Book Review

ARC Book Review: With and Without You by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Rating: ★★☆ (2.5)
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
Publisher: Viking
Release Date: April 19th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

#Wibbroka is back with another swoony YA–this time tackling long-distance relationships, in a novel based on their own romantic history.

If high school seniors Siena and Patrick were a superlative, they’d be the Couple Most Likely to Marry. They’ve been dating for three solid years, and everyone agrees they’re perfect for each other. But with college on the horizon, Siena begins to wonder whether staying together is the best idea. Does she really want to be tied down during possibly the most transformative years of her life? So she makes a decision to break up with Patrick, convincing herself it’s for the best. Before she can say the words, though, he beats her to the punch: his family is moving out of state. Caught off guard by the news, Siena agrees to stay with Patrick, believing their relationship will naturally fizzle out with time and distance. But over a series of visits throughout the school year, Siena begins to see a different side of Patrick–one that has her falling in love with him all over again. 

Thank you the the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC.

LETDOWN.

I am a huge fan of Wibberley and Sigemund-Broka. Read and enjoyed all of their previous books. This is the first time I have felt truly MEH about how this entire book went.

This relationship in crisis trope did not play out well. Siena complained entirely too much and kept pitying Patrick at every turn when she should have just BROKEN UP WITH HIM. Stop making ridiculous excuses. It also really bugged me that rather than communicate (since they’ve been in a relationship for 3+ years), she instead decides she wants to sleep with him for the first time even when she acknowledges she’s not in a good place for it. I could give you a list of more instances of Sienna making me want to toss my kindle.

Some of the second half was better. I’ll give it up to that. A few times there was some good communication. And I liked Patrick a lot! There wasn’t enough build up around his character so often he felt very bland, but he seemed sweet and I liked that we got some passion out of him by the end.

There’s more ridiculous miscommunication issues in the last quarter and I can’t say I was even all that happy with the ending. I felt there were enough red flags on both sides that I fell off the wagon of being behind this relationship.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: complete closed-door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: gaslighting, gray-area cheating

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