Title: This Is Not a Love Scene
Author: S.C. Megale
Summary: Lights, camera—all Maeve needs is action. At eighteen, a rare form of muscular dystrophy stands in the way of romance, but she’s got her friends, her humor, and a passion for film-making to keep her occupied… until a hot older guy literally walks into her life. Tall and bearded, Cole is everything Maeve can’t be, and between takes, their chemistry is shockingly electric. But girls in wheelchairs don’t get the hot guy—right? Cole’s attention challenges everything Maeve once believed about her self-image and hopes for love. But figuring this out, both emotionally and physically, won’t be easy for either of them. Maeve must choose between what she needs and what she wants. And her failing lungs might not wait for either.
Note: an eARC of this title was acquired via NetGalley.
What to say about This Is Not a Love Scene that isn’t completely negative? I mean, yes, this book is #OwnVoices and, yes, it contains physical disability rep… but not much else. Even though the main character Maeve has moments of self-confidence where she stands up for herself and her worth, she’s still kind of an asshole, the book was super problematic, and I was happy to leave them both behind. (Like, the biggest thing I took away from the story is that I shouldn’t have even finished it.)
First of all, Maeve is self-absorbed. We know hardly anything about her friends (like their interests, their home lives, or even their last names), she eye-rolls anything her parents suggest that will legitimately keep her alive, and S.C. Megale introduces a far-fetched sub-plot because Maeve can’t believe that anyone would actually want to help children with disabilities (that basically resolves with an “oops my bad” from Maeve). She also whines for half the book that no one could even like her like that but is completely oblivious to the feelings a friend has for her. I neither understand how she has one friend—let alone three—nor do I get why they continue to be friends with her.
Second, Maeve’s mean. She refers to a character in the book as “Mags’ asshole boyfriend” and then is surprised when her friend gets upset. She gets angry when other characters make light of or otherwise acknowledge how her disability makes her different… but then is also upset when those same people fail to relate to or understand how she encounters the world. (Like, they’re just supposed to know? Tell them!!!) She hates when her physical appearance is used as a qualifier but feels just fine describing side characters by theirs. 🙄
And third, the romance is just all kinds of no thank you. We’re supposed to feel as hot and bothered for Maeve’s love interest, Cole, as much as she does, but he’s not even that great of a guy. He doesn’t really acknowledge Maeve outside of the late-night texts they share, he sends her dick pics and then ghosts for about a week, and he strings her along and then is like “I can’t do this” after weeks of maybe-kind-of-but-not-really seeing one another… and Maeve continues to lust after him. Cole is obviously using Maeve’s desire to his advantage, but I also didn’t really like Maeve all that much either so… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I just… I wanted to like this book so much, and instead I got a mish-mash of nope with ew why and please don’t. (I want y’all to know that there is even more problematic bullshit I didn’t mention.)
PS. what is with the goddamn emoticons?! Does anyone still even use :) or :P in texts anymore??