Title: Conventionally Yours
Author: Annabeth Albert
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨
Genre/s and Tags: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Comedy, LGBTQ, M/M romance, Queer rep
Content Warnings: Homophobia (character kicked out by parents), explicit scenes with descriptions of consensual sex/sexual acts
Publication date: June 2, 2020
When two “big name fans” go head-to-head at a convention, love isn’t the only thing at stake.
Charming, charismatic, and effortlessly popular, Conrad Stewart seems to have it all…but in reality, he’s scrambling to keep his life from tumbling out of control.
Brilliant, guarded, and endlessly driven, Alden Roth may as well be the poster boy for perfection…but even he can’t help but feel a little broken inside.
When these mortal enemies are stuck together on a cross-country road trip to the biggest fan convention of their lives, their infamous rivalry takes a backseat as an unexpected connection is forged. Yet each has a reason why they have to win the upcoming Odyssey gaming tournament and neither is willing to let emotion get in the way―even if it means giving up their one chance at something truly magical.
I received an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much Sourcebooks Casablanca!
Months ago, I saw this book in an Entertainment Weekly article and I craved for it immediately, because, hello, queer romance plus rivals-to-lovers trope?! Yes please! Now, after reading it, I know this book captured my heart indeed.
Conventionally Yours is a fun, wholesome, nerdy, and romantic novel that will take you on a road trip and a convention you’ll never forget.
(And thank you publisher for granting my NetGalley wish!)
My thoughts on Conventionally Yours
You know what I think? I think Conventionally Yours would make a great queer rom-com movie. I just feel it in my bones! It’s a story that will make you laugh and will make you cry. It’s a story that will make you root for the characters, make you feel for their wants and their sorrows. It’s a story filled with tension, self-realizations, and humorous moments. It’s a story you won’t easily forget.
The writing style is great. I loved how the author really managed to capture both Conrad and Alden’s perspectives and highlight their innermost desires, their motivations, their insecurities, their melancholy.
The main characters are relatable, even in the little ways, and I love it. I related to Alden and his doubts about his future and career, the pressure he felt about his next steps. And I related to Conrad with his perfectionist and anxiety-ridden preparations to switch lanes and look for the exits when driving (oddly specific, but I swear we vibed and I felt seen because I thought I was the only one??? anyway). I loved their character arcs! It was amazing to see these two characters try to survive two weeks of road-tripping. In those two weeks, I saw them tolerate each other, be civil with one another, get to know each other, fall in love, build tension, resist temptation, give in to said temptation, face a new kind of conflict, try to resolve said conflict, and go through some self-realizations. I loved this kind of journey, and the rivals-to-lovers trope really showed near the end of the book.
Odyssey, both the game and the convention, is particularly interesting as well. I loved reading about this tabletop game—all the characters, and moves, and cards—and I loved knowing how this one simple game could mean so much to Conrad and Alden. For me, this shows the beauty of a fandom, of being a fangirl or a fanboy, of being passionate about something, of finding meaning or a sense of belonging. It was amazing!
And of course, I also loved the queer representation in this book. There are so many queer characters! Sapphic moms, gay characters, professor husbands, a nonbinary character, and probably more. And some are presented so casually, it was almost too wonderful to see. With that said, it’s not all rainbows. A character is kicked out by his family and we see him struggle and overcome that conflict.
I think the only things I didn’t exactly like are the fact that [redacted] and [redacted] made fun of [redacted] for being a virgin in one scene (that was a little cringe-worthy), and that the minor characters are somehow overshadowed. But apart from that, this book is just too good and there were definitely tears in my eyes when I finished reading.
Quotes from the book
His shy smile widened into a genuine grin, a rare joke from him, and it was sort of like seeing a rainbow after a hard thunderstorm, the way the smile transformed his usually stoic expression.
Kissing him again felt almost inevitable, something that both elated and terrified me…
“You being gay is not a problem to fix, medically or otherwise.”
*Note that these quotes were taken from an advance reader’s copy and may differ from the final copy.
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Giving this wonderful book 4.5 stars!
How about you nerds? Is Conventionally Yours already in your TBRs? Tell me in the comments!