Title: Starting With the Unexpected
Author: Andi Van
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages
At a Glance: I found the pace of this story to be fairly quick, mostly because I couldn’t put it down. The pages flew by and I enjoyed each one.
Reviewed By: Janet
Blurb: Zachary Blaise is having a weird week—even by his standards. Though he’s gay, the radio personality has been dumped via text by a girl named Marian—and he’s never even met her. On top of that, he’s developed a massive crush on Marcus, the new waiter at his favorite diner. His best friend thinks the whole thing is hilarious.
Marcus’s week hasn’t been his best either. He’s been betrayed by those closest to him, and although he isn’t the guilty party, Marcus is the one getting harassed.
Impossibly, things are about to get even weirder. Marian has secrets, and those secrets are going to make some serious ripples in Zach’s life. When he discovers that the girl called Marian is actually the man named Marcus, Zach stumbles down a rabbit hole of abusive ex-boyfriends, psychotic relatives, and revelations from his own past. If he can survive the chaos, the journey might prove worth the effort.
Review: When I first read the opening lines of Starting With the Unexpected, I howled with laughter and knew it was going to be good. What this book really turned out to be was pretty awesome, and it in no way read like a debut novel. There are serious authoring skills at use in this book, and if the old ideas of authors growing into their talent and developing skills along the way are true, then we are all so lucky and hopefully, Andi Van is going to be prolific. This debut novel is first class.
The characters are well developed and so vividly described that they were colorful in my head as the story unfolded. They reacted to others, and to each other, in such a real way that it was hard not to think of them as real people, and the conversations they have are also spot on in both timing and humor.
The author allowed the MCs to develop a real friendship before she mixed romance into the story, and I loved that aspect of the plot. And, speaking of plot, there is a good one in this book; full of twists, emotional drama, and physical hurts that we feel right along with the characters. It is smooth and a joy to read as the holes are plugged, and as soon as I figured something out, it played out. Very nicely done.
I found the pace of this story to be fairly quick, mostly because I couldn’t put it down. The pages flew by and I enjoyed each one. Starting With the Unexpected is a book I will read again, as it filled a gap I didn’t realize was missing in the genre – namely a well-crafted, humorous romance with a killer plot.
I definitely want to read more from this author. She gave me a fresh, fun, and lively story, with two MCs I just adored. I would even be open to a sequel about these same characters at a random point in their future; they were simply that impressive.
Congratulations on your debut novel, Andi Van, and good wishes for a productive future.
You can buy Starting With the Unexpected here: