Authors: Claire Davis and Al Stewart
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
Length: 118 Pages (Kindle)
Category: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
At a Glance: Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace! made me smile and warmed my heart, and that’s never a bad thing to base a recommendation on.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: When Charlie was eight years old, his mum bought him a microscope for his birthday. Since then, he’s known how he wants to spend his life. There have been trials, and challenges, but now – finally – the day is here for him to start college with his lifelong friend Anthony Pace.
Anthony is a red-haired force of nature. He writes poetry about their enemies and eagerly participates in all Charlie’s science experiments without understanding a word. Every morning, he waits at the end of their street so they can get the bus together.
But things are changing.
Families are important, and complex. Charlie’s mum hasn’t been well, and his relationship with Anthony begins to shine like a different star in the sky.
Can everything come together in this explosion of physics and chemicals that Charlie calls life? Will Anthony Pace ever share his poems with the world, and can the Chihuahua, Princess Arabella, ever learn to stop licking?
Review: I’m going to start out by stating one absolute truth about this book: it’s adorable. The second and third truths are that it’s touching and quirky. The fourth and fifth truths are that Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace! is sweet and romantic, and the rest of the good about this book revolves entirely around the fact that Anthony Pace and Charlie Woods are so infinitely lovable.
The friends-to-lovers trope has always been a favorite of mine, so the only way this story could have missed for me is if the evolution of the relationship wasn’t plotted convincingly. It was. Anthony and Charlie aren’t fast friends when they first meet—Anthony is a bit of a red-headed imp, as five year olds are wont to be—but it doesn’t take long for their friendship to blossom because Charlie is forgiving, as five year olds are also wont to be, and Anthony is a little smitten by the science that Charlie shows him. In fact, Anthony Pace seems to be smitten by more than a few things about Charlie Woods, including his hair—which goes boing-boing when he jumps—and the fact that Charlie is just so uniquely Charlie. Of course, Anthony is uniquely Anthony too, so they really just go together like tea and biscuits.
Told in both the present and through flashbacks, authors Claire Davis and Al Stewart have woven a story that charms from page one. As I got to know more about both Charlie and Anthony, the more I grew to adore them: Charlie because his personality and the challenges he’s facing with his mum are revealed in snippets along the way, adding a poignant touch to the story, and Anthony because he’s just flat-out delightful and is Charlie’s biggest fan in every way.
The draw of this story isn’t necessarily the story itself, though there is a surprise twist or two along the way, but is very much its characters. Anthony’s poetry and the way he uses it not only to express himself but eventually to express his love for his best friend is equal parts catharsis and comical and romantical. Watching these two boys take their friendship to a new level just…happens. It happens in such a natural way, without any of the angst or doubts that often go hand-in-hand with New Adult romance, that it was hard to believe they hadn’t felt some version of love for each other from the moment they’d become friends fifteen years before. Davis and Stewart made this happen through a seamless narrative and great use of dialogue to tell their story, and watching Charlie navigate his way into unexpected but welcome territory with the boy who’d captured his fancy was such a treat.
Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace! made me smile and warmed my heart, and that’s never a bad thing to base a recommendation on.
You can buy Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace here: