Reggie and Delilah’s Year of Falling by Elise Bryant is a stunning contemporary YA romance. It has honestly been awhile since I read a YA romance, they can often be hit or miss for me, but this book was definitely a new favorite that I loved with all my heart.
Delilah has what a lot of creative artists, writers and musicians have- imposter syndrome. Delilah also tends to go with the flow, acting as if she lets things roll off her shoulders, that things don’t bother her, even if they do. When her friends ask her to join their band Fun Gi, Delilah says yes even though the thought of getting on stage terrifies her. She tries to sing by herself but feels like she’s not singing for real. Until their very first show at The Muse.
Reggie loves D&D. It’s not just something fun he does with his friends, it’s something he loves and lives for. He spends his entire week planning campaigns for his Saturday D&D night with his friends, but he also publishes anonymous essays online that point out important aspects of D&D that are not great- like their lack of diversity for one. While he has a lot of followers on his essays, he also has a lot of negative comments so he keeps his true identity a secret because he’s too afraid to put himself fully out there. And it doesn’t help that his older brother Eric and his parents don’t really seem to understand what he loves about D&D.
On New Year’s Eve, Reggie’s friend Leela ends their D&D night early so she can go to The Muse and watch her girlfriend’s band Ryan Love and the Valentines play. The rest of his group- Yobani and Greg want to tagalong, and Reggie reluctantly agrees.
When he arrives, he’s irritated and not where he wants to be. But then he catches the opening act, Fun Gi and sees Delilah perform for the first time. It feels a lot like love at first sight.
When the show is over, Delilah runs off stage and is immediately hit with a migraine. She wanders to the van while the band chats backstage to get her medicine and then sits on a curb, head between her legs, waiting to feel better. Reggie follows her to make sure she’s okay and keeps an eye on her until she feels better. Delilah and Reggie feel a spark ignite between them, and just as Reggie is working up the courage to ask for her number, the rest of the band walks out and the other lead, Charlie, kisses Delilah on the cheek. Reggie, thinking she has a boyfriend, quickly makes his excuses and leaves. But the thought of Delilah will continue to come back to him until they meet again.
Delilah and Reggie keep running to each other on holidays, and after a few more accidental meet ups, they start to try to meet on purpose, even on holidays. National Éclair Day counts, right?
But Delilah and Reggie both feel like they’re someone else when they are together. Reggie acts the way he wishes he felt- cool and confident. Delilah acts like she doesn’t care, but she does. Add in a lot of miscommunication and misunderstanding, and their relationship is a slow burn.
I loved this book. It was so cute, but it definitely dealt with some heavy topics at times. It was hard to watch Delilah and Reggie struggle with their identity in a world that doesn’t immediately accept them for who they are. But Delilah and Reggie grow, and realize that you can only care so much what other people think of you. At the end of the day, you have to love and be proud of yourself.
This book has made me wholeheartedly fall in love with Elise Bryant’s writing. I am so excited to try her two other YA novels I bought at the same time as this one: Happily Ever Afters and One True Loves. I highly recommend this book, it’s such a gem you don’t want to miss.
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