THE QUANTUM WEIRDNESS OF THE ALMOST-KISS By Amy Noelle Parks
Imprint: Amulet Books
Publication Date: January 5, 2021
*I received an e-arc from Edelweiss free of charge, and my opinions are completely my own.*
Caleb is my friend, and he is forever.
I am her best friend. And I love her. And I almost kissed her fourteen times.
Evie isn’t naturally inclined towards romance. She is too concerned with her mathematics and quantum theory work, as well as managing her ongoing anxiety. However, with the help of her best friend Caleb, and her therapist, Evie thinks maybe now is the time to seize what she wants from life. And what she wants more than anything is to win the prestigious physics competition that she had to drop out of last year...and maybe to kiss the new transfer student, Leo.
Caleb has counted fourteen times where he has almost kissed his best friend, Evie - however, none of those times were right enough to disrupt the friendship between the two. Despite this, Caleb isn’t worried about the possibility of Evie never returning his feelings. It is just a matter of time until she notices him, right? However, as Evie begins to date Leo, Caleb decides it is time to stop waiting from the sidelines and to insert himself into the narrative. Thus, he begins Cyrano-ing his way into Evie’s heart via an online forum. As the two friends work on their Frontier entry project, they learn that just like math, relationships are never without their variables.
The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss is perhaps one of the most refreshing reads I have encountered this year. It is so nice to read a story where the male lead is in love with the female lead first, especially in a friends-to-lover arc. The chapter where Caleb tells us about some of his favorite almost-kisses and how he wished he had acted upon them, not because he wanted some, but because he didn’t know of any other way to express how he felt for Evie? I swooned on the couch upon reading it and immediately corralled at my partner at the other end to give me affection like that. And it isn’t one-sided; Evie, even while in a relationship with another boy, is so obviously always thinking about Caleb, whether it is about how he was reacting to a situation, or how she noticed the little things he did to make her comfortable. During the entire time I spent reading Quantum Weirdness, I felt like that mom from Mean Girls who was photographing the leads during the Christmas talent show, with how much I was rooting for these two kids to get together romantically.
In Quantum Weirdness, Evie deals with ongoing anxiety, which is spurred by her worry-mongering mother. This book does delve pretty heavily into descriptions of anxiety attacks, dark thought spirals, and the like. However, it all felt very realistic and done with the touch of someone who had gone through the same experiences themselves. As someone who has dealt with a strained relationship with her mother in the past, I felt seen by Park’s rendition of Evie’s family dynamic. I will admit, at one particular part of the book (if you have read it, you know what I'm talking about), I got a little teary at Evie’s dialogue - I wish I had had Park writing my dialogue when I was nineteen and struggling to break free of my mother’s grasp. It just felt so right and perfect in that context.
And of course, we cannot forget the math and science. Now as a comms major/theatre kid, I legally cannot do math beyond a simple equation involving x and y (and even then, I am 50% sure to get confused and start crying). However, my partner is currently pursuing his Masters in chemistry and is a huge math nerd. As I read from this book, every once in a while, I’d go up to him and casually mention a concept that I had learned from the last few pages read. Various examples include: “Soooo, do you work with adinkras?”, "Do you think that computer code is written into the building blocks of the universe?", and "What is your favorite quantum weirdness theory - mine is the observer effect.". My partner very much got excited, surprised or suspicious every time I would bring up a new concept that he absolutely knew that I had no way of knowing with my field of work. So, if you want to confuse your scientifically minded friend/partner/family, go for it – it is hilarious. On a side note, the math and physics of the book were actually very easy to understand as opposed to some college courses I had taken, and did nothing to drag the book down.
In case my opinion is not good enough for you to decide to read The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss, firstly, why are you reading this? But all jokes aside, if you like:
To All the Boys I Have Loved, Jenny Han
The Code for Love and Heartbreak, Jillian Cantor
Screen Queens, Lori Goldstein
Then rest assured, you will love The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss.
You can still preorder your copy of The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss by Amy Noelle Parks! The book is being released on January 5th - thanks 2021 for already being better than 2020! You can get your copy at your local bookstore or at these links: Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Indiebound.
Last, but certainly not least, many thanks to the Book Terminal Tour group! I thoroughly enjoy writing reviews for these book tours and look forward to doing it in the future. Be sure to check out the rest of the book tour stops! There are lots of great blogs putting out reviews, creative posts, and awesome photos. Check it out here.
Amy Noelle Parks is an associate professor at Michigan State University. When she’s not using One Direction lyrics as a writing prompt, she’s helping future teachers recover from the trauma of years of school mathematics. She lives in Michigan with her husband and two daughters.
"Fans of YA rom-coms will have a new favorite." — School Library Journal
“A charming friends-to-lovers romance.” - Kirkus Reviews