twenty-something questioning his sexuality. If you're hoping for that too, I'm so sorry to say that this is not that book.

Sometimes I think the books with more subtle problems and clear potential for good representation ultimately hurt us more than the books with horrible problems. And this is one of the former, for the most part. I actually ended up crying because it hurt to think how good this book could have been. It hurt to see parts of amazing representation in a book that felt so damaging.

First, I will explain why it was so painful for me to not like this book's representation. I'm going to explain exactly what happens in the book, so stop reading here if you don't want to see spoilers.

I really loved the main character, Sinter. He's 25 years old at the start of the novel, and he's only now questioning his sexuality. This is exactly my own experience, and since being bi is a part of my identity as well, I could really relate to him. We don't get a lot of LGBTQ+ new adult novels in the first place, so this book could have meant so much.

What especially felt like a punch to realize, is that I haven't seen part of the book's storyline anywhere else, in any book, ever. Because Sinter not only falls in love with his childhood best friend, Andy, there's also another storyline that intersects with that. Before he starts dating Andy, he has sex with this woman, and she ends up getting pregnant. She doesn't want the baby, but she discusses the possibility for adoption with Sinter. Instead, he decides that he does want to keep the baby, so he makes the decision to become a single parent (he's not really dating Andy at that point). First of all, I loved seeing a woman who is just completely uninterested in being a mother, and seeing her engage with that feeling and how the world responds to it. As well as a man deciding to be a single parent, when it's usually the woman who ends up keeping the baby. Secondly, Andy and Sinter do get together when the baby is born, and they end up raising her together. I have never seen a young same-gender couple go through the process of having a child before, and this made me really emotional, because why did I have to first see it here, in a book that was not actually a safe space for me to read?

While I did see so much potential, the author really missed the mark in several ways. Most of those were quite subtle, so I struggled to put my finger on it while reading for a long time. I do have some larger issues as well, and I will discuss those below, but my overall issue is that she just didn't grasp exactly what it's like to be queer, and this hurt to read, especially because I could see she'd made an effort (sometimes good intentions having a bad result hurt more than bad intentions). There were so many small ways the main character and love interest related to queerness that felt awkward and forced, and those little incongruences hurt so much to read. Especially when they kept adding up.

Let's also get into my four main issues:

1. This book uses a near-fatal car crash as a dramatic plot device to move the story along. This was clearly meant to make Sinter realize he loved Andy, and bring them together. But it was completely unnecessary. Sinter doesn't realize sooner, because he has other things on his mind, like having a baby. So when he finally gets to pick up his baby, he already realizes that if he pictures his future, Andy is a part of that. And Andy has already said that he wants to be with Sinter, so the accident is in no way necessary to bring them together. It's just one more instance of a gay character suffering for no reason other than to add drama, like some sort of torture porn for "allies".

2. The book portrays the need to come out in a very damaging way. On multiple occasions, Andy tries to pressure Sinter into coming out. It's talked about several times as if not being out means that you're lying to people, which is absolutely, 100% not true and a horrid thing for people to buy into. You are not lying to people if you aren't ready to come out to them (yet). It's even said at some point: "Being in the closet is no way to live". While this might be true for some people, this is clearly said from a place of real privilege, because not everyone will be able to come out, maybe ever. And that doesn't make them liars, it doesn't make them any less valid.

3. Sinter has to prove his bisexuality to himself and to others to perceive it as "real". He doesn't acknowledge that it's his actual identity (and neither does Andy) until he has sex with Andy, as if that's what affirms his identity. There's a lot of talk about his identity being centered around action, like if he's really bisexual, he has to "act on it" by sleeping with a man, since he's only been with women before. An example: "...I didn't want to go claiming an identity that I might never want to back up with action." Nope, not how that works. This is once again a damaging concept, because sexual and gender identity are not determined by action. Bisexual people do not have to prove their sexual identity by sleeping with people of multiple genders to be perceived as valid.

4. The author clearly did not understand why people sometimes don't question their sexuality until a later age. I mean, it's not her own experience so why would she? But this felt pretty painful to read, because the book gave quite a narrow view on why people wouldn't "just come out sooner", as a matter of speaking. Basically, she seems to think the only reason it took Sinter so long to realize he's bi is that he has actually sort of known all along but he was in denial. This might sometimes be people's experience, and of course that's valid. But it implies that if you don't figure out your sexuality as a teen, you must have already known then anyway but have just been in denial ever since. This is not my personal experience at all, and I know there can be very many reasons why it takes people longer to start questioning their sexuality, so I really didn't appreciate this view.

Rep: bisexual MC, gay Latinx love interest, trans side character

CWs: religious and internalized homophobia, anxiety and mention of a panic attack, unplanned pregnancy, car accident and hospital stay
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Molly Ringle.
Author 15 books405 followers
October 4, 2021
[First, content warnings for the book: homophobia/biphobia (some internalized), moments of ill-advised pressure to come out, ]

This is a coming-out story, a story where a lot of the focus is on sexuality and identity. But it’s probably the only one of that category I’ll ever write. I have written and will continue writing characters who happen to BE queer (along with straight ones), where the story’s focus is on other things, but it’s true that a focus on LGBTQ issues feels like “not my story to tell.”

I consider myself demisexual, as well as Q for questioning (because surely a genuinely straight person wouldn't spend as much time wondering if they're really straight as I do 😄), and I have many wonderful LGBTQ beta-readers and relatives and friends, who have been enthused and encouraging about my writing such stories, while also helping fix my awkward wording. But as someone who's been married to a cis guy for years and whose dating history has been only a few people, I've never had to face coming out or suffer homophobia or transphobia firsthand.

I was moved to write a story about coming out and having homophobic parents because of the many, many true stories I keep hearing from queer folks still being needlessly damaged by the attitudes of others, even in our “tolerant” era, even in “blue states.”

I wrote this book to say “I see you and I love you and support you” to them, and, sure, maybe to hope I might change a few homophobic minds if they’re open to changing (ha, well, I can dream). But having written it, there, I step back and leave the issue-book field.

I’ll move on to the cheerier scenario: LGBTQ characters getting to have cool adventures alongside the straight cis characters without sexuality or gender identity being an issue. The way things should be; the status quo we can aspire to. I want that shining future. I hope well-written diverse books, no matter who writes them, can help open up mindsets so we can get there.

Anyway, here's the lighter version of this statement...

