What’s a Soulmate?

December 2, 2016
What's A Soulmate? Book Cover What's A Soulmate?
Lindsay Ouimet
Romance
Evernight Teen
October 28th, 2016
eBook
237
NetGalley

Libby Carmichael has just met her Soulmate. It’s just too bad he’s behind bars.

When you only see the world in black and white until you meet yours, it's pretty simple to figure out when you’ve found your Soulmate. What Libby can't figure out is why fate/destiny/the powers-that-be have decided that Andrew McCormack is her one, true match. Libby is smart, organized, and always has a plan for what's coming next. So when she sees Andrew for the first time and her world is instantly filled with color, she's thrown for a loop.

Namely because he's in a dingy grey jumpsuit.

And handcuffs.

And being booked into a juvenile detention facility.

Surely a boy who's been convicted of a headline-making, violent crime isn't the person she’s meant to be with. There's no way she belongs with someone like that... Right? 

(via Goodreads)

 

If you are attentive to my blog, you might have noticed I’ve never reviewed a romance. They aren’t really my thing. And not just bodice-rippers, but contemporaries and YA as well. Why? I don’t know– I just can suspend disbelief and I can always predict what is coming next. I just don’t have that deep of an escapism vein, I guess. But What’s a Soulmate? proved that the right romance can still be up my alley.

Why did I even request What’s a Soulmate? to begin with? Well, to start: LOOK AT THAT COVER. I will admit, the cover sucked me in. But when I read the synopsis, I was intrigued. This book could easily fall into stereotypes and cliches and not be for me, but it was so intriguing, I couldn’t help myself. Thankfully, Ouimet didn’t let me down! As I mentioned in my previous post, for the first time I read a romance and I adored it.

In this alternate reality, everyone sees in black and white until they meet their Soulmate. Can you imagine? Upon looking upon your Soulmate your world is suddenly flooded with colors. Talk about overwhelming! whats-a-soulmate-wizard-of-ozJust like Dorothy stepping into Oz. But, Soulmate as a noun in this book does not mean the same thing as how our reality defines a soulmate. There is so much more. The statistics shared in the book indicate that only 60% of the population ever finds their Soulmate. That means 40% of the population sees only in black and white their entire lives! Due to this, many people marry for love. Sometimes, your Soulmate is already married, or you are cis or bi and your Soulmate isn’t someone you are interested in sexually. Sometimes, someone is your Soulmate and you aren’t their Soulmate. It’s complicated. And wonderful. And very real feeling. This supposedly simple premise with very easy rules becomes a quagmire for Libby as this story unfolds.

The fact that there are colors that can’t be named or even described properly is another thing I’ve heard of before. I’ve read about them in stupid romance novels that only prove infuriating to readers who still see in black and white. But infuriating in a way one gets used to and learns to overlook in time because it’s just the way things are.

I appreciate that more and more about Soulmates are revealed as the story goes on. We aren’t just introduced to the concepts and expected to move on. We aren’t lectured at the beginning (much). We are learning along with Libby. For example, midway through the book when Libby starts to lose her ability to see in color, we discover that when your Soulmate is unconscious you can’t see in color any longer. And when they die, you will never be able to see in color again. !!!! That’s an important note about what it means to have a Soulmate!

Even if the premise wasn’t so compelling, Libby is a brilliant narrator. Her voice alone might have sold me on this book. At seventeen years old, she is a self-conscious yet strong-headed young woman. whats-a-soulmate-juvie-visitingShe questions everything, including herself, and isn’t afraid to ask questions. After all, she does spend most of the book developing a relationship with a boy behind bars. Yet, Libby doesn’t always have the right answer and often feels awkward and out of place. She is snarky and passionate. She contradicts herself. And even sometimes calls herself out for it. Libby is also a strangely relatable character who is nothing at all like me. In fact, I cannot remember the last time I read a book where I highlighted so many quotable lines.

Other than the split second of feeling sorry for me a moment ago, he has the best poker face I’ve ever seen. Or maybe he’s simply a long-time sufferer or resting bitch face. Who knows?

Ouimet’s writing is wonderful. It’s witty, self-aware, and appropriately flowery for a YA romance. Nothing too crazy, but when Libby or Beth are feeling all lovey-dovey things are described appropriately. This is the first time I’ve read a book where I noticed I could relate to the emotions of the main character based on how the writing style changed. I also loved how the banter between characters played out. Each character has their own voice and their own relationship with Libby. I was rarely told, I was almost always shown. It was a wonderful experience as a reader.

Now, What’s a Soulmate? certainly isn’t perfect. At times, I felt like the pacing wasn’t working for me.whats-a-soulmate-rainbow-eye I felt like some scenes weren’t necessary. But I was so absorbed in Libby’s story that I didn’t really care. What I liked most about the things I typically don’t like (that’s a weird statement…) is that while the elements of this story were predictable, they took an unpredictable way to get there. Plus all the characters are flawed within their appropriate stereotypes (bubbly best friend, stoic love interest, etc.), but their flaws are so much more realistic that the typical romance characters. Beth is bubbly and a bit self-absorbed, but also a glowing best friend. Andrew is surly and stoic, but we are given all the material we need to understand this is a product of being in Juvie rather than his true nature. Yet, he isn’t a softie completely inside either. In the end, all this predictability along with the twists and turns makes for a lovely YA romance cocktail.

