This was a super sweet story, and very… unobtrusive in many ways. Objectively speaking, it was a perfectly fine read. But I’m sorry to say that it doesn’t deserve the outrageously high ratings it has gotten. (4.4 on Goodreads, 4.9 on Bookbub and 4.7 on Amazon!?)
Lucy Lennox is a talented author. It’s high quality writing through-and-through. But I just couldn’t bring myself to like either of the main characters in this book. So my very subjective opinion about Say You’ll Be Nine might offend some Lennox fans. To me, this is a 3-star read. Simply because it’s very solid writing, story structure and generally the work of a professional. But the characters and their behaviour were just… not to my liking.
The story goes something like this:
Farmboy Isaac, a.k.a. Nine, goes out of his way to be helpful. Always. Almost to the point where people take advantage of his kindness and inability to say no. Then there’s Cooper, apparently the only gay guy Nine has ever met. Cooper’s brother needs a bone marrow transplant, but (insert rant about how the US is the only developed country in the world without universal healthcare) they don’t have the money for it. Long-shot opportunity arises and Nine is persuaded to pretend to be gay – and Cooper’s boyfriend – and doing a renovation project / youtube-channel /instagram thingy sponsored by a power tool company who wants to reach an LGBTQ audience. All in exchange for the money for that life saving surgery. So, long shot.
I’ve noticed some readers take offense to the whole impersonating-a-gay-guy. I probably would too, if I hadn’t been a straight woman, but I really thought Lennox went above and beyond with how she justified the ruse. If doing it to raise money to save someone’s life isn’t a good enough of an excuse then I don’t know what is.
Anyway. As it turns out – not so surprising – Nine isn’t really straight at all. And while renovating an old cabin in the woods, all isolated and stuff, Nine and Cooper gets cozy. It’s cute. It’s sweet. And it’s annoying as all hell. Mostly because of two things:
First, Nine lets everyone walk all over him. He’s too nice. And he never grows a backbone. There’s no scene in the end where he stands up to his family. And he never calls Cooper out on acting like a moron.
So the second thing is Cooper acting like a moron. I can’t stand when MCs act stupid and Cooper was the very opposite of smart.
“I love Isaac, I really do. Oh no look, something shiny, I’ll run away from Nine a bit. Oh hey, I’m back again kiss kiss kiss but let’s break up. Hey why are you all grumpy and mad? Oh well, I’ll run off again. Even though I love him so so so much. But I can’t have him for real because I’m apparently stupid so I’ll just be unhappy forever. Well wait, here he is, he’s come to support me, OMG happy happy sex sex, but oh now I’ll run again…”
So that’s my take on this book. On the plus side (for some) there’s not much angst so that’s something I guess…