A Lila Review: Hopeless Romantic by Francis Gideon


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Nick Fraser is a true romantic. He wants the guy instead of the girl, but other than that, he wants everything his favorite rom-coms depict: the courtship, the passionate first kiss, the fairy-tale wedding. But after breaking up with the love of his life, Nick wonders if anything fairy-tale will ever happen for him.

Then he meets Katie, who’s just like a rom-com heroine. She’s sharp, funny, sweet, and as into music and punk culture as Nick is. What’s more, he’s incredibly attracted to her—even though she’s a woman. Nick has never considered that he might be bisexual, but his feelings for Katie are definitely real.

When Katie reveals that she’s transgender, Nick starts to see how much he doesn’t understand about the world, queer identity, and himself. He is hopelessly in love with Katie, but this isn’t a fairy tale, and Nick’s friends and family may not accept his new relationship. If he wants it all, he has to have the courage to make his fantasy a reality.

Hopeless Romantic has the feeling of a coming of age story, but the characters are older than average. Which created the illusion of reading to parallel stories. Nick’s re-discovery of his sexuality and how he acted around his friends being one and his conversations with Katie about philosophy and music showing their maturity, the other.

I’m not a music person, but I’m part of the same generation the characters used to connect with each other. I might not know all the references, but the author provided enough context to understand how their conversations were part of their self-expression. And since I am a perpetual student too, I love the over-the-top exchanges.

Both main characters had a strong arc. Not only we get to know them personally but in relationship to their friendships and families. They didn’t live in a vacuum. The world around them was as important as their intimate moments. Even when some of those aspects were too juvenile for their characterization.

I’m glad Katie felt comfortable enough to be open to a relationship with someone that didn’t know everything about what her transition meant to her and to others. She was patient and perhaps too ready to forgive him, but in the end, it worked for their particular situation.

Nick’s characterization started blatantly transphobic, biphobic, and uninformed in relation to asexuality and other areas of the spectrum, but I think he represents many people in and out of the LGBTQ community.  He reads as an insensitive prick, but I think that was the author’s intent. To show how misconceptions are hurtful and plain damaging. We get to experience Nick’s growth and how Katie and Tucker were there for him, even when it wasn’t their responsibility to educate him.

The secondary characters are lovely and the settings descriptions detailed enough to bring the reader into the different locations. There’s a lot happening in the story, many references to music and philosophical topics, but those never take over the story. Everything is interconnected to create a fictional atmosphere with enough consequence to be realistic.

There are some points the author is trying to show that seem a bit clinical. I think the book is more about Nick’s journey than anything else. As a couple, the main characters are sweet and their growing love ever present. Plus, they aren’t shy with each other. It’s one of the points they discovered/worked together.

The cover by Vivian Ng was the first thing that called my attention, together with the title. I like how it goes with the story and the scenes between Katie and Nick.

Sale Links: RiptideAmazon | Kobo

ebook, 289 pages
Published: April 10, 2017, by Riptide Publishing
ISBN: 9781626495562
Edition Language: English