Title: It Sounded Better in My Head
Author: Nina Kenwood
Publisher: Flatiron Books (US) / Text Publishing (Australia)
Release date: April 7, 2020
My rating: ★★★★.5
Synopsis via Goodreads:
From debut author Nina Kenwood comes a tender, funny, and compulsively readable novel about first love and its confusions, and all of the awkwardness of teen romance.
When her parents announce their impending divorce, Natalie can’t understand why no one is fighting, or at least mildly upset. Then Zach and Lucy, her two best friends, hook up, leaving her feeling slightly miffed and decidedly awkward. She’d always imagined she would end up with Zach one day―in the version of her life that played out like a TV show, with just the right amount of banter, pining, and meaningful looks. Now everything has changed, and nothing is quite making sense. Until an unexpected romance comes along and shakes things up even further.
It Sounded Better in My Head is a compulsively readable love letter to teenage romance in all of its awkward glory, perfect for fans To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Emergency Contact.
I had an absolute blast reading It Sounded Better in My Head! This was one of those books that I couldn’t put down. When I had to take breaks all I thought about was these characters. I could honestly read 500 more pages about their lives!
In this book we follow Natalie, who’s parents just told her they are separating. To make matters worse, her two best friends hooked up. Everything is changing and nothing makes sense anymore. Then an unexpected romance comes along and shakes things up even more…
Our main character Natalie had a very rough time during puberty. It was not kind to her at all. She developed severe acne. I really appreciate that the author chose to discuss this topic. I was very lucky not to experience much acne growing up so this story showed me exactly how much of a toll it can put on someone. It affects not only your appearance, but your mental health. Natalie talks about having to take medication to calm the acne. She also shares all the side effects she had because of the medication. It is a lot and I couldn’t imagine being in her position.
Her self confidence is also affected by her troubles with acne. She doesn’t like wearing certain clothing because it shows her scars. She has to make sure her makeup is applied well so it covers everything. She will cancel plans if she has a pimple. So much of her time is consumed by worrying and second guessing everything. It broke my heart. Throughout the book though, she really grows and starts to love who she is.
Natalie‘s parents were the best! I loved how supportive and involved they were. They wanted her to experience all the good and bad that life has to offer. At the very beginning of the book, they tell Natalie that they are separating. She takes it pretty well at first, but of course deep down she is truly upset. There is a point when her mom decides to start dating again and Natalie is very angry about it. I understand why she felt the way she did, but there was no reason to make her mom feel like a terrible person. She was just trying to be happy. I don’t feel like their argument was ever really resolved so that is my only issue I had with the book.
The friendship between Natalie, Lucy and Zach was interesting to read about. I mean, I have been in Natalie’s place. It sucks to have a friend group of three and then the other two friends start dating. There’s nothing fun about being the third wheel. With all the changes going on, things get pretty rocky. Every friendship has its ups and downs, but at the end of the day, the three friends were always there for one another. I loved how protective Zach was and how encouraging Lucy was. Such a great group!
Okay now for the best part of the book…the romance! I don’t want to spoil who Natalie meets, but ugh they were so cute. The love interest is swoon worthy for sure. The chemistry between the two is 10/10. Natalie is very new to everything that comes with dating so I loved all the awkward things that happened. It was so realistic. The couple’s relationship isn’t perfect by any means. It gets messy, but you can bet that I was rooting for them the whole time!
Overall, It Sounded Better in My Head was everything that I wanted it to be plus more. If you are looking for a fun and quick contemporary that has depth and a sweet romance…look no further!