Ways in which I am like Sinter Blackwell:
we both:
- were born and raised in Oregon
- have a mild anxiety disorder
- love the UK, new wave and new-wave-inspired music, theatre, eyeliner, goth fashion, temporary tattoos
- think mayo is gross

Ways in which I am not like Sinter Blackwell:
- he's tall
- he's male
- I'm questioning and demisexual rather than bisexual (though actually I view him as fairly demi too)
- I'm not in my 20s, although I DO have ten full years of experience as a twenty-something, recently enough that we had the internet the whole time, although I grant you it was dial-up for the first couple of those years

And here's the book's afterword if you're curious:

When I first created Sinter Blackwell, he and I were the same age. It was the 1990s, and I was an eighteen-year-old student at the University of Oregon. Sinter first appeared, complete with eyeliner and black clothes and Robert Smith hair, as the dorm roommate of Daniel, whose story (Relatively Honest) I was writing at the time. (But you don't have to read that one to make sense of this one! They're both stand-alones.) There was a guy I sometimes saw around campus who looked like my description of Sinter, and his appearance fascinated me. I never met him or learned his name, but I feel I owe him a long-delayed “Thanks, man!”

As for Sinter’s name, I was taking a geology class at the time, and learned that sinter is a sedimentary deposit left by springs or geysers. I thought it was a cute name that I ought to give to a character. It’s probably not a choice I would have made these days, but by now, having come back to Sinter again and again in attempts to retell his story, it simply IS his name and cannot be changed. Oh, and my geology professor’s last name, which I also thought was cool? That was Blackwell.

People who have read some of the rough-draft iterations of Sinter’s story (or Daniel’s, in which Sinter is a supporting character) kept telling me they liked him and wanted to see more of him. So even though it took me over twenty years and I’m now almost old enough to be Sinter’s mom rather than his contemporary, I hope I have given him the update he deserves. Writing his story always was and has continued to be a sweet, delightful experience.

P.S. If you want a preview, the first two chapters are on my site!
July 29, 2020
Audio – 5 Stars

I guess you can say that Alex Kydd is an acquired taste. Although he is excellent with accents, performs very well and has a wonderful deep voice, he does also have this surfer/dude bro kind of thing going on. At a 1.25 audio speed, it worked great for me.

Story – 4 Stars

From an almost DNF to a solid 4-star favorite read for me!

This story required patience that I didn’t think I had. I wanted to dnf a couple of times because of the pacing, the slow no burn (ftb sex scenes..ugh! Why?!), the telling instead of showing, and the angst overshadowing the romance. But curiosity got the better of me, and I wanted to know how things would workout between the MCs. Turns out the story was worth continuing. There were some events and emotional scenes that really tugged at my heart strings, and had me fully invested in these guys and their happiness.
Profile Image for Kyle.
375 reviews559 followers
October 29, 2020
*Updated 10/29/20* - I dropped the rating further, remembering how problematic this book could be.

Actual rating: 1.5 (rounded down)

Huge thanks to NetGalley, Central Avenue Publishing, and the authoress for providing me with this eARC in an exchange for an honest review.

A few things: I find it hard to believe any of these characters were in their mid-to-late twenties. Sinter and Andy spoke like teenagers, and the dialogue (which is predominantly text messages between them) felt very much YA (LOTS of emoji smiley faces!!!!). Most of all— and this is sounding redundant of me lately— it was a bit too “cute” for me at times. (But the 80’s playlist aesthetic is neat).

Speaking again on the writing: yeah, it wasn’t fantastic or groundbreaking, as others have mentioned, but it was a quick read, and was averagely enjoyable if only because Sinter is an oft-unseen character. There aren’t very many good contemporary narratives these days involving bisexual characters, who are also the main protagonist (do not speak to me of Red, White & Royal Blue, because that book is trash!). So, reading about Sinter’s burgeoning awakening is enlightening and important. And the fact that none of it ends in tragedy is also a positive note, because too often these lgbtq stories are riddled with problematic tropes and sadness. It wasn’t a very surprising story, either, because 10% into the book, I already knew exactly how this would end . And I think the author meant it that way. Like, “this person is only a momentary fixation, because that unavailable person is endgame.”

Midway through, the whole thing just sort of hit a lull and dragged. I was bored of Sinter and Andy. The story didn’t feel right, either. Like, I could tell it was written by a female author— and it dawned on me that this was coming off as actually some kind of gay male fetishization on Ms. Ringle’s part. Another reviewer made mention that the author seemed to have trouble writing male voices, and I wholeheartedly agree with that critique.

The people around Sinter are all very emotionally warped and melodramatic. All highs and lows (especially Sebastian, Sinter’s parents, Fiona, and sometimes Andy). Lots of righteous anger and resentment and pride and jealousy... I don’t think many people are that overblown. They made many unfair and unreasonable claims, arguments, and ultimatums. There weren’t any shades of gray at all. And Fiona’s frequent attempts came off pretty, well, (I hate to say it) desperate and pathetic. Then the whole bit was thrown into the mix and... I don’t know. This book isn’t necessarily long (it’s under 300 pages), but I thought many elements of the plot were stretched far beyond what they needed: there was a lot of skirting around and ignoring the issues at hand to draw the drama out longer than necessary.

I tagged it above in a spoiler, and I won’t go into specifics here, but something happens around the 80%-ish mark that dropped the rating down for me. The “event” in question really just felt tacked-on and unnecessary. I guess it was an attempt to make the story feel more dramatic and elicit some strong emotions?? I don’t know. I found it really inappropriate and problematic and disappointing. Still, though, I liked how it ended, ultimately.
Profile Image for Cas.
270 reviews55 followers
March 10, 2020

This book put me in a coma, and I don’t mean in the “oh my god this book was SO GOOD that I’m dying” kind of way. I mean in the “my blood pressure skyrocketed to Saturn while I was reading it and when I finished this book I was in such a state of anger that I temporarily became the Hulk” kind of coma. I mean it like, if I could sigh any harder, I’m legitimately afraid I would black out from oxygen deprivation.

Here’s a little secret and trick of the trade when it comes to frolicking through the literature field.

Sometimes, occasionally, once in a while, you run into this little voice in your head that has no regard for logic or reasoning, and sometimes it especially jumps out when you see potentially pretty books. Not only is that your inner superficial dumbass talking, but it’s Satan. It’s a form of Satan named Janet with yet another bad idea that involves reading YET ANOTHER book about an LGBT+ character that was very, painfully clearly written by a near to middle-aged straight woman that is so off the pulse, she’s with the cadavers both when it comes to actual representation and any idea of what young people are “like nowadays”.

This all meaning:

When you look at this book with its pretty cover plastered in bi pride colors, Shakespearean title, and read the summary that sounds like it promises the misadventures of a chaotic disaster having a great Bi Epiphany that you feel in your soul, and then think that it sounds like a fantastically fun thing to pick up and commit hours to: that’s Janet talking.

