Author: Rebecca K Reilly
Published by: Avid Reader Press on Feb. 6, 2024
Genres: General Fiction, LGBTQIA
Format: ARC, Paperback
Source: Simon & Schuster
Book Rating: 9/10
For fans of Schitt’s Creek and Sally Rooney’s Normal People, an irresistible and bighearted international bestseller that follows a brother and sister as they navigate queerness, multiracial identity, and the dramas big and small of their entangled, unconventional family, all while flailing their way to love.
It’s been a year since his ex-boyfriend dumped him and moved from Auckland to Buenos Aires, and Valdin is doing fine. He has a good flat with his sister Greta, a good career where his colleagues only occasionally remind him that he is the sole Maaori person in the office, and a good friend who he only sleeps with when he’s sad. But when work sends him to Argentina and he’s thrown back in his former lover’s orbit, Valdin is forced to confront the feelings he’s been trying to ignore—and the future he wants.
Greta is not letting her painfully unrequited crush (or her possibly pointless master’s thesis, or her pathetic academic salary…) get her down. She would love to focus on the charming fellow grad student she meets at a party and her friendships with a circle of similarly floundering twenty-somethings, but her chaotic family life won’t stop her mother is keeping secrets, her nephew is having a gay crisis, and her brother has suddenly flown to South America without a word.
Sharp, hilarious, and with an undeniable emotional momentum that builds to an exuberant conclusion, Greta & Valdin careens us through the siblings’ misadventures and the messy dramas of their sprawling, eccentric Maaori-Russian-Catalonian family. An acclaimed bestseller in New Zealand, Greta & Valdin is fresh, joyful, and alive with the possibility of love in its many mystifying forms.
Fresh, deft, and exceptionally memorable!
Greta & Valdin is a tender, hopeful, intimate multi-generational story that delves into all the emotional bonds and intricate ties that exist between family members, especially two siblings, Greta and Valdin and immerses you in a tale about accepting the things you cannot change, following your heart, learning to heal, and embracing whatever comes next.
The prose is evocative and controlled. The characters are young, self-aware, and relatable. And the tightly crafted, witty plot, told from alternating perspectives, unfolds seamlessly, unravelling all the motivations, behaviours, personalities, desires, needs, insecurities, heartbreak, and complex relationships within it.
Overall, Greta & Valdin is a nuanced, atmospheric, uplifting debut by Reilly that does a remarkable job of highlighting all the universal struggles of navigating the world as an adult, acquiring self-confidence, forging friendships, experiencing love, and feeling entitled to be loved.
This novel is available February 6, 2024.
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Thank you to Simon & Schuster for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.