I am a goddamed delight.

A shockingly good book, I spent a lot of time debating my star rating. I don’t believe in half stars, just because Goodreads doesn’t allow for that (yup, I’ll let Goodreads dictate my rating scale. I’m a follower). However, I know I’ll re-read this book some day when I need a lighthearted pick me up. Plus, during that re-read I am certain I’ll find something new within the text. 5 stars for general awesome; strongly recommended to lovers of YA, romance, and those in need of something mentally stimulating yet fluffy.

5 Stars

I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Evernight Teen in exchange for an honest review. Check out more about Evernight Teen and Lindsay Ouimet on their respective websites. 


What do you think?

  • Do you enjoy YA romances? If so, why? What are your favorites? If not, why not?
  • What do you think of the premise of Soulmates? The book provides many more details, but does this premise interest you?
  • When was the last time you read a book that surprised you by being much better than you thought it would be? What was it?

16 Comments

  • Birdie December 2, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    I saw this on your post the other day and wanted to read it. It actually sounds right up my alley. Great review.

    • Jackie B December 5, 2016 at 4:50 pm

      Thanks, Birdie! I was pleasantly surprised. I hope that when you get to it What’s A Soulmate? will be everything you want it to be.

  • Amanda @Cover2CoverMom December 6, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    I also am not a big romance reader. I enjoy a good romance within another genre, however I don’t typically like when the romance is the center of the plot.

    The premise of this one is so fascinating. I love the idea that you only see in black and white until you see your soulmate. I also find it interesting that only 60% of people actually find their soulmate, and even if someone is your soulmate, you may not necessarily be theirs. Very interesting indeed. Wonderful review Jackie!

    This cover is absolutely stunning! It truly is a piece of art.

    • Jackie B December 8, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      I agree– in my life romance has never taken stage, not even when I was in high school or college. I think that’s why the genre doesn’t appeal to me. I don’t need a romantic relationship to define me in any way.
      This cover is really what drew me in to begin with! I couldn’t turn it down. I don’t know if I expect anyone else to read this book, but it’s nice to see that there are some contemporary romances which I can still appreciate.

  • Lost In A Good Book December 7, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    I’m another one who doesn’t particularly like the romance genre. But this sounds like it has enough quirks in it to make it interesting.

    • Jackie B December 8, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      Exactly. The whole concept is fascinating to me, and I kept asking questions about how Soulmates work in my own head. I think if Libby wasn’t so hilarious I wouldn’t have enjoyed this book nearly as much, too. A good narrator always helps. But I wouldn’t push it on anyone– it’s definitely still a YA romance novel under all that.

  • Read Diverse Books December 8, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    I don’t review many romances either, but I do enjoy them! 🙂 I have a romantic heart, I can’t deny it.
    It’s understandable how such a gorgeous cover lead you to reading the book. Book bloggers have a terrible weakness to pretty book covers, it’s an objective fact.

    I absolutely adore the concept of this novel! The statistics you provided and the complicated nuances of finding soulmates in this alternate world is fascinating. To see your first romance novel get a 5 star rating is very encouraging for future romance-y novels. Hope you continue exploring the genre!

    • Jackie B December 11, 2016 at 10:07 pm

      We do have a terrible weakness for pretty covers! They make our blogs look amazing. 🙂

      I think I will continue to explore the genre, but lightly. I have been burned far too many times by alluring covers and stories that I find dull. My roommate adores Sarah Dessen, but I just can’t get into any of her books. Perhaps I’ll find some other authors similar to Ouimet which will help push my back into the genre?

  • Marie @ drizzleandhurricanebooks December 11, 2016 at 3:08 am

    I am SO happy to hear you enjoyed this book so much. I saw it a while ago on NetGalley but didn’t request it, though I added it on my TBR for later because I was curious about this whole soulmate story. Plus, I love a good romance, so this sounded right up my alley! I’m even more convinced that I should read this book as soon as I can, now. Thank you for such a great review! 🙂

    • Jackie B December 11, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      I’m glad you added it to your TBR! This poor book isn’t getting the attention it needs, in my opinion. I told a few friends about it, and they really struggled to find it– even on Amazon! I really hope that it gets a larger readership. I look forward to hearing your future options, Marie. 🙂

  • theorangutanlibrarian January 15, 2017 at 9:39 am

    wow so glad this was so good!! I do enjoy the occasional romance, so I’m sure this will be up my street 🙂

    • Jackie B January 16, 2017 at 9:23 am

      Yay! I’m so glad. I interviewed the author, and while Goodreads and other places classify this book as romance, she doesn’t. It’s more contemporary/magical realism in her eye. So, that might help persuade you. 🙂

      • theorangutanlibrarian January 17, 2017 at 6:08 am

        ah that’s really interesting- thanks for telling me- it definitely makes me even more intrigued!!

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