This book was so infuriating that it makes me hate the bi pride colors, my FAVORITE colors, one of my OWN PRIDE FLAGS, for this irrationally livid moment whenever I look at it because it’s an absolute insult to it. This book is an insult. And I don’t care how much the author did or did not intend for this book to be problematic or fetishizing, it is and no desperate grasping of straws and crying “well my couple of queer friends said it was okay so it must be!” will excuse the absolute fuckery I am now frantically trying to bleach out of my brain.

Allow me to demonstrate.

Sinter Blackwell is a twenty-something actor living in England, working whatever job he can get. While he’s working a shift at a bar, a woman named Fiona walks in and she changes Sinter’s world. Because of her, he ends up filming a movie. During the duration of this movie, Sinter develops a flirtation with Fiona whilst maintaining a “that’s not very straight of you, my dude, but to acknowledge that, I would also have to acknowledge that I may have feelings for you” flirtation with his very out and gay best friend back home in Seattle.

This, in theory, is all fine and dandy except Sinter has a brief closet romp with Fiona at a party, realizes it’s not at all what he wants, and decides to go back home to Seattle to see what comes of his curious friendship going on friends-with-benefits with Andy.

That, too, is all hunky fuckin’ dory—except Fiona tells Sinter that she’s pregnant and she doesn’t want the baby, but she wants to carry to full term so someone can adopt the baby. This, in turn, leads to Sinter having a complex about it and throwing his relationship with Andy up in the air, which—of course—leads to turmoil between the two. Which is also fine for the drama except (and here comes my fucking favorite), instead of being patient and understanding of the situation as a whole (putting aside the fuckery of it anyway) because Sinter isn’t as open as Andy wants him to be, Andy gives Sinter an ultimatum.

And honestly, suck a fucking cactus if you really think LGBT+ people force each other out of the closet by giving our significant other’s ultimatums when they’re scared and just learning to explore their sexuality after growing up in a homophobic family that forced them to compartmentalize any chance of figuring it out sooner. Like honestly. Fuck off.

Everything about this book really tested my limits and I’m so extremely done with this. I try really hard to be neutral even when I don’t like a book because I understand the whole “to each their own” and just because it wasn’t for me doesn’t mean it won’t be for someone else and blah blah blah, but this book is problematic and damaging and quite honestly, disgusting and I don’t adhere to it and to be frank with you, I think only straight people that read Wattpad fanfiction and think they have any clue what it’s like to be queer would actually enjoy this book, so. I said what I said and I’ll stand by it and I would throw this book in a bonfire if I owned a physical copy of it but it lucked out, I happen to like my Kindle (and also lack the money to replace it in a fit of rage).
Profile Image for Roberta Blablanski.
Author 5 books64 followers
April 30, 2019
Simply amazing.

When I first heard about this story over a year ago, I fell over myself with excitement. I am a huge fan of the 80s, especially the music, and the major draw to All the Better Part of Me for me was the New Wave influences. Each chapter title is a song title from the 80s, and the songs fit perfectly with the narrative.

So I went into reading All the Better Part of Me with extremely high expectations. I wasn’t disappointed in the least.

Have you ever read a book that made you feel giddy, whether it be a particular character, the plot, or the writing? That’s how I felt from the moment I got to know Sinter. Sinter is hands down one of my favorite characters ever, and Ringle’s writing gives him such a great voice. He’s got a huge heart that influences everything he does. He’s endearing, even when he makes mistakes. He’s the kind of person who, if you met in real life, you’d hold on to tight and never let go. Because everyone needs a Sinter in their life.

A decent portion of Sinter’s interactions with other characters is done via text message. These interactions are engaging and perfectly convey the development of his relationships with the other people. Ringle gives life to what can sometimes come across as staid, impersonal communication on page.

Ringle takes stale plot twists and gives them new life. I don’t think this would have worked with any character other than Sinter. He is thrown more than one curve ball over the course of this book, and his actions are genuine and sometimes heartbreaking.

An amazing soundtrack, a captivating MC, and an engrossing plot combine to make this one of the best books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.
Profile Image for Anna.
1,357 reviews228 followers
November 25, 2021
Oof. I am pretty disappointed in this one. I read this before a couple years ago and remember really enjoying it but I think over the last couple years as I have come out myself and had a lot more exposure to a variety of queer identities and experiences, I find this book more problematic than enjoyable.

I do still really think that we need more stories about older people coming out. We need them because while a lot of people come out or know that they're queer as a child or as a teenager, a lot of us don't and to have representation where people in their 20s 30s 40s 50 60s etc come out and embrace their most authentic selves is really vital. Unfortunately what I saw as decent bi rep a couple years ago, I now can recognize as fairly problematic. Not only is Sinter of the mindset that action equals sexuality meaning that until he actually has sex with a man that he couldn't be bi. We are also subjected to a pretty toxic gay character who constantly pressures Sinter to come out and tells him that if he really wanted it he would come out and that is dangerous messaging to send. Coming out is freaking scary okay and coming out as an adult is surely a very different experience than coming out as a teenager. Coming out is an adult after everyone has these formed opinions of you have who you are as a human being and you go and turn them all on their head is scary and vulnerable and it's not an easy thing to do especially if you have homophobic or transphobic or generally toxic people in your life as Sinter does.

Beyond the dangerous and problematic messaging about coming out, this book also uses trauma of the gay character to push the MC into coming out. It also has a weird transphobic line about imagining the trans person as their assigned sex. There is multiple comments about sex and attraction and romance being universal human qualities.

As much as I adore the adult emo character trope, I cannot overlook the problematic moments of this. This book could have been amazing and really great representation for queer people who are going to become parents and it also had the potential to be really stellar bisexual representation where the bi character has relationships with multiple genders over the course of the book. Instead it turned into a queer denial harm the gays trope which is extremely disappointing seeing as his author identifies as demisexual and questioning.

I'm working my way through a reread and this is definitely one of those unfortunate instances where I almost dislike the book now when I really loved it the first time I read it. Perhaps it's a part of me being out as queer for longer and also having a lot more exposure to other queer people and communities vs the minimal exposure I had during my first read. I'll be doing a full review but I'm sad this didn't hold up.

Original review: disclaimer, I'm not actually bi, but ace.

From 2019:
This may be one of my favorite reads of the year. I absolutely needed a story about an emo guy in his twenties who comes out (eventually) and fall in love with his gay best friend. There were many pieces of this book that made it special for me, first off the bi representation, then the emo music references, the theatre jobs, the adorable text/email conversations, and the romance. As someone who came out as bi at just about the same age as Sinter, I found a lot to relate with him about. Honestly, I just loved this one. I cannot wait to get a physical copy when it is released.
Profile Image for Tim.
169 reviews5 followers
July 15, 2019
*I was provided a copy of this novel from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review*

This book - my God... I've haven't fallen so quickly in love with characters in such a long time- but I did with this book. Sinter Blackwell (what a marvelous name) is an actor currently residing in London who finds himself cast in a BBC film by a complete stroke of luck. While working on the film he becomes infatuated with the female director of the film. There’s only one problem: he’s realizing he may be bisexual, and also kinda, sorta in love with his best friend Andy, who’s back home in Seattle.

After a quick hook up with the sexy, flirtatious director at the cast party, Sinter returns home to Seattle, determined to go to Andy, express his feelings, and make him his. However, Sinter’s London Story isn’t quite over, and it has one heck of a surprise left that will shake up Sinters entire world and make him re-examine everything.

This book is marvelous and magical and is essential reading for those looking for a fun and romantic, though sometimes sad and dramatic, escape. I really would love to see more of Sinter in the future!
Profile Image for kelly ♥.
284 reviews61 followers
August 7, 2019
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this for an honest review! Some spoilers below so read with caution. Review also posted on my blog.

All The Better Part of Me follows Sinter Blackwell, a 25 year old aspiring actor temporarily living in London who, at the start of the book, is beginning to question his sexuality and his feelings for his childhood best friend, Andy. The book follows Sinter as he struggles to define his identity, both to himself and those around him, alongside his burgeoning career and personal relationships.

If this book had just been about Sinter exploring his sexuality and coming to terms with it, I think I could have loved it. Sinter was an engaging main character with a great voice, and his relationship with Andy was sweet and one you could easily root for. His antagonistic relationship with his parents was tough to read, but very much an unfortunate reflection of what many LGBT+ kids have to go through, so felt like an honest portrayal, albeit with a happy ending. And explicitly defining bicurious AND bisexual in a book, especially with regards to a male character, is so rarely seen that this book should definitely be celebrated for doing so.

I just.. didn’t gel with the unnecessary drama in what could have been a really poignant identity story. Yes, it was good to show Sinter hooking up with men and women (after all, the whole definition of bisexuality) but the pregnancy added an entire new layer onto this story that I felt it could do without. I liked that Sinter stepped up, and I loved the portrayal of a woman who wasn’t solely dependant on a) a man or b) the ideal of having a family, but I felt at points like I was reading two separate stories: one about Sinter exploring his sexuality, and one about Sinter stepping up as a father. This didn’t ruin the book for me, but I think it took some of the sparkle out of reading a book about a bisexual MC. It’s also incredibly harmful to basically give someone an ultimatum on when they need to come out??? Coming out is such a personal thing (I’ve just done it so can speak from experience!) that pressuring someone you supposedly love into doing so, just because you are out and proud in a safe and secure environment is…. REALLY not cool.

I’m also not ever really a fan of using trauma to advance a romance plot, and especially not when it is your gay character suffering. There are so many instances of this in queer literature that it feels old, and the almost ‘bury your gays’ trope isn’t ever fun to read. There are so many ways to move around a problem (healthy communication!!!!!) that including an almost-fatal car crash for shock value and to kickstart a character into action feels cheap.

So while I enjoyed the characters I have to say I’m a little dismayed that I didn’t totally love this book, especially considering there are barely any queer new adult books out there with a bisexual MC. And, whilst I do appreciate the rep, it is always easy to see when a queer book has been written by someone who is not really part of the community – just the little things, like the idea that you have to figure out your sexuality as a teenager, or the sex scenes – but it is encouraging that these books are written, and will hopefully carve a little niche in the market for openly queer authors to write openly queer characters.

TW for: homophobia, car accident, anxiety
Profile Image for Barb ~rede-2-read~.
3,168 reviews87 followers
August 15, 2019
I liked this story but it didn’t live up to my expectations to love it. The blurb and the letter written by the publisher excited me and I couldn’t wait to start. But when I did, I quickly realized this wasn’t as appealing as I’d hoped. I hate to admit this but I read a few chapters and stopped for a few days and then went back and read a chapter and stopped. Somewhere around the time Sinter came back to the US, I decided to DNF. And then I pushed a little farther and Sinter’s BFF, Andy, snagged me. Before I knew it, I was not only engaged by Andy, but I started to like Sinter, at least enough to keep going.

Life happens even when we are deeply immersed in a story, and I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that sometimes outside forces in real life heavily influence my mood, which in turn heavily influences my enjoyment of a book. In this case, waiting awhile helped me. And after Sinter was given exciting, or rather shocking, news from Fiona, his English girlfriend, I started to read in earnest. Andy was a wonderful character: a strong friend, a kind lover, a brilliant developer, and a source of many of my tears. No spoilers, but I will say that he does indeed provide tear fodder in both a positive and a negative way. But I loved him even more by the last page.

Sinter? I struggled with Sinter. From his total cluelessness about Andy’s feelings to his free love with Fiona, to his decision to let Andy go to Toyoko, there were so many instances in which I wanted to smack him, I can’t even list them all. But there were positives, including his decision about being a family man. Again, no spoilers, but what happened, and how he managed it, changed my opinion of him. He didn’t fall apart when his world teeter-tottered, and he faced major decisions with grief, good grace, and humor.

The author’s writing style is polished, the main characters interesting, and the host of secondary characters, from friends to family, were diverse and supportive. I advise readers to keep going if, like me, the early chapters don’t grab you. Overall, I can now say I liked the story, and after all my false starts, I enjoyed how it played out. It’s a good story for those who enjoy friends to lovers, sexuality awakening, long-distance lovers, and for those who enjoy a sprinkle of UK in their books.

Note: a copy of the book was given through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Adrien.
138 reviews7 followers
February 14, 2021
i fuck with this but midway, the plot went in a weird direction which was kind of a turn off
Profile Image for Sarah Beth.
320 reviews16 followers
April 12, 2021
This was a necessary read that I might never have known existed!

I borrowed this audiobook from the library because lately I'm into anything Alex Kydd narrates. But this was such an excellent book, and I can't believe I hadn't heard of it sooner!

All The Better Part of Me was a sweet, sexy, heartbreaking, and hopeful novel about bisexuality and growing up. Queer representation is present in a beautiful variety of forms. The novel dissects gender stereotypes and normalizes rejecting those stereotypes even when extremely difficult (Fiona's relationship with motherhood especially struck me as important and underrepresented, although her situation was by far not the only important and underrepresented one).

Wholeheartedly recommend!
Profile Image for Alexis  (TheSlothReader).
641 reviews275 followers
August 28, 2019
I think this book very much could have been written with more nuance if it were written by a queer author (which I do not believe the author is). The fact that Andy and Sinter's main relationship issue is that Sinter does not feel comfortable coming out, the handling of a trans character, the way that Sinter's homophobic parents feel very "How not to behave" instead of feeling like real characters. There are things as a queer person that I could find fault with if I though too hard.

However, I absolutely loved Sinter as a character. Even if parts of him felt a little on the caricature side of being a queer person, I still did relate to his self discovery. (I also did not realize that I was queer until I was in my 20's). I found myself rooting for Sinter the whole time.

