Well, this was something.
I had heard a lot of great things about Anita Kelly and this series but after reading this novella I don’t think I’d attempt the rest of her work. While there’s nothing intrinsically bad about this novella, there was honestly nothing I liked much either.
The saving grace of this novella is the main characters, Sam and Lily. Whereas Sam grated on me at parts, I fully understood why the character was so self-conscious and nervous about how they presented themselves. It felt incredibly realistic and even though I can’t say Sam is my kinda person, I enjoyed reading their point of view. Lily on the other hand was fantastic. I genuinely wish there was a whole series about Lily! She’s smart, interesting, comfortable in her own skin but still admittedly self-conscious about her size on occasion. I found her vocation and hobbies to be fun to read about and I loved her interest in the fashion industry and how much of a struggle it is for plus-sized people to find things to wear that suit their bodies best. The conversation between Sam and Lily regarding Sam’s fashion sense and their inability to feel comfortable presenting in a more ‘feminine’ dress sense was well explained and relatable. The characters, even Lily’s friends who are only in it for a few pages, feel quirky and offbeat but not in an over-the-top and unbelievable way. I often feel when people try to write an eccentric group of friends, they make them so quirky it’s eye-roll inducing, but Kelly does a nice job in giving them all personalities but not going too far with it.
My biggest struggle with this novella was the writing style. Maybe it’s just a me thing, which I totally accept, but the writing is so chock full of short half-sentences it drove me insane. Half the sentences in the first few pages of the book have no subjects and I couldn’t get into the flow of the novella for ages because of the staccato sentence structure. The dialogue was fine, but the general plot set up and descriptions were written in such a strange way I couldn’t put my finger on it for ages and it was making me bonkers. It didn’t make me want to try anything else by the author, that’s for sure, so I think I’ll skip the other titles no matter how praised they are. While the characters were great, I felt like this was still a bit of a slog to get through despite it being a novella. The romance never really hit for me as they had so many little quirks that made me think they were that compatible, more like a short-term fling.
Two and a half stars rounded up to three because Lily ruled too much for me to deny.
Title: Sing Anyway
Author: Anita Kelly
Three Descriptors: Character-driven, quick read, diverse