Review: ‘Been Here All Along’ by Sandy Hall

I heard about this before it came out and wanted to read it right away. Once it was released I couldn’t wait to read it – which is why I made the rare concession of buying the Kindle edition rather than the paperback, also releasing some pressure on the shelf-space issue. This was my target-hitting fiftieth book this year without even intending to be – I was ninety pages into something else I expected to finish first, but once I picked this up I read it in pretty much one sitting.

been here all along

From Anna and the French Kiss and My Life Next Door to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and I’ll Give You the Sun, I love a good young adult romantic storyline. Been Here All Along is a beautiful addition to the genre. It follows the friendship of Gideon and Kyle, who have been neighbours and best friends since they were little. The narrative perspective is split between the two boys, Kyle’s girlfriend Ruby and Gideon’s older brother Ezra. Gideon is very organised and has a plan for everything – but he has no plan that involved falling for Kyle.

I really enjoyed not only the romantic aspect of this book – which had many adorable moments to give you the warm fuzzies – but the glimpse into the specific experience of being a teenager surrounded by social pressures and expectations. Nobody in this book is stereotypically characterised, but they all struggle with those expectations. People make mistakes, and acknowledge them, but are always portrayed sympathetically and with an awareness of the circumstances that lead to mistakes.

I’d recommend this to anyone looking for an easy or quick read, as a lovely romantic YA read to make you smile.

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