I also found this book very easy to read, despite the sometime hard subject matter. The plot sometimes tipped a little too into "Lifetime movie" where just bad thing after bad thing seemed to be happening. But I never particularly found any of it unenjoyable.
Profile Image for Keelin Rita.
355 reviews23 followers
October 1, 2019
3.5 - 4 stars

I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about this book. It was both weird, run of the mill writing and storytelling, then very charming and real and emotional. I am, confused. There was some characterizations that I found bizarre especially for Fiona. For an adult woman, she says and does some things that seem far younger and immature. In a way that made me think those things were written like that just to further or create plot. On the other hand, Andy and Sebastian were such wonderfully unique and consistent voices that played true to who they are. This story is overall pretty standard romance, but because it's queer and because it has topics like coming out, homophobia, it is better. Because it's not been done 250000 times before, it's unique and daring and by George I want more people to do what's right and make things queer.
Profile Image for Michaela Aisling.
105 reviews9 followers
June 25, 2019
3.5, maybe? Gimme those half ratings, goodreads!!

I received an e-book copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was a tough book to rate, because I really enjoyed certain aspects of it, but other aspects I thought fell a little flat, or just didn't quite do it for me? It wasn't a bad book, definitely not, and I'd probably edge it more towards a 3.5 if that were a possibility as there were some really endearing parts, but there were still a lot of aspects that didn't quite hit the mark for me.
I enjoyed the first half of this book a lot, it was a bit silly, and mushy, but it was just a genuinely joyous book about a 20-something bisexual man figuring himself out, harmlessly flirting with people, and genuinely having a nice time. Sinter was flawed, for sure, but I think that's what made him so relatable in some ways! He wasn't perfect, and he certainly didn't have it all together, but he was trying to be as honest and open and considerate as he could with others, while still trying to work out where his own head was at, and trying to figure out his own emotions. There were parts of the dialogue, admittedly, that I thought read a little juvenile – not necessarily Sinter's behaviour (being a similar age to myself, I found him to be pretty much similar to me and many of my friends in the way he presented himself and the way that he spoke), but moreso from the perspective of it not always reading from a New Adult viewpoint, as though Ringle was shying away from certain things and keeping it PG – or, if there's a lower rating than PG, then maybe even that. Still, in spite of that, I really enjoyed Sinter's narrative for the first half of the book, and in all honesty I would have been more than happy if the rest of the book had just consisted of a fluffy, joyous MLM romance between he and Andy, even with the obstacles that Sinter, closeted as he was, faced.
Alas, the second half seemed to veer off a little, and I found my enjoyment hindering as the book went on. Yes, I still liked Sinter, even with some of the absolutely stupid and thoughtless things that he said and done from time to time, but for the most part he was just a young man figuring things out, making mistakes and learning as he went. I really liked Andy as a character, but I did find it a little exhausting how regularly people seemed to shame Sinter for not coming out yet, and how regularly the reader got the impression that the people around him viewed him as a coward for not wanting to come out.
Sinter and Andy had a really great relationship, and I did think there was a great selection of likable supporting characters, but I still found that certain elements of the narrative – like shaming Sinter – fell a little flat, and could have been approached and explored a little better. The second half also seemed to be non-stop drama , with obstacle after obstacle rising up, to the point that even when Fiona made that reveal, I almost wondered if perhaps she was lying, or something was going to unfold and that it wouldn't quite be as black and white as we were being told. There were so many random plots being thrown out of left field for the last 45% or so of the book that it felt like overkill, and it made it really difficult to focus on what, to me, should have been the focus of the book; Sinter's identity and self discovery, and his exploration, understanding, and acceptance of his sexuality. I felt like each new thing just took us away from that, and as though his coming out was forced, and almost moreso a guilt trip, as opposed to him finally growing comfortable within himself.

There's a lot of rep within the book, but I will admit it felt... in places, inauthentic? The sex scenes between Andy and Sinter were... okay? Again, to recall back to something I mentioned earlier, in places it just didn't feel new adult, in spite of those sex scenes, and it felt a little like one minute we were getting explicit scenes of a MLM relationship, and then in the next it felt as though Ringle was too afraid to go there. It felt a little fetishy in places, while sweet in others. Sebastian being trans was a very simple piece of rep, on account of his being a side character with less development than those closer to Sinter. It was a nice piece of rep that could have been explored a little better, but I'm almost glad it wasn't, too, as it could have gone very wrong without the right amount of research and care, so I respect that Ringle possibly didn't want to cross lines or tell a story that wasn't hers to tell.

Overall, I didn't hate the book, and I have definitely focused on more of the negative stuff in my review than the positive, but there was definitely some really great aspects, too! I really, genuinely did enjoy the relationship between Andy and Sinter, and I am a little disappointed that it wasn't just a genuinely soft, fluffy romance between the two, because I would definitely have lapped that up, and had the latter half of the book been in the same light as the former, I definitely would have been giving it a higher rating!
Profile Image for Marcie.
31 reviews7 followers
December 27, 2019
I mean...I don’t read romances. Totally not my thing. But I’d heard this was from a bisexual man’s viewpoint, and that caught my interest. And it ended up that I couldn’t put it down. A purely pleasurable read about intriguing, genuine characters. I’d recommend it, and not only because of its soundtracks (OMG! Love it!) or that Ms Ringle uses “frisson” a few chapters in. Love less commonly used words. Love this book more though.
Profile Image for Harri.
385 reviews27 followers
November 20, 2022
Third time reading, still adore it.


Ok so first things first, I love the cover. Because it's the bi flag, and that just makes me so happy.

I was super excited to read this. A book about a bisexual that actually uses the word bisexual?! So many books/movies/shows imply bisexuality but refuse to label the character, or imply bisexuality and then outright deny it. And when bisexuality is explicitly written about, it's usually about women. Both in fiction and in real life, bi men are underrepresented and ignored, or assumed 'actually gay' or 'actually straight'. (This happens to women as well, but I think it happens particularly to men.) So yeah, just the premise made me excited. Now, I usually prefer to read own voices books, where the writer has similar experiences to the characters. I find that the most authentic stories are written this way. But also, I do strongly believe that writers should write whatever they want, no topics off limit, because if you only wrote your own experiences then you'd be super limited in what you get to explore through fiction. So I went into this with a small backseat worry that it wouldn't feel sincere, or authentic. I'm glad to say that that fear was completely unfounded. I love Sinter, I love Andy, and I loved this story.

Why did I love Sinter so much? Maybe because I grew up in a similar scene. An emo teen figuring things out in a religious environment. The eyeliner, references to noughties emo bands like MCR, I felt an immediate kinship with Sinter. But I'm also so glad this story wasn't another teen coming out story, because I've been finding it hard to find good queer fiction about adults around my own age.

