Meg has her entire life set up perfectly: her boyfriend Mason is sweet and supportive, she and her best friend Emily plan to head to Cornell together in the fall, and she even finds time to clock shifts phonebanking at a voter registration call center in her Philadelphia suburb. But everything changes when one of those calls connects her to a stranger from small-town Ohio, who gets under her skin from the moment he picks up the phone.
Colby is stuck in a rut, reeling from a family tragedy and working a dead-end job—unsure what his future holds, or if he even cares. The last thing he has time for is some privileged rich girl preaching the sanctity of the political process. So he says the worst thing he can think of and hangs up.
But things don’t end there.…
That night on the phone winds up being the first in a series of candid, sometimes heated, always surprising conversations that lead to a long-distance friendship and then—slowly—to something more. Across state lines and phone lines, Meg and Colby form a once-in-a-lifetime connection. But in the end, are they just too different to make it work?
You Say It First is a propulsive, layered novel about how sometimes the person who has the least in common with us can be the one who changes us most.
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“I don’t actually think it always has to be your sole responsibility to make sure everything goes perfectly all the time”
OMG, this book is the sweetest thing, I loved it so much, definitely one of those cases when the story far exceeds my expectations. I feel that this plot touched my heart in many ways, the characters seemed very realistic and the topics it covers are very shocking, but they’re well discussed and very well executed in my point of view. Politics isn’t usually my jam, but I was still able to enjoy this contemporary romance very much, and that makes me very happy.
In this book, we follow two characters whose we’ll have their respective POVs, Meg & Colby. Meg, on the one hand, has her life planned out perfectly, with her amazing boyfriend, and plans to go to college with her best friend, Emily. In her spare time, she works as a phone banker at a voter registration call center in a Philadelphia suburb, but everything will change for her after a simple phone conversation that will make her realize that life can take unexpected turns. Colby, on the other hand, lives trying to get over his father’s tragic suicide, going to work every day uncertain about what his future holds for him or if he even cares. The last thing he has time for is some privileged rich girl preaching the sanctity of the political process. But these calls will soon become a regular occurrence for them and as they begin to connect, doubts begin to creep in. Are they just too different to make it work?
I think the plot is perhaps a bit simple in its main idea, as it’s about two young people who after an unexpected phone call, and almost by mistake, get to know each other and connect despite being from very different worlds, but in fact, it becomes much more than just that once we explore about their lives, and we know more about their insecurities, their fears, and their true desires and goals. There’s something very real and human in this story that also comes with a huge emotional charge that made me love it deeply.
It’s the exploration of personalities, and family conflicts that make this story stand out in my opinion. The plot focuses a lot on both characters equally and as we follow them in their daily lives, and get to know their friends, their families, and themselves, we recognize where many of their attitudes and outlooks on life come from that are in turn completely different. I’ll talk more about the characters later as such, but without a doubt, we explore very polarized lives. On the one hand, we have a rich girl with privileges and therefore her position is very different from the boy who comes from a humble working-class background and for whom things have been perhaps more difficult, you know? Very interesting to read in my opinion, it’s also elaborated in a very realistic way.
I really liked the writing style, I’ve been wanting to give the author a full chance for a long time, I’ve read some short stories by her, but nothing like a full book, so I’m super happy I did it and enjoyed it so much. The dialogues are wonderful, and I love that it has so many of them, in this kind of stories it’s just necessary to even have a good quality in the conversations of the characters, which obviously can be a bit cheesy at times, but always made me smile at the end, sometimes making me sad too I admit, I feel a lot of things for this story.
On the other hand, I want to point out that choosing to tell this story in double POV is just perfect because we get to know the characters in more depth and we can understand what’s going on in their minds, and their personal conflicts, it’s also super interesting to see how their attitudes change once they meet and I love to see how they’re empowered in the best ways, there are also conflicts of course, but it’s obviously the journey in which the story takes you and also every moment even the bad ones help the characters to grow and evolve, and I LOVE to say that there’s a lot of growth in that aspect.
I’ll talk or at least try to tell you a little bit about the main characters. On one side, we have Meg and you can see from the first moment that she’s a person who wants to have an impact on the world and wants to do something to change people’s lives for the better, that’s why she has decided to get involved in politics which I believe from what I’ve read, she’s passionate about. She can be innocent at times, obviously, her outlook on life has a lot to do with her parents and upbringing which was obviously full of privilege given the good social class she comes from, yet her intentions are very honest and real and I love that about her.
I also like how she’s very true to her ideals and has a very empathetic side as well. On the other hand, I really connected with this character since it’s very complicated for Meg to express openly when she has some kind of disagreement with someone she loves. She’s always trying to be a mediator and runs away from conflicts since she doesn’t want to generate them or be part of them, but because of this she ends up shutting up many things, and then, of course, she always ends up doing what makes others happy instead, and I can really relate to that, and the attitude of always putting others first, it’s something I work on a lot myself so I was happy to see it portrayed in Meg’s life , who in her case has developed this aspect of her personality because of her parents and their intense fights when they were still together. We also explore quite a bit her relationship with her parents, on the one hand, her mother, who has problems with alcohol, and on the other hand, her father, who’s about to remarry. I really like how getting to know Colby has made her grow a lot in the communicative aspect and how she has been able to finally express things that she has kept quiet for a long time out of fear, I’m super proud of her and I love this character because I think she becomes a very independent person.
On the other hand, we have Colby who also struggles with his own demons in his case is very deep toom, as we talk about the loss of a father and how he even feels guilty because of it and there are a lot of insecurities that have grown in him that have prevented him from moving forward in his life and going for his dreams 100%. I felt so bad for him, we can see how he feels like it’s not worth taking risks because he’ll always screw it up anyway, and those kinds of thoughts end up being self-destructive. Also in this case. I love how meeting Meg changes many ways of looking at some situations and ends up even pushing him to be more ambitious about his life and understand that no matter the circumstances you can achieve things and change some.
The evolution of both characters is wonderful, and above all, I love that despite being a romantic story in many aspects it’s also one about self-improvement and maturity, also about learning. But without a doubt the romance itself is also very solid, there are some great scenes that made me smile a lot and even blush, I love how innovative it’s that in this case the girl is more experienced in relationships than the guy, it’s something refreshing and different to read. I love how even though there are a lot of things they do for each other and there’s a lot of focus on their relationship, the plot also leans into their personal lives and their individual stories, you know? they both have a lot of moments of overcoming as separate individuals that really make me feel proud. Both characters decide to feel fulfilled as human beings and the romance almost takes a back seat at times even though they never stop thinking about each other, and OMG, it’s so beautiful.
Another small but great thing I want to mention is THE ENDING! because, in my opinion, it’s one of my favorite endings: simple, realistic but different, and open, 100% what I needed from this story. I love how it’s not what romances usually do, and I absolutely love how one little scene can mean SO MUCH, guys, it’s just perfect in my eyes and it made me feel SO NOSTALGIA!!! I need like a thousand more pages of these characters just chatting forever lol, they’re precious.
So to end this more than sentimental review (sorry about that, lol) I want to say that I’m happy to have read this book, truthfully this genre is always a hit or miss for me, so the fact that I loved it is amazing, it definitely makes me more excited to pick up another contemporary romance very soon. I highly recommend this book if you like adorable romances, but also stories of self-improvement and growth, it’s very focused on the characters’ fears and insecurities, but there’s so much growth that it becomes an inspiring story even. The characters are wonderful, they’re very well thought out, the family discussions are very realistic and intense too, but in the best way, and the ending is so satisfying, you have no idea. So, I sincerely hope you give it a chance, I know you won’t regret it.
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