Tag Archives: Rachel Lynn Solomon

See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon

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See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Solomon, Rachel Lynn. See You Yesterday. Simon & Schuster, 2022. ISBN 978-1665901925 432 pp. $19.99

*****

Barrett (named for the poet) Bloom is looking at her freshman year of college as the opportunity of a do-over. High school was hell: her expose in the school paper on a corrupted grading system for star tennis players led to her being a social pariah, but also bullying, the loss of a good friend, and a deceptive, mean prom date who took her virginity just so he could brag about deflowering her as revenge for her getting his brother kicked off the tennis team. On her first day of classes, Wednesday, September 21, Barrett discovers her no-show roommate is Lucie, the former friend (whose boyfriend was the one who got kicked off the team!) and the day gets worse from there. She botches her interview with the school paper, is unprepared for physics 101, and accidentally sets fire to a frat house. She runs away, gets lost, finds her way to campus, passes out in the common room, and…. wakes up again on Wednesday, September 21.

Stuck in a Groundhog-Day like time loop, the only bright and shining part of her day is getting to know Miles Kasher-Okamoto, the son of her physics teacher, who seems to be stuck in a time loop of his own. Their bristly temperaments towards each other slowly become sparks as they try to figure out why they are stuck, and agree to approach getting unstuck together from Mile’s more scientific leanings and Barrett’s magical ones. They enjoy going on adventures with no consequences, traveling, exploring, getting tattoos, buying a lot of rescue dogs, and narrowly escape death.

Another approach to find their way back to their reality is to right past wrongs, and this becomes an opportunity for Barrett to try to repair her relationship with Lucie, for Miles to allow his addict brother Max to make amends, and for Barrett to face the shitty things that happened to her on prom date–including confronting Cole Walker– and clue both Miles and her Max in, so she can begin to heal. The pair even tries to track down a former professor from UW who taught a very popular class on Time Travel for Beginners, and while her advice is ultimately helpful, nothing helps, until a missing sock provides an epiphany.

I was thinking of this book as Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl meets Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop: while only two are about the college experience and two are about time loops, all three novels have deeply fleshed out, real new adult characters alongside interesting and non-stereotyped supporting characters strong setting, a compelling story, a sweet, strong first time romance, great pacing, and honestly? just perfect voice and writing.

I loved See You Yesterday for the theme of acceptance and the author’s normalizing what might still be considered marginalized people. Barrett’s mother has dated both men and women, and her current love interest is on the verge of proposing; another character isn’t so sure she likes men all that much and is looking forward to exploring; Barrett is curvy and (mostly) unashamed and gets comfortable being adored as she is; Miles is Asian American, and both are Jewish, but Miles says he is not half anything when he’s telling Barrett about some of the comments he’s heard (presumably from other Jews) about not being a matrilineal Jew. As a Jew by choice, I love seeing myself reflected back in what I’m reading, and their improvised Shabbat on a Wednesday was just so lovely. Barrett’s observation that “Much of Judaism is about making do with what you have, and I’ve always loved that there are so many ways to observe” resonated with me. It should be noted the setting of the book takes place close to the High Holidays, and while they are not mentioned, it is a time of reflection, apologies, atonement, and new beginnings.

I also really loved the pop culture woven throughout–the age of the protagonist means she has a mom that grew up in the 2000s and her introduction to the Gilmore Girls and love of all things from the turn of the 21st century is a nicely woven thread throughout the narrative.

The title is great and I don’t love the pink cover, which features a sketch of the characters at three points in time and coordinates with the author’s last YA book, Today, Tonight, Tomorrow.

I flipped to Good Reads to note I’d finished the book, and realized Rachel Lynn Solomon wrote my favorite book (thus far) of 2022: Weather Girl! As in Weather Girl, the Seattle setting features strongly into the narrative.

One of my favorite things to tell kids embarking on their higher education journey is that college is what YOU make of it. Watching Barrett come to this realization that it’s not college that will change her, but that she will change, is so satisfying.

I received an advance reader’s review copy of #SeeYouYesterday via #Netgalley

Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon

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Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Solomon, Rachel Lynn. Weather Girl. Berkley, 2022. ISBN 978-0593200148 352 pp. $6

*****

I am in love with everything about this book. I appreciate my romance with a side of issues, peopled with real, imperfect characters, and Weather Girl’s protagonist Ari Abrams struggles with depression, managed by therapy, anti-depressants, and a fake-it-til-you-make it attitude. She struggles to keep her game face some days at her job as a television meteorologist, where her boss and her boss’s ex are creating a toxic work environment instead of the mentoring Ari had been hoping for. After an Emmy gets hurled through the window at the local Hilton, Air and the sports broadcaster on her shift, Russell Barringer, make a drunken pact at the annual Christmas party to Parent Trap their bosses into getting back together to create more office harmony, and find themselves bonding at swing dance lessons, a company retreat where Ari slips and breaks her elbow, her first hockey game on a double date with the bosses, and finally, an actual date to watch a solar eclipse.

Ari is fresh off a breakup and single dad Russell hasn’t dated in years, and it’s quickly apparent that the sparks between them aren’t just desperation. While Ari accessorizes with weather-themed jewelry and is on a single-handed mission to bring back the brooch and seems very comfortable in her skin and with her own desire, Russ defines himself as fat and is more self-conscious than Ari about getting naked in a refreshing and vulnerable twist. Part of Ari’s evolving to be more authentic is coming to terms with her own mother’s mental illness, that is just now getting addressed, and her mother’s lack of stability as a parent and in her romantic relationships.

The scheming to get Seth and Torrance back together seems to be working, and Ari is finally getting the things she needs to grow at her job, and things are great with Russell… until the bosses figure out what’s going on, and Ari sabotages the whole thing.

I loved Ari’s voice, which is sometimes funny, sometimes anxious, and wholly real. The chapters are titled like weather headlines and are cute, clever, and yet not over-the-top. Ari’s brother, his chef husband and their wise beyond their year five-year-old twins are strong characters, as is Russell’s twelve-year-old musical theatre geek daughter. Jewish practice is woven throughout, and an importance touchstone in the book. The sex is real: not just PiV, no immediate effortless orgasms, and with a hefty dose of consent, anxiety and insecurities. Most satisfying are the adult conversations Ari manages to have–with her brother, with her therapist, with Torrance, with her mother and with Russell. Her bravery to sort out the messy parts of her life is aspirational. This is book I want to own and re-read, and it’s going on my shelf next to Get a Life, Chloe Brown.

I received an advance reader’s review copy of #WeatherGirl from #NetGalley.