From the blurb:
Zachary Blaise is having a weird week—even by his standards. Though he's gay, the radio personality has been dumped via text by a girl named Marian—and he's never even met her. On top of that, he's developed a massive crush on Marcus, the new waiter at his favorite diner. His best friend thinks the whole thing is hilarious.
Marcus’s week hasn’t been his best either. He's been betrayed by those closest to him, and although he isn't the guilty party, Marcus is the one getting harassed.
Impossibly, things are about to get even weirder. Marian has secrets, and those secrets are going to make some serious ripples in Zach's life. When he discovers that the girl called Marian is actually the man named Marcus, Zach stumbles down a rabbit hole of abusive ex-boyfriends, psychotic relatives, and revelations from his own past. If he can survive the chaos, the journey might prove worth the effort.
Starting with the Unexpected was a sweet read with a really interesting premise. I sort of adore books that start with a mix-up (like thinking that the person that you are texting is a girl instead of a guy) and lead to something more. It is a fun way to start a story, but unfortunately for me, the fun just seemed to taper off from there.
This was my first time reading a book from this author, and I think that Andi Van shows real promise. The writing and dialogue flowed well, and it was an easy read for me. However, I had real issues with the plotting and pacing of the story. I really don't like it when there seems to be no set story structure. The tension from the onset of the story (the texting gender mix-up) was resolved easily and early on, and the rest of the story had a sort of meandering pace. It simply took us through Zach and Marcus's relationship as it grew, without any of that tension or anticipation that usually helps to retain readers' interest. I found my mind wandering as the story went on, and I was a bit bored by the bulk of the plot.
And while I enjoyed Zach and Marcus as a couple, I found the extreme melodrama in the later part of the story to be not to my taste. I really dislike soap-opera-esk or melodramatic stories, and this one was a doozy. It could have been pulled right from Soap TV, and it bothered me a lot, so much so that I debated dropping my rating down to 2.5 stars, despite the fact that I enjoyed the bulk of the story. Meh.
Though I'm focusing more on the negatives, there really was a nice story there, especially if you like to see a couple through their relationship without much conflict or tension. I thought that this story was a little too slow and a little too eye-rolling for me, but I can see how this would be a win with other readers.
*Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Catch ya later!