G. Bianco, 2019
Molly Ringle’s novel, All the Better Part of Me, follows a young actor living in England as he grapples with his sexuality and the obstacles life throws at him. While this novel hosts a cool cast of characters, it’s premise is lackluster upon actually reading the book.
It's an inconvenient time for Sinter Blackwell to realize he's bisexual. He's a 25-year-old American actor working in London, living far away from his disapproving parents, and enjoying a flirtation with his director, Fiona. But he can't deny that his favorite parts of each day are the messages from his gay best friend, Andy, in Seattle—whom Sinter once kissed when they were 15. Finally, he decides to return to America to visit Andy and discover what's between them, if anything. He isn't seeking love, and definitely doesn't want drama. But both love and drama seem determined to find him. Family complications soon force him into the most consequential decisions of his life, threatening all his most important relationships: with Andy, Fiona, his parents, and everyone else who's counting on him.
It was a good book. I thought the characters were interesting and the friends-to-lovers trope would make for an interesting read. However, this novel fell flat for me.
I wasn’t a fan of some of the turns the plot took, including an unplanned pregnancy, disapproving parents, and car crash. It felt a bit too dramatic, yet also really predictable. However despite the drama, the story was also a bit bland at times. It wasn’t super fluffy and it wasn’t super steamy either. It just kind of toed the line of romance without crossing over said line, which might’ve been the thing to take the novel up a notch.
While this is a love story, there is also a lot dealing with family and personal issues and accepting one’s sexuality. That being said, I did find Sinter’s realization about his sexuality to be a bit rushed. The pacing of the novel and the way the story jumped time periods so quickly made it hard to keep track of what time of year it was and what the characters were going through.
It’s not that Ringle’s book was bad; it just was not as fluffy or steamy as I had hoped for. This novel just didn’t have anything to really hook me in and keep me engaged in the story and lacked the depth that you can normally find in a romance or self-discovery story. It could have been dubbed “really good” but lacked that one (or few) thing(s) to push it over the edge.
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