LGBTQ Book Review: The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth

A book cover shows two teen girls holding hands. Text beside the book cover stages, LGBTQ book review, the falling in love montage by Ciara Smyth.

Welcome to another LGBTQ book review! All reviews touch on genre/plot, tropes (if any), quality of LGBTQ content, and avoid most spoilers. Catch up on my last book review of Dreadnought by April Daniels. You can find all LGBTQ book reviews here.

I read The Falling in Love Montage as part of Jae’s Sapphic Reader Challenge. Read 10 (or more) sapphic books in 2021 to participate! You can read Jae’s full rules and guidelines on her website.

The Montage fits into the following category for the Sapphic Reader Challenge:

  • Grumpy & Sunshine

LGBTQ Book, The Montage: Light spoilers

Genre/Plot

Grumpy teenage lesbian, Saoirse, bitter from her first heartbreak, vows to keep feelings at a safe distance–that is, not feeling at all. Enter Ruby, a queer English girl obsessed with rom-coms. The two have a summer to spend together. Cue, a to-do list of dates, or as they like to say, a “falling in love montage.”

Characters/Relationships

Saoirse is a lesbian and the book makes a point of saying so more than once. Ruby’s sexuality is never labeled, but for the duration of the book, seems to exclude men. The main relationship involves these two, though I won’t say how it ends!

LGBTQ content assessment

This is (thankfully) not a coming-out story. Our protagonist, Saoirse, is out to her parents, friends, peers, etc., and we find her after her first lesbian breakup. The story fills in less about Ruby’s queer identity and background, which isn’t a bad thing. Readers are left to assume that the characters have few major challenges with regards to queer identity.

That being said, the daily life challenges queer people face still has a place in the story. With first-person narration, Saoirse fills readers in on the daily lesbian struggles in a way that humanizes and awakens the largely unknown challenges queer people face without victimizing the queer community or rendering them worthy of guilt-driven pity from our straight allies. I always appreciated the small moments this came up. It centered Saoirse’s identity without tipping balance of the story.

LGBTQ Book, The Montage Rating: Spoilers Ahead

To be honest, about halfway through the book I was very worried I wasn’t going to like it. As a character, Saoirse is annoying. She makes every wrong decision while knowing she’s doing it. Frankly, she’s kind of a brat. I turned every page waiting for her to grow up a little bit. Worry not, there was a payoff and I ended up really enjoying this fun read.

This book’s narration and writing style was extremely entertaining. Though Saoirse had her annoying spurts, this unreliable narrator relayed events with a snarky, humorous twist with every detail. Plus, her growing friendship with the school’s popular rich boy drew me in way more than I expected. I actually cared about the boy–a true test to the book’s work, I may add.

7/10. A really fun breezy read, would recommend.

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