Hi everyone! I hope you’re doing well! I’ve been busy applying for freelance translation positions recently but I’ve also had some extra time to read! I’m hoping to participate in the Reading Rush next week (but won’t be too disappointed if I don’t complete every challenge) which I’m really looking forward to! Let me know if you’d like to see a TBR post for it! Anyway, I just finished reading Melt My Heart by Bethany Rutter and I really loved it (thank you Netgalley for the eArc!) so here goes my attempt at a review!!
Title: Melt My Heart
Author: Bethany Rutter
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, LGBT+
Rating: 4 Stars – 7.86 CAWPILE rating
Synopsis: Lily Rose is used to people paying attention to her gorgeous twin sister, Daisy. But even though Lily loves her own fat body, she can’t shake the idea that no one would ever choose her over Daisy – not when they could have the thin twin.
That is, until she meets Cal, the gorgeous, sweet guy from New Zealand who can’t seem to stay away. The gorgeous, sweet guy who also happens to be Daisy’s summer crush. Lily can’t seem to figure out why she isn’t as into him as she should be. She should be head-over-heels in love, not missing time at the ice-cream shack with her life-long best friend, Cassie. Not wondering what Cassie is getting up to with Cal’s friend Jack, or what she’s thinking about when they’re alone . . .
With University threatening to tear Cassie and Lily apart at the end of summer, trying to keep Cal a secret from Daisy and a growing right-wing threat disturbing the usual quiet of their pleasant seaside town, Lily’s summer is set to be far from relaxing.
The book follows our main character Lily who has always felt like she is in her twin sister, Daisy’s, shadow – she’s fat and has never received the same attention from other people her age that Daisy gets as she is seen as the ‘less pretty’ twin. She’s hopefully heading off to Leeds after the Summer to do an art history degree but at the same time is scared to leave her best friend Cassie behind. One night, she meets Cal and the two instantly form a connection, but he also happens to be Daisy’s crush, which complicates matters even more.
I want to preface this review by saying that this book is absolutely adorable! It’s set in a small seaside town where our main character works in a small ice cream stand by the beach, and as someone who lives near several seaside towns, it’s not only an accurate depiction of this, but just the best Summer vibes, in my opinion!
I absolutely loved Lily as our main character. She’s a fat girl who is in love with her body and unapologetically proud of who she is, and as a fat woman myself, I wish I could’ve had this representation when I was growing up. Lily’s passion for art was so lovely to see and her fears of painting people because it’s like revealing your innermost feelings about them felt so real and relatable to me, even as a not arty person! Cassie, her best friend, was so much fun! She sews her own clothes from old scraps of fabric (we love a sustainable queen) and doodles the people who buy ice cream from her family’s ice cream stand. Seeing their friendship grow through the book was so cute and I loved how they always rooted for each other! I also really loved Cal – he’s one of the most genuinely kind and caring male characters I’ve read in a long time. The way he reassured Lily about her body and how he loved her was really something I needed to read and I’m so happy that young girls will finally get to be able to read it while they’re growing up too.
This didn’t seem like a plot heavy book to me, which I really don’t mind, I’m a character driven book kinda gal anyway, but the little plot twists (hello Señor Mango Sorbet!) had me audibly gasping! The complicated, yet healthy, family relationships in this book was also something I really loved – Lily and Daisy’s mum was so sweet! Of course, the book deals with fatphobia, biphobia and xenophobia, which I think was dealt with very well. The fatphobia, for me, was quite difficult to read at times, but really showed how, what may seem like insignificant phrases to other people, can be really hurtful to fat people. Although, as a lesbian, I can’t speak for the bi representation, I did love the slow burn friends to lovers romance. Saying that, although you could see hints of it before Lily realised her own feelings, the ‘realisation’ that she is bi and in love with her best friend felt very sudden to me. But, as a friends to lovers stan, I’m willing to let it slide!
Overall, I really, really loved and appreciated this book and I’m so shocked by how underrated it is (cue me never shutting up about it again!). I cannot recommend it enough for a cute, Summer read that also deals with some hard hitting topics in an accessible and respectful way!