This was a book we did a tour for at the end of December/beginning of January, and it was too cute not to read! This was my first read of 2021 and it was a great way to start off the year.
I received an ARC from Amulet Books through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This has not impacted my rating or my thoughts on this book.
The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss by Amy Noelle Parks
Published: January 5, 2021
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Caleb has always assumed that when she was ready for romance, Evie would choose him. Because he is her best friend, and he loves her, and he has almost kissed her 17 times…
Seventeen-year-old Evie Beckham has never been interested in dating. She’s been fully occupied by her love of mathematics and her frequent battles with anxiety (and besides, she’s always found the idea of kissing to be a little bit icky). But with the help of her best friend and her therapist, Evie’s feeling braver. Maybe even brave enough to enter a prestigious physics competition and to say yes to the new boy who’s been flirting with her.
Caleb Covic knows Evie isn’t ready for romance but assumes that when she is, she will choose him. So Caleb is horrified when he is forced to witness Evie’s meet cute with a floppy-haired, mathematically gifted transfer student. Because Caleb knows the girl never falls for the funny best friend when there’s a mysterious stranger around, he decides to use an online forum to capture Evie’s interest. Now, he’s got Evie wondering if it’s possible to fall in love with a boy she’s never met.
Told in the alternating voices of Evie and Caleb, THE QUANTUM WEIRDNESS OF THE ALMOST KISS is a YA romantic comedy, sure to satisfy fans of Jenny Han, Rainbow Rowell and Stephanie Perkins.
Off the bat, I had some issues with Evie’s character, but as the story progressed and we see her continue to grow into a more confident, self assured person, my issues went out the window. See, Evie is a very anxious person who is socially awkward and has frequent panic responses to things. At first her responses came across stereotypical and, as someone who suffers from anxiety myself, I wasn’t a fan of how she was depicted. But, as I learned more about Evie’s individual case of anxiety, the more I realized that my initial assumptions were biased and wrong. Not everyone shows anxiety in the same way nor do they deal with it in the same away. Once I acknowledged that I was trying to compare Evie’s anxiety to my own, I quickly shut it down and found myself relating to and enjoying Evie’s POVs more.
Now for Caleb, I loved him off the bat. He was a little annoying in the beginning as well as he confesses to us his love for Evie without even hinting or telling her that he was in love with her, but he’s so cute and charming that I forgave him. Once we got more into the plot, I found myself once again falling in love with this character more (as a friend, obviously). Caleb definitely comes across as a player but once we see these personal moments between him and Evie it’s so clear that they’re in love. I was rooting for them so hard!
Evie’s friend Bex was also a great side character and I wish we got to see more of her. She really paired well as a friend for Evie and as a confidant for Caleb. Her own self journey with facing her parents expectations and pursuing her dreams got me so excited for her! But Leo – oh Leo – he sucked. He was really controlling over Evie and while Caleb was definitely showing signs he was in love with Evie, he happily stepped aside for Leo when Evie showed she was interested. But Leo still acts like a controlling boyfriend and a jerk friend – it was so frustrating to watch!
Throughout the book, I was so happy to see all of these character’s self journeys to becoming better people and more mature teens. And of course, the fact that Caleb kept track of the “almost kisses” was so cute I could burst! One thing to be aware of though is that these kids are super geniuses. There are a lot of math and physics theories and concepts discussed in this book and as a person who can barely add/subtract large numbers without a calculator, these concepts were surprisingly easy to understand. Or at least, to get the gist of. If you aren’t super into physics or math (neither am I) then you’ll be fine! The math is only 5% important and the other 95% is plot/love related. I definitely feel smarter knowing that I understood a lot of the math jokes contained inside though.
Overall, the beginning was a little rough for me to get into, but I quickly found myself loving the story and the characters. This was such a cute rom-com about two friends finding their way towards love. A solid // 5 stars!