Book Review: Technically, You Started It

technically you started itTechnically, You Started It
by Lana Wood Johnson
Young Adult Romance / LGBT
374 pages
Published June 2019

So the biggest reason for my recent hiatus was that I was having trouble reading. If I can’t read, I can’t review! And every time I tried to read a book, I fell asleep. I just couldn’t pay attention to pages of text. I knew, however, that this book had a demisexual protagonist, and I thought that might be enough to keep my attention. I opened the book, and found that the entire thing was written in text message format with speech bubbles, instead of giant blocks of text. Which was EXACTLY what I needed to hold my interest!

This is a precious book, told entirely via text messages between Haley, a demisexual girl, and Martin, a bisexual boy. Which, hi, that’s my life? Most of the bisexual men I’ve been reading lately have been in M/M relationships, so it’s nice to see a bisexual boy in a relationship with a girl. AND that they address the viewpoint of many people towards bi boys – that they’ll cheat. (That’s a biphobic attitude that is aimed at bi people of all genders, but it seems especially prevalent from women towards bi men.)

I love both of these characters; I love that they bring up that things can be so much easier to say via text than face-to-face. I love the far-reaching, random conversations the two have, and the in-jokes they create.

You’d think a romance would be hard to tell without description – only text is similar to only dialogue. But Johnson manages, and does it superbly.

This was the perfect book to break my reading slump, and I love it so much.

From the cover of Technically, You Started It:

Is This Haley Hancock from Mrs James’s US History class?

Who’s this?

Martin Nathaniel Munroe II

Which one?
You’re both in my US History class.

The good one.

When a guy named Martin Nathaniel Munroe II texts you, it should be obvious who you’re talking to. Except there’s two of them (it’s a long story), and Haley thinks she knows which one is “the good one.”

A question about a class project rapidly evolves into an all-consuming conversation. Haley finds that Martin is actually willing to listen to her weird facts and unusual obsessions, and Martin feels like Haley is the first person to really see who he is. Haley and Martin might be too awkward to hang out in real life, but over text, they’re becoming addicted to each other.

There’s just one problem: Haley doesn’t know who Martin is. And Martin doesn’t know that Haley doesn’t know. But they better figure it out fast before their meet-cute becomes an epic meet-disaster . . . 

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