Sarah's perfectly content living her quiet, uneventful life, so she isn't at all prepared when a stranger moves into the house next door and into her everyday existence. When her mother starts inviting him to parties and church, it's even worse, in part because Sarah's so intrigued by him. But the man with the guitar is unlike anyone she's ever met, and as much as she wants things to stay the way they've always been, there's no denying how she feels when she's around him.
But... While the story was pretty much amazing, the Kindle format was a mess. All the chapter titles, along with some seemingly random sentences throughout the book, were arranged vertically, which meant page after page of trying to figure out where one word ended and the next one began. Or just skipping that part and hoping it wasn't anything important.
I deleted my copy and redownloaded from Amazon, but the problem remained, even when I switched to the Kindle for PC app. Oddly enough, it did not have any problems on the Kindle Cloud Reader, so it seems there is some discrepancy in the way the different Kindle apps and devices display things. Perhaps we'll have better luck when/if this title is released through other retailers, and we're not stuck with only the Kindle option.
Judging Covers: I can't seem to word this part without sounding awful, but suffice it to say, I'm not a fan of this cover. It's just… It looks like an early attempt by someone who hasn't quite built up their design skills, and while we've all been there, it sucks that such a great story doesn't have a better cover. I think it's the lighting issue, the shadows not appearing where they should, making it look pasted together despite the clean cuts. I was really surprised to find that it'd been done by a book cover designer, not just some friend with the best of intentions.
The Verdict: I never read this one in its fanfic form, so I had no idea what to expect going in. To be honest, I was a little thrown by the title, but I figured it was worth a shot. And it soooooooooo was.
Sarah's more than just a homebody; she's a trauma or two away from being agoraphobic, and while the story simply presents her as she is, it later becomes clear that there's a reason she's never really branched out. At the far end of her 20s, she's still living at home with her mother, in part because she doesn't necessarily equate independence with moving out on her own, but mostly because someone has to pay the bills. Her mother, though employed, could never be called ambitious, and in fact seems to have a bit of Peter Pan syndrome going on. Actually, now that I think about it, their quiet little street is a bit of a study in psychiatric concerns, but that just made it all that much more interesting.
Spencer is the man who moves in next door, disrupting Sarah's introverted little world. He's too old for her and too young for her mother, at least by some people's estimations, but that doesn't stop him from catching both their attention. Sarah's mostly just curious and cautious, but Spencer won't let her brush him off. His silly ways of getting and keeping her attention are cute as all get out, and when it's obvious she's a bit on the shy and flighty side, he's incredibly open and patient with her. Sarah's juvenile mother, on the other hand, clearly has eyes for Spencer, doing whatever she can to catch his attention without truly crossing any lines. Sarah is generally mortified by her mother's behavior, but Spencer just seems to let it slide.
Their story sounds like your typical romance. The guy moves in, the girl notices, they spend time together, and it turns into something so much sweeter. But it's also a coming of age story, late as Sarah may be to the game, and a study in friendship and relationships in general. The secondary characters, all eccentric neighbors on their street, provide lots of questions and laughs throughout, and as time goes by and things change, Sarah begins to take those first few steps to really growing up. That's not to say she's immature by any means; she's just missed out on some standard life experiences and holed herself up in the bubble that is her street.
There's something about the style of writing that I can't explain but certainly bears mentioning. It's not your run-of-the-mill storytelling, not just a run down of everything that's happening. In Me and Mom Fall for Spencer, the smallest details of everyday life are part of the brilliance, a real and gritty look at simply existing. From Sarah's utilitarian underwear to Spencer's ridiculous songs, I was more and more hooked with every page I turned. I loved Sarah's way of observing the world around her, her fierce individuality and refusal to pretend to be anything different than she truly was inside. And I loved the way Spencer simply gravitated to her and patiently waited for her to come around.
Me and Mom Fall for Spencer is not the simplistic romance the title hints at; it's captivating and different and the kind of story that sticks with you long after you've hit the dreaded End. If you're looking for something more than just another romance, Diane Munier certainly knows how to deliver.