Thank you so much to the Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me to participate in this blog tour! Tiana Smith is a local author, so I was stoked to have the chance to be on her blog tour!
Title: How to Speak Boy
Author: Tiana Smith
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Genres: YA Contemporary Romance
I received an ARC from the publisher via Xpresso Book Tours and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Quinn and Grayson have been fierce speech and debate rivals for years. They can’t stand one another, either in competition or in real life.
But when their AP Government teacher returns their school assignments to the wrong cubbies, they begin exchanging anonymous notes without knowing who the other is.
Despite their differences, the two come together through their letters and find themselves unknowingly falling for the competition. Before the state tournament, the two of them need to figure out what they want out of life, or risk their own future happiness. After all, what’s the point of speech and debate if you can’t say what’s in your heart?
- Quinn has a much thicker skin than I do—if I’d gotten as much sass as she does from Grayson, I probably would have burst into tears at some point. I love how she doesn’t back down from a challenge.
- It’s so unique that the main character’s main hobby is Speech and Debate! I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that focused so much on that extracurricular activity.
- The letters are adorable. They straight up had me squealing at times.
- There are some pretty embarrassing moments for Quinn in this book, and GOSH I blushed right along with her! The situations are just so awkward, in a really good way. This book made me feel many things, from every blush to every tear.
- It’s kind of random, but I think it’s really cool that this book is set in Boise, Idaho. I love Idaho! It doesn’t get enough love!
- This book is fast-paced! Sometimes the scenes have days or weeks in-between, but I felt this worked really well for the story. It kept the excitement up, and it allows the characters more time for growth.
One of my favorite parts about Tiana’s writing is her ability to create dynamic, well-rounded teenagers, in all their messy, fun, silly, lovable glory. Through Quinn, she shows the anxieties, worries, embarrassments of being a teen, but also shows how fun it was at that age. Quinn has a ton going on—speech and debate, failing her AP gov class, working on her mom’s website and social media accounts, and of course figuring out her love life. Despite the romance taking center stage, I never felt like Quinn’s other worries were downplayed or ignored.
I was really impressed with the romance arc in this book. Quinn and Grayson start out as high-school-long nemeses, and they act like it. There’s a lot of sass and back talk that at times made me ask, “How are they possibly going to fall in love?” I actually did not like Grayson in the beginning—he’s so mean! Good thing for Quinn’s lightning tongue and tough skin because she was able to handle it and dish it right back. When the You’ve-Got-Mail-esque letters came into play, however, my feelings toward Grayson softened. And then he got better and better. And better. Swoon. The way the two learn to trust each other (especially Quinn trusting Grayson) felt very organic and realistic, considering the circumstances at the beginning of the book.
There are different types of friendships in this book, and I appreciated how they affected and shaped Quinn as a main character. I’m worried that if I delve too deep into this topic I’ll be going into spoiler territory, but let’s just say that the friendship dynamics get very interesting, and the themes that come from it aren’t ones I commonly find in YA.
I really loved this book! It has such a fun premise that really delivers. The romance is adorable, especially because of all the things Quinn and Grayson have to work through. I would recommend this to anyone who loves classic rom-coms that give you all the feels!
About the Author
Tiana Smith is a copywriter turned novelist who grew up in the Rocky Mountains. When she isn’t writing, she’s chasing after her ninja boy, reading, or binging the Disney Channel. She’d love to be fluent in sign language, but for now she gets by with awkward hand gestures and even more awkward French. She has double degrees in Honors and English from Westminster College but wants to go back to school to be a lion tamer.