I immediately liked Sinter's voice. I found the book easy to read, his voice distinct, and funny. I found the other characters interesting as well. I felt like, although the book was from Sinter's perspective, I got little snippets of the other characters' lives. They all felt real to me.

And then the plot had me hooked. It was so dramatic, with twists and turns, and I was gripped the whole time. I read the book in two sittings. It would have been one, if I hadn't had to work and sleep! It stomped on my heart, but also made me super happy. I got romance and drama and heartbreak and more drama and more romance and it was just great.

At first I found the text conversations a little jarring. Text convos are not usually something I particularly like in books. But when your two characters are an ocean apart, they need to be able to talk to each other. After a few chapters I got used to the mechanics and they didn't continue to bother me.

I really did love this book, and I'm so happy and grateful I got to read it. I'm looking forward to reading more from Molly Ringle.

I'll leave you with my two favourite lines that made me actually laugh out loud.

'I wasn't gay or bi, just deeply Anglophilic.' 'It wasn't Daniel I was snogging that night, it was the United Kingdom.'
Profile Image for Brandee (un)Conventional Bookworms.
1,340 reviews137 followers
September 17, 2019
All the Better Part of Me was a rather heartwarming read. Witnessing Sinter figure out his sexuality and deal with the repercussions was compelling even if I did get frustrated with him at times. He was, in all honesty, doing the best he could given the "tools" he had.


Sinter immediately captivated me. His love of 80's music, Shakespeare, and emo-style of dressing felt familiar and comfortable. And his career as an actor made his flair for the dramatic realistic. I adored Sinter's best friend, Andy. He was such a perfect fit for Sinter...understanding, supportive, all the things a best friend should be.
The supporting cast was pretty great as well. From Fiona and Sebastian to Daniel and Julie - even Sinter's parents (who I wanted to throat punch often) - they all combined to add depth to the story.

When Andy, who is gay, finds himself single, Sinter has to begin examining the thoughts and feelings he's having toward him. Sinter decides to move from London to Seattle, where Andy lives, they come up with an arrangement to enable Sinter to explore his sexuality. It was apparent to me, as the reader, that a meaningful romantic relationship was developing between them but it took longer for Sinter and Andy to figure it out.

*Character Growth
Sinter showed the most emotional growth and maturity over the course of the story. His upbringing in a very conservative family meant he'd naturally have issues coming to terms with his true self. His family was homophobic and didn't like Sinter's way of dressing or his profession making it fairly certain they wouldn't be accepting were Sinter to embrace this facet of his sexuality. While I admit to being frustrated with his inability to come out, I also sympathized. The real growth came when Sinter found himself in a situation no one would want to be in if not prepared. The way he took on the responsibility, the way he handled things and eventually the way he came to embrace "all the best part" of himself was heartwarming.

Overall, I enjoyed All the Better Part of Me . The characters were engaging and the story was relevant. And MRingle's extra gift was the 80's song titles as chapter names. It really did set the mood. ;) I intend to read Relatively Honest so I can get the back story on Daniel and Julie, Sinter's London-based friends, soon.
Profile Image for Salem.
Author 28 books217 followers
August 26, 2019
**ARC provided by Netgalley and publisher in exchange for review**

As a reader, sometimes we dive into a book with high expectations formed from a pretty cover and excellent blurb. Occasionally, our expectations are met and exceeded. Typically though, we build up the anticipation and possibilities of the story too high for the author to ever meet so the book falls flat and we’re left feeling bereft. Unfortunately, that’s what happened to me with All The Better Part Of Me.

I dug into this novel with high hopes of having great bi-representation. I was excited for an epic love story, but what I got Instead was something lack-luster. There’s hardly any build up in the relationship between the two main characters and it left me wanting more. Sure, they had a friendship prior to getting together, but it almost seemed as though the interest in the male protagonist’s friend came on suddenly and without much depth behind it. There was no meat to their background, just a sprinkling of potatoes.

In the end, I was left wanting. I have no doubt that there are people out there that will adore this book; they’ll find it as lovely as the cover. As for me, I’ll have to give it 2.5 stars.
Profile Image for Jamie Deacon.
Author 5 books70 followers
April 18, 2019
I could spend pages gushing over how much I loved this book! I have a massive soft spot for friends-to-lovers romances, and All the Better Part of Me ranks among my favourites. Essentially, this is a story about coming out, growing up, and finding the courage to stand up for the things you want in life. It has all the evocative writing and authenticity I so admire in Molly Ringle’s work, not to mention bucket loads of warmth and just the right amount of humour.

Why did I fall so hard for this novel? Largely because of Sinter Blackwell, its protagonist. Well, his name alone is reason enough, being one of the coolest I’ve come across in a character, but he’s also incredibly sexy. With his piercings and eyeliner, crazy hair and affinity for New Wave music, it’s little wonder Fiona adores him and is desperate to have him star in her film about young lovers in the ‘80s. More than this, though, he’s a genuinely nice person. Sinter makes mistakes, no doubt about that, but he never sets out to hurt anyone.

Read my full review here.
Profile Image for Flo.
449 reviews17 followers
September 3, 2019
This was not for me. I frequently considered DNFing but I want bi stories to succeed so badly that I kept pushing myself. The thing is, there ARE good bi stories out there—this isn’t one of them. All the characters read like badly drawn outlines of whatever role they were supposed to fill—bisexual character, gay character, straight character, homophobic parents, accepting parents, etc. It’s like someone googled “what issues do bi people face” and then tried to come up with a plot point for each one, which was just ridiculous and occasionally offensive. The writing was stilted & forced (it tried so hard to sound “hip” and “modern” and kept jarring me out of the story), and the plot completely over the top. If you’re looking for a good bi story, look elsewhere.

(Also if you’re hoping for an 80s vibe/nostalgia or some theater geekery, you’ll be seriously disappointed. There’s a few music references, some eyeliner, and one Shakespeare play.)

