I am disappointed that it has taken me so long to read a book by Elise Bryant!
The Lovely and talented Elise Bryant has written Happy Ever Afters and One True Loves- all Young Adult Romances. Now I have had my eye on Happy Ever Afters since its debut, and reading Reggie and Delilah’s Year of Falling has made me want to read more of Bryant’s books.
Thank you NetGalley, Balzer+Bray, and Elise Bryant for this arc. I chose to review this arc and all opinions are mine.
Delilah rather blend in with the crowd than stand out, and she rather make people happy. Which is how she ends up becoming the lead singer of her friend’s punk band. Reggie is a D&D Dungeon master and loves to write essays critiquing the game under a pseudonym, of course.
Reggie and Delilah are so different from each other, but when they meet on New Years Eve, they leave a lasting impression on each other. The universe thinks so too, and the pair meet again on Valentine’s day and St. Patrick’s day. It doesn’t take Reggie and Delilah to take the hint, and the two become friends.
Delilah’s inspired by Reggie’s confidence to be himself, and she wishes she could be more like him. But Delilah’s unaware that Reggie’s faking it to impress her. Reggie wishes he could be that confident person, but he’s insecure about his family knowing just how obsessed he is with D & D.
As Reggie and Delilah become closer throughout the months and slowly fall in love, they’re in for a rude awakening when Delilah learns Reggie isn’t who she thought she was.
This book gave off such a whimsical and fun vibe! The novel bounces from the POV of Reggie and Delilah as they detail the year they met. Oddly enough, the pair bump into each other every holiday. I loved this setup for various reasons. First, it made the story extra playful because of the traditions that surround US holidays. Second, because Delilah and Reggie meet once a month, their romance builds. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the fluffy romantic novels and occasionally the love at first sight and instant love trope. But there’s something about a slow build romance that’s so satisfying to read. The slow build in Reggie and Delilah works well because the characters get to know each other, their friends, their hobbies, and their insecurities.
A big theme of this novel is the romance between Delilah and Reggie, but another big part of this book is the way they grow and become more confident in themselves. Delilah’s growth is the most obvious as she takes confidence from Reggie and applies that to her own life. Which leads her to stand up for herself and realize how underappreciated she is in the band.
Reggie’s growth is a bit slower; he also struggles to advocate for himself. In his inner monologue he laments the times he should have been honest with those around him. Most notable Delilah. Reggie’s main struggle revolves around his secrecy online. Reggie’s a well known D And D essayist, but he publishes his articles under a pseudonym to protect himself against his family’s judgment. His fear to go public later causes him to pass up on an amazing opportunity later in the story. Although it takes him a bit, Reggie eventually gets there.
I liked these arcs because it showed a common struggle between the protagonists, and it highlighted how different the journey to gain confidence is. Which is a theme I love in teen novels and in any story.
Another theme I enjoyed in this story was the way both characters navigate their lives as Black teens in Southern California. In Delilah’s perspective she notes two different sides to the way she’s viewed publicly. First she notes the reason she and the band get so much attention so quickly has more to do with her race than the band’s music. Delilah’s a black singer in a musical genre that lacks them. And when she attempts to discuss this with her white band mates, they’re dismissive and tell her she’s overreacting. Then Delilah realizes that taking up space as a Black singer can also be a good thing, because it encourages other Black singers to do it too. Which Delilah likes and finds confidence in.
Reggie’s also thrown some microaggressive and ignorant comments because he loves to play D and D. But Reggie’s response is interesting because he throws himself into criticizing and analyzing the racism and colonialism in the game rather than giving attention to his bullies. Although Reggie loves Dungeon and Dragons and continues to play it throughout the story, he also takes a step back and examines the piece.
I found these topics interesting, and I liked that it added this layer of reality to the story. I am not familiar with D and D, but Reggie’s essays have made me curious about the game.
Another thing to note about this story that made me love it even more is the setting. I mentioned this story is set in Southern California, specifically the Long Beach area. I love when stories take place in the surrounding neighborhood of big cities because it brings the stories to life.
One last thing I wanted to note was just how cute the cover of this novel is! I know cartoon covers are a hit and miss for some, but I personally like them, and this cover in particular makes the protagonists look super cute!
I recommend this book for fans of Dash and Lily’s book of Dares, young adult lovers, and readers who want a nerdy and electric book.
until next time book lovers I’ll be Living in Libros,
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