Authur: Ciara Smyth
Genre: Young Adult 13+
Reviewed by: Ciara, Maynooth Library
Saoirse doesn’t believe in love at first sight or happy endings. If they were real, her mother would still be able to remember her name and not in a care home with early onset dementia. A condition that Saoirse may one day turn out to have inherited. So she’s not looking for a relationship. She doesn’t see the point in igniting any romantic sparks if she’s bound to burn out. But after a chance encounter at an end-of-term house party, Saoirse is about to break her own rules. For a girl with one blue freckle, an irresistible sense of mischief, and a passion for rom-coms. Unbothered by Saoirse’s no-relationships rulebook, Ruby proposes a loophole: They don’t need true love to have one summer of fun, complete with every cliché, rom-com montage-worthy date they can dream up—and a binding agreement to end their romance come fall. It would be the perfect plan, if they weren’t forgetting one thing about the Falling in Love Montage: when it’s over, the characters actually fall in love… for real.
This is Ciara Smyths debut novel and I can’t wait to read more from her! The Falling in Love Montage is less a love story and more a novel about learning how to deal with complex situations and opening up to others, even if that means you might get hurt. Saoirse is coping with a lot in this book, her fathers upcoming wedding to a woman she doesn’t like, her mother’s deteriorating chronic illness, and, processing the pain of a breakup with her long-term girlfriend, Hannah. Having shut out all her friends and her Dad as much as possible she is now struggling with all the emotions she’s been repressing for so long. I loved watching Saoirse grow and start to let go of some to the hurt she’d been feeling and see that everyone around her had their own stories and motivations and, like her, were just trying to make the best of things. Ruby was similarly such a compelling character and I enjoyed how carefree she was while being very grounded in the world around her. Both girls have very different outlooks on life and the future but their joy in creating a lesbian love montage in the adage of classic rom coms was inspiring.
I was also delighted to read a book set in Ireland with all the experiences that we have as teenagers right there. There are so few Young Adult books written by Irish Authors and most of them focus on slightly younger teens that it was great to read about a girl who had just finished her Leaving Cert and trying to decide on colleges and navigating aspects of the CAO and UCAS systems.