Down Syndrome Kid Steals Show. First, about the title of this review – as an Autistic, I *despise* so-called “person first” language, because it doesn’t actually put the person first. It claims that a person whose so-called “disability” is integral to their very personhood and way they live instead could simply discard it as easily as changing their hair color, among other easily changed things a person is described as “with”. Bullshit. Such an ability permeates the person thoroughly, and directly influences how the person perceives – and thus processes and expresses their thoughts and feelings about – literally everything around them.
Thus, the Down Syndrome character himself- and the brilliant and very human way Novak shows him – is actually one of the better features of this particular tale, one that I’ve seen no other reviewer discuss thus far, even though this character is a major motivator for our hero of this book. Of note, other than mentioning the Down Syndrome near the time the character is first introduced, it is rarely if ever mentioned again – to the point that I actually had to go back and search the book to verify the actual description initially used for the character as I began to write this review. And this is *exactly* what one would expect in a small town where everyone knows everyone – by the time of our story here, everyone in town is already well aware of this kid and his condition, so why bother repeating it?
As to the romance itself, other than the fact that both of our leads are well drillers – presumably a rarity for a female in particular, and not exactly a profession many in suburbia and/ or the Eastern US are familiar with – … eh, fairly standard slow burn enemies to lovers type tale, with a lot of complications due to varying family and small town dynamics. As usually happens, particularly within the enemies to lovers space. (And no, this is no Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet was teen angst gone murderous, with a remarkably high body count for such a short overall tale. Here, our leads are not exactly “old and wisened”, but they’re also well away from teen angst… even if they’ve never actually resolved some very big issues from earlier in their lives (yet).
And yes, the ending here was a bit abrupt. Did Novak realize she was at her target word/ page count and simply rush the ending, rather than fill it out a bit more completely as the story seemed to demand here? Who knows. But it absolutely felt rushed and even a bit lackadaisical. Certainly, Novak has proven with other books – including the first book in this series! – that she is capable of much better.
One final note, specifically for the “clean” / “sweet” romance crowd – yet again, likely not one for y’all. Novak isn’t shy with on screen sex when it serves the purposes of the story, though this isn’t one of those “damn near erotica” level books either. So for everyone, know that the spice level here is roughly along the lines of a chipotle. Fairly mild, overall – yet still far too spicy for some.
Overall, this book was one of those that had a couple of stand-out features that were done truly particularly well (Down Syndrome character + well drilling profession) and otherwise was more of a routine (yet solid, to be clear) small town enemies to lovers romance, maybe with some extra dynamics to add a touch more drama/ fill some extra pages. I’m very much looking forward ot the next book in this series.
Very much recommended.
After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Talk Of Coyote Canyon by Brenda Novak”