CW: homophobia

**Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an ecopy in exchange for an honest review.**
Profile Image for kaylina.
337 reviews8 followers
May 5, 2022
4.5 / 5: sinter blackwell is officially now one of my all-time favorite fictional characters ever, it has been decided.

being someone who's been in a reading slump for over a month now, getting inside a character as charming and kind as sinter was like a huge relief that i've been wanting for a while. his love for acting reminded me of what made it appeal so much to me at a young age; that wonder of all the magic that happens not just on stage but in the making of it; stepping into his perspective and seeing the acting world through his lens had me incredibly enraptured and i loved that feeling. i loved seeing how much was acknowledged of just how tough the industry is but there being special attention paid to his own wonder and appreciation for the arts, and the chemistry that comes with working with fellow actors and crew behind the scenes. to me, it went to show how much it's never about the money that drives them, even though it's something sinter consistently has to think about throughout this novel.

there's this one conversation he has with another character, fiona (who i absolutely adore and i wish her all the happiness in the world because she deserves it), where they discuss on a project they're working in together and fiona speaks about the sort of theme she originally wanted to explore and the direction she wanted to take with these projects and fuck, i just admire her so much. her relationship with sinter was founded on this sense of both creatives being enthralled with how much inspiration you can find even in the most ordinary of days, and seeing their paths cross with each other was a miracle if i ever saw one. you see the impact sinter has on fiona, an actor who embodies the spirit that lives inside a director's head, and then you also see how in turn fiona leaves a lasting impact on sinter down the line. their relationship is my favorite of this entire book and i loved how much attention the author paid to both characters and how much they would leave a footprint in each other's lives.

in terms of sinter's relationship with another character, andy, their chemistry made me smile from the moment i read their first conversation. there was a sort of past and present timeline being played around with these two characters, specifically, and it explored just how genuine their friendship was. i literally read not too long ago a post on social media that talked about how fragile it is to handle the friends to lovers trope, because when done right, it's done incredibly well, but otherwise it tends to fall apart in the seams. in the case of sinter and andy, the author had the threads of their relationship tie so closely from the very first time we meet andy and see how he and sinter interact. a good chunk of the beginning of this novel focuses on them mainly keeping in touch through text, so the author managing to already capture the familarity of their bond with each other when they were oceans away from the other garnered a lot of respect from me. because of this, when we finally meet andy in the present face-to-face, him and sinter's reunion feels really heartfelt since at that point, you already know how much he means to sinter.

seeing how their romance evolves felt awkward at some points but i think the author did that very intentionally because she was also handling sinter's bisexuality, which was something he had to wrestle over as well throughout this story. being bi myself, meeting a character who was also coming to terms with his sexuality will always be something important to me. but this was way later in his own life, by the time he hits his mid-20s, and there were bits and pieces throughout his journey where he mainly was rolling over the realization on his own, just like how i did when i was 17 and how i'm still dealing with now. this is one quote that seems very simple but meant a lot to me because it's exactly what came to my mind when i realized that i could actually be bi:

I'm not gay. When I said that, I wasn't lying to my parents, or to anyone else who happened to ask for the rest of high school. It was far less complicated to like girls. I'd been attracted to lots of girls. So clearly, I wasn't gay. The possibility that I could be something else--say bisexual--didn't seem to occur to anyone. Not even to Andy, or at least, he never asked. It didn't even occur to me.

there's a lot of queer joy in this book, and for sinter, it was always easy for him to express himself in the way that he knew others wouldn't approve of because it was simply about who he was and what made him feel like himself. when it came to him being bi, there was a clear line being drawn where there is a good chunk of this book where he’s worried about coming out, but he never felt disgusted with his bisexuality. if anything, once it occurred to him that this was something for him and him alone to discover for himself, he reveled in what it would be like to be with a guy beyond just simply kissing. it was all about intimacy, and you see that in how he engages with the arts and then also when exploring his own sexuality. everything about that was something i connected too well in and i'm still in the process of figuring things out so seeing him find himself, it gives me a lot of hope for me.

sinter's relationship with his family was something hard for me to read because again, sinter is a character who's so sure of himself and what he wants. but when you have your own parents try and twist your identity to be something shameful and simply misguiding, it messes with your head so much. and the results of that become very clear sometime when we near the middle portion of this story. right then it seems like the book takes a completely new direction, but it's really all pre-meditated, and so when you see how everything ties together in the end, it was enough to leave me with tears in my eyes. to see sinter come full circle with what he desires despite all the fears that kept stacking up against him, and then even come to new surprising revelations about his own future, it was everything.

while the beginning still left me on edge because i wasn't sure how i would feel about a book that i found on a complete whim, i am so so thankful to the author for going all out. not just with how three-dimenstional sinter is as a character and so are the others on the side, but also in the theatre scene and acting world and musical tastes and british culture and then also seattle culture. all of it made this story so incredibly rich and the aesthetic of it all just from seeing sinter's own view alone is fantastic.

i love this book.

p.s. there's tons of shakespeare in here!! you gotta love it (affectionate)

content warnings//: , depictions of mild anxiety, queerphobia, car accident (off-page), brief suicidal ideation (~more off-hand as it’s not something deeply explored but it is slipped in so casually that it could potentially put readers on edge~), discussion of potential brain damage, non-graphic depiction of giving birth, sexual content, and gaslighting from a parent
Profile Image for Sónia.
467 reviews48 followers
September 11, 2019
I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was really excited to read this one after I received it, but I was a bit disappointed by the end of it.

I wasn’t the greatest fan of the writing style - first person past tense is not my favourite - which was a bummer. When I read first person, I prefer if it’s in present tense instead.

I thought Sinter and Andy’s friendship was super cute and, although I felt that they could have taken it a bit slower, I think it that Sinter should have known that Andy already had feelings for him because he’d accepted their deal promptly.

Now, about Sinter. Yes, he was kind of childish at times, but Andy wasn’t fair to him either. It took Andy three years to come out to his parents, who were always supportive parents, and he expected Sinter to come out in less than a year to close-minded parents who had never supported his career or dressing style choices. I loved Andy, but I don’t think he was trying to put himself in Sinter’s shoes, considering the later was having a crisis.

In the end, I really enjoyed the 80s references and Sinter’s uniqueness. The story was fun but also heartbreaking and I’ve convinced my sister to read it too, so I guess that’s a win.
33 reviews46 followers
August 10, 2019
I absolutely loved this book. It’s definitely a 4.5-5/5 stars. This is a romantic contemporary novel following Sinter who comes out as bisexual and has a relationship with his best friend Andy. I adored the writing style. It flowed very well and the pacing was perfect. It’s written in first person present day but we get flashbacks of Sinter’s life in high school with Andy and with his parents. There is mix media which is fantastic. You get to see emails between Sinter and his parents and text messaging between Andy and Sinter (which is so cute)! I loved the romance. It was sweet and hilarious. Sinter and Andy have great chemistry with tons of humor, flirtation, and banter. I caught myself smiling numerous times. Sinter is such a likable character. He is unique and owns his style and what he loves to do. He isn’t afraid to wear makeup and pursue his acting career despite his parents being closed minded and not supporting who he is. Overall this was such a fantastic book and I highly recommend it! It’s one I will be rereading for sure.

