June 21, 2019 by TinyNavajo
The Beauty of the Moment by Tanaz Bhathena
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
*Published February 26, 2019*
I seem to be in a small contemporary YA kick, which I’m not opposed to at the moment. Contemporary YA is soft and fluffy and is usually centered around high school romance, which is usually fluff.
Susan is the new girl—she’s sharp and driven, and strives to meet her parents’ expectations of excellence. Malcolm is the bad boy—he started raising hell at age fifteen, after his mom died of cancer, and has had a reputation ever since.
Susan’s parents are on the verge of divorce. Malcolm’s dad is a known adulterer.
Susan hasn’t told anyone, but she wants to be an artist. Malcolm doesn’t know what he wants—until he meets her.
Love is messy and families are messier, but in spite of their burdens, Susan and Malcolm fall for each other. The ways they drift apart and come back together are testaments to family, culture, and being true to who you are.
This story, to me, felt like a more realistic version of a high school love. Our two main characters, Susan and Malcolm, are trying to just figure out who they are as well as who they want to be. Susan wants to be an artist, going to college to pursue an arts degree. Her parents want to be a doctor or engineer. Malcolm has a reputation of being a dick and not knowing what he wants to do when it comes to being after high school.
These two meet and it starts off a rocky friendship, but they connect. They start to find common ground with one another they become the friends neither knew they needed in this time of their lives. Malcolm helps Susan adjust to living in Canada, such as learning how to drive, taking her out to food that is what she grew up with, and just being her friend as she settles into being in Canada. Susan helps Malcolm with the Shakespeare unit in English, working on getting his grades up, and inadvertently helping his decide that he wants to go to college.
But as with all high school romances, not all is well. They run into problems, and issues; Susan’s mother and father are on two separate continents and this is causing strain on their marriage. Malcolm’s father had an affair while his mother was going through a resurgence of cancer. As Susan and Malcolm work through their family problems, their relationship suffers. Things go down the drain for them, but they still want to be friends, to figure out what they want.
I think what I love most about this book and this relationship is that this feels realistic to me of a high school relationship. Susan and Malcolm want to be friends, more than friends, but as they work on themselves and their families first, they learn that they can do just that and let themselves learn what they want in life. This is a love story that doesn’t focus square on the love aspect of the relationship, but the friendship part of it as well. And that feels true, that you can love someone, but without learning how to be friends, you cannot truly love that person.
What do you think love is? Is it something that comes easily to you? Comment below and let me know!