The Dead Romantics
I was really excited by this one, but it was a little disappointing.
Florence is a ghost writer for a famous romance author, and she’s massively behind on her next book. It’s kinda hard to write a romance when you don’t believe in love anymore. Enter her editor, Benji, who won’t take no for an answer, and needs this book now. But when her dad dies, and Florence has to go home, Benji shows up as well…but he’s a ghost.
I have several issues with this book. For one, the language could be better. There were multiple cases of repetition, and a lot of them were the same phrases used over and over, like when the dog mayor comes in. I guarantee that every time Florence is with the dog, she’s “scrubbing him behind the ears.” Every time. And it drove me NUTS.
The characters, for how much we saw of them, were kinda flat. They didn’t feel like they were three dimensional. They all had like one or two attributes, but it made them all feel…well, like characters, and not like they could be real people. I feel like they just needed more. I think Florence says it best when she’s talking about the fact that she literally doesn’t know anything about Benji, not even his favorite color, because me neither bestie. I don’t know anything about y’all.
This is an insta-love romance, and I wouldn’t have had much of a problem with that except that they kept pointing it out. I know, you’ve only known him for a week, we get it, stop saying it though! I can suspend my disbelief, but if you really want to drive home that this is an insta-love…
I wish they’d done more with Florence’s ability. She sees like three ghosts, not including Benji, and only interacts with one of them. It’s such a neat and different characteristic that literally ran her out of town…and nothing is really done with it. Also, with the running out of town…if everyone knows she’s the ghost writer, why is Rose such a bitch? Like, they were literally reading Florence’s book while also shitting on her, but go off?
So what did I like? The grief. The way that Florence and her family deals with the death of Xavier is heartbreaking, and it’s relatable. I luckily still have my dad in my life, but I have nightmares every once in a while where he dies, and that panic and grief I wake up with I saw reflected in this book. I know a lot of people are judging the way that the grief is written in this book, but everyone is different in their grief, and it’s not up to us to judge the way other people feel their emotions, real or not.
I also really liked the side-character representation in casually queer and gender divergent characters, but if ALL of your side characters are gay…it just makes me want a better book about the side characters, and not the one straight woman in this whole town.
I initially rated this book as a 3 star, but after writing this review, I’m gonna knock it down to 2. I had a good time, but overall it wasn’t the best romance book I’ve ever read.
Trigger warnings: cursing, grief, bullying, alcohol, death/death of parent (father), infidelity (past), medical content (embalming, death related), toxic relationship, mental illness, sexual content (fade to black)
Did I like? Yeah…
Recommend? Not particularly.