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a free advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Siobhan.
Author 2 books81 followers
April 24, 2019
All the Better Part of Me is a novel about an actor whose life changes dramatically when he realises he's bisexual. Sinter Blackwell is an American working in London, just cast in a TV movie set in the 80s which suits his love of new wave music and goth style well. His parents don't approve of his career, he finds himself flirting with his director Fiona, and his feelings for his gay best friend Andy might not be quite what he thought them to be. When he moves back to Seattle to see if there's anything between him and Andy, things get very complicated, and Sinter must make a lot of big life choices and work out what he really wants in life.

This is a fun book in the 'new adult' genre, bringing some of the romance and character depth of YA writing with more twentysomething life considerations. Elements bring a lot of the conventions of similar stories (in love with best friend, lack of communication, etc) and it is one for people who enjoy the tension yet overall happiness of fan fiction. Sinter is an enjoyable protagonist to read about, and his goth style and the 80s song chapter titles bring an extra touch to the book. If the blurb sounds appealing it is worth picking up, as it is a light read that still manages to make you feel for the characters.
Profile Image for Rosie.
24 reviews
October 6, 2019
I really enjoyed this book. The author was able to take what has become a cliche plot point and give it new life!
The characters are fun and believable. The struggle of coming out to conservative parents, in more ways than one, was well developed.
Excellent book that I would happily recommend.
Profile Image for Alexis Nalley.
157 reviews12 followers
June 30, 2019
I really really wanted to love this book, but it just didn't happen. I enjoyed it somewhat, but it's not something that I see myself wanting to reread. There were things that I was happy with, but even more that I didn't really like.

I liked the characters, but couldn't love them because I was so FREQUENTLY annoyed with them and their actions. I was worried at first how I would feel about Sinter having feelings for two different people in the book. Surprisingly, I thought the love triangle aspect was well handled (which is rare for me because I loathe love triangles). However, I wasn't fond of how Fiona's character was handled in the aftermath. I honestly wish it had just stayed as a flirtation between Sinter and Fiona. Having them flirt and maybe skirt the edge of hooking up would have been a fine way to make Sinter realize he actually wanted Andy. I did not like that he called sex with her the catalyst to figuring out what he really wanted. And I really didn't like how she got so hung up on him. Personally, I didn't see a lot of evidence to support that she had that intense of feelings for him? Unless Sinter was really THAT oblivious about other people's feelings, she seemed like she also understood that what they had was an "on set relationship."

This book felt so much longer than it really was- or needed to be. I was so much more invested in Sinter's story in the beginning and I got more invested the closer I got to the end. I think a lot of the middle parts could be cut. There was a few chapters where nothing really happened that could have been condensed and it would have made the book much more engaging, at least for me. The good news is, Sinter and Andy got their happy ending, which was something I was worrying about right up until the end. One thing I did like was how a lot of the focus of this book is on the uncertainty in life, especially in your 20s. Sinter isn't sure about coming out, about his career, about his relationships with family and friends, about taking the baby, and how everything affects each other. It's something that a lot of people are going to relate to, including me.

Some issues I had with the bi rep:
First, and this might be just a personal quirk so feel free to disregard, I wasn't super fond of the way Sinter kept saying "bisexual lifestyle" and "living the bi life with Andy." If felt like he thought that the only way for him to be bisexual is if he's with a guy. And with the bi community having to constantly tell people 'no it doesn't matter who I'm with, I'm still bi' this thought process didn't sit well with me.
Second, Andy's attitude towards Sinter's coming out wasn't great. I understand he was frustrated and if he didn't want to be in a relationship with someone who hadn't come out, that's his choice and completely okay. However, I wish he hadn't felt the need to trivialize Sinter's issues. Sinter had a lot going on with the baby and considering how his parents acted, it might not have been the best time for Sinter to come out. Andy tells him "Like no one in the world has ever had it as hard as you?" and sure, there are people who have harder lives, but that doesn't mean that Sinter hasn't struggled and it definitely doesn't mean that Sinter HAS to come out. It was another thing that didn't sit well with me.

A couple other things:
"I won't ever do this to you, I thought to my kid as I scowled into my pillow. Even if you end up a neo-Nazi, I'll listen to you. I'll find common ground." UM WHAT. I get the sentiment that the author was trying to convey, but I feel like this was the complete wrong way to do it. Considering what is going on in our society today, the characters of this book, and the audience this book is intended for, is that really the way that should be worded?
My favorite line in the whole book: "Giddy delight swarmed through me, the feeling another actor had once called "the casting dazzles." I just think that description was adorable.
Profile Image for Tomas.
97 reviews5 followers
August 19, 2019
*This review contains major spoilers of the book, so be aware of that when reading this review*
I received an eARC of this book through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review.
No better way to put it then from the words of the author herself, “What a clusterfuck.” – Chapter 33
The story is set around 2 best friends since high school, now adults in their mid-20s, Sinter ( Leading Character) and Andy, which chronicles them both coming out to each other at 2 separate times. Andy being the 1st who comes out to him when he’s 15 years old, tells that he likes him, followed by Sinter saying he’s not Gay in fact, but would do his best friend a favor and kiss him, which leads to the both of them getting caught by Sinters parents who are Super conservative, religious and against anything un natural.
We move to present time, Sinter is living in London, working at a pub, and a struggling actor trying to land the next big role. Finally he’s approached by Fiona who happens to come into the pub that he works at, and offers him a gig, which of course you guess it, he got the part, which is set in the 80s which he would be playing the leading roll.
He and Andy still talk every day, through text messages and facetime or selfie
The format of the story well written, very modernized, how the actual 21 generation talk to each other, it’s all text and emoji. I get it. I liked it, and throughout the whole novel, it’s about 80% text messages and narratives from Sinter the leading character. Forward through a few chapters, and we come across him hooking with Fiona, who casted him as lead for the movie. SPOILER: She gets pregnant by him and reveals later on in the story and it’s a big mess.
Throughout the story, you have Sinter questioning his sexuality, not sure if he’s gay or just confused, later on throughout the story we find out that he’s pretty much obsessed with his best friend and finally comes out to him as bi. He winds up moving in with him to Seattle, and they end up screwing around the whole time. Friends with Benefits, you would say. No Drama, No attachment.
Forward through all of that and we get to Sinter still in denial about who he is, sexually. He’s scared of what people will think about him, he doesn’t have the support from his parents who are against it not like Andy’s parents who are accepting of it all.
By mid-way of the novel, it’s come to conclusion that Sinter suffers not only from Anxiety, but from PTSD too, lots of references or clues.
Close to the end of the story, Andy gives Sinter the ultimatum, either come out or loose me, basically it’s what he said, he wasn’t going to be hurt again., and well a huge catastrophic event happens that forces Sinter to come out, to the point where the 1st person he calls is his Mom and tells her everything, even coming out.
We are at the end of the story which I wish would have been way better then what it was. It was too predictable, but no less it was a good read. Lots of crazy twists.
Pre-Order your copy now, out Sept 3, 2019
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