Title: Long Story Short
Author: Serena Kaylor
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication date: July 26th, 2022
Growing up homeschooled in Berkeley, California, Beatrice Quinn is a statistical genius who has dreamed her whole life of discovering new mathematical challenges at a school like Oxford University. She always thought the hardest part would be getting in, not convincing her parents to let her go. But while math has always made sense to Beatrice, making friends is a problem she hasn’t been able to solve, so her parents are worried about sending her halfway across the world. The compromise: the Connecticut Shakespearean Summer Academy and a detailed list of teenage milestones to check off. She has six weeks to show her parents she can pull off the role of “normal” teenager and won’t spend the rest of her life hiding in a library.
Unfortunately, hearts and hormones don’t follow any rules, and there is no equation for teenage interactions. When she’s adopted by a group of eclectic theater kids, and immediately makes an enemy of the popular—and, annoyingly gorgeous—British son of the camp founders, she realizes that relationships are trickier than calculus. With her future on the line, this girl genius stumbles through illicit parties, double dog dares, and more than your fair share of Shakespeare. But before the final curtain falls, will Beatrice realize that there’s more to life than she can find in the pages of a book?
In this sparkling debut from Serena Kaylor, Long Story Short is a YA rom-com about a homeschooled math genius who finds herself out of her element at a theater summer camp and learns that life—and love—can’t be lived by the (text)book.
I want to exist in this book forever. Seriously, I’m in love with Nik and Bea and their theater camp romance and banter and misunderstandings and flirting. I want to be best friends with Mia and Nolan and have them in my corner and teach me how to be a teenager. I want to go to a Shakespeare camp even though I’m not a theater kid or interested in Shakespeare. THAT’S how good this book is, because Serena Kaylor makes you want all of this through an immersive experience.
Bea is a genius, with no social skills – it isn’t confirmed in the book if she has a diagnosis but I would compare it to some presentations of autism. She desperately wants to go to Oxford for college but her parents won’t let her unless she proves she can improve on her social skills and “learn to be a teenager”. Nik initially is a jerk to her, let’s be honest – but quickly makes up for it with well chosen Shakespeare quotes and banter. All of the characters were phenomenal and well written.
I never wanted this to end. I appreciate the growth Bea made, especially with her parents, but I also feel her parent’s needed to budge a bit more to compromise. Yes, Bea’s actions were often selfish and not considering her parent’s wishes, but her mom also continuously tried to force her to be someone she wasn’t and that didn’t so much change by the end. I would’ve liked to see more concessions from her parents.
Anyway, a full 5 stars to this fantastic YA contemporary with an enemies-to-lovers trope.
Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.
Happy reading, folks!