Today I’ve got a review of Marisa Kanter’s newest book As If On Cue which comes out on September 21. This is Marisa’s second book, her first debut book What I Like About You came out last year in April. I’ve previously read What I Like About You and absolutely loved it so I was incredibly excited to read this book. Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the ARC. Now onto the review!
As If On Cue is a young adult contemporary romance that has an enemies to lovers trope between Natalie and Reid. Natalie and Reid have been rivals since forever, who are in an all-out prank war that goes a bit too far and ends up with them having to work together on a musical to prove to their school board they should reconsider the arts budget for the following year. Co-directing the musical is a new challenge for the Natalie and Reid given they’ve only ever known how to be rivals. Not to mention, the advisor for this musical is none other than Natalie’s dad. Natalie’s dad’s also the music teacher at the high school and he is known at the school for completely transforming the high school band and making it a complete force to be reckoned with. This also means he tends to have a one track mind with music.
I did feel bad for Natalie as you could tell her father was always a bit too focused on music and often forgot to think outside of it. This certainly left Natalie often feeling neglected and pushed aside for Reid even if Reid wasn’t her dad’s real kid. There was a lack of communication between the two, but even if Natalie tried to communicate her dad would often bring the conversation back around to Reid or music which made Natalie quite upset. There were a few times I just wanted to jump into the book and give Natalie a hug, she really did want to try to have a good relationship with her dad without involving music.
I have to admit, despite Natalie being the main character, my favourite character was Reid. You could tell that Reid truly cares about music and is determined to make it his career. He was always trying to prove to his parents how talented he was and show them that’s what he should be going to school for after high school. Unlike Natalie, Reid isn’t afraid of maybes and what-ifs and is always willing to take the risk of a career in the arts. I also absolutely loved seeing how much Reid believed in Natalie even when she didn’t believe in herself. His heart wasn’t as into the act of pranking as it was spending time with and having the attention of Natalie. I found that Natalie often took things a bit too far without thinking thought any consequences first which leads to many problems throughout the book. Whether it was to get attention or because she was insecure pushing the limit was definitely not the best option most of the time yet Natalie went there anyways.
Watching the relationship change between Natalie and Reid from a full-on rivalry, to mixed feeling, to more was so sweet. It was obvious it took a little longer for Natalie to figure out her feelings than Reid but I loved seeing the fairly sudden realization of feelings. And then navigating new waters and figuring out how to be somethings that’s not rivals. It was obvious there was a bit of awkwardness at first and I kind of loved seeing that. The two didn’t automatically go from rivals to a relationship without any hesitation or questioning. I also liked the friendly teasing from family and a couple friends about the two liking each other while they were still rivals. It was all lighthearted and you could tell everyone took it in good humour. Natalie’s Cousin Molly was honestly such a cheerleader for Natalie and Reid’s relationship and I honestly loved it.
I really liked seeing how much both Natalie and Reid looked out for their younger sisters. It was obvious just how much they cared about their sister and were always concerned when they notices things going sideways whether it was with the two’s friendship or outside issues. I also admired at how Natalie and Reid made an effort to show their siblings the importance of their religion and not to just accept it being made fun of. I thought Marisa did and absolutely excellent job at the Jewish representation in the book. Even going a bit into facing anti-semitism in middle and high school which I thought was a valuable thing to include as it’s not something that often talked about in ya books with jewish representation. I commend Marisa for not overlooking the racism and insensitivities that many ethnicities face.
This was such a sweet and easy read that I really enjoyed. I will certainly be rereading it and can’t wait to get a final copy on release day (September 21) which I’ve already preordered from Indigo. I hope you all liked the review and that you pick up and read As If On Cue when it comes out!