Seventeen-year-old Evie Beckham has always been too occupied with her love of math and frequent battles with anxiety to want to date. Besides, she’s always found the idea of kissing to be kind of weird. But by senior year, thanks to therapy and her friends, she’s feeling braver than before. Maybe even brave enough to enter the national math and physics competition or flirt back with the new boy. Meanwhile, Evie’s best friend, Caleb Covic, has always been a little in love with her. So he’s horrified when he is forced to witness Evie’s meet-cute with the new guy. Desperate, Caleb uses an online forum to capture Evie’s interest—and it goes a little too well. Now Evie wonders how she went from avoiding romance to having to choose between two—or is it three?—boys.
I was glad that The Quantum Weirdness of the First Kiss was the first book I’ve read and finished in 2021. It is such a warm and sweet Young Adult Contemporary stories about two friends and the discovery of each others feelings. Evie and Caleb have been friends since they were children and they are inseparable. Caleb, in love with Evie has recounted all the almost kisses that occurred between him and Evie. The one time a kiss resulted, Evie was not ready to dive into those feelings and that moment was put in the back in her mind. From that moment, we are brought into the life of Evie, Caleb as they navigate school, feelings and the anticipation of finally doing something worthy for the Frontier conference.
Different from many of the books I’ve read before, Caleb is actually the first to proclaim his feelings for Evie. He is in love with her and wants to be with her but also wants to be with only if she also wants that kind of relationships. We learn early on that Evie’s hesitation is mainly due to her anxiety towards losing her friendship with Caleb. As she mentions, she doesn’t know herself without Caleb. Her eye has also caught the attention of new kid Leo who is equal parts handsome and insanely intelligent. While I enjoyed her growing relationship with Leo because it became vital in her discovering her reciprocated feelings towards Caleb, I still wanted to see more of their relationship. We get snippets here and there because the story is more focus on Caleb and Evie, but would have benefitted a bit of understanding the relationship she had with Leo. However, the growing relationship between Evie and Caleb, felt organic, unrushed and satisfactory. It wasn’t love at first sight, it was a love that took years to develop and blossomed.
Speaking of Caleb, I thought his pining over Evie was sweet. He had bouts of jealousy when seeing Evie with Leo, as many teens boys may experience, but it didn’t feel aggressive or worrying which I enjoyed. I also love how Evie described Caleb as her center, her home. She values him so much and I think that really made their friendship as strong and long lasting as it was.
When thinking about the supporting character, I was particularly fond of Bex’s personality. She is the definition of a great girl friend who will call out what needs to be called out and will be the most loyal friend you know. Bex reminded me often of my best friend from high school whom I am still very best friends with almost 15 years later.
As a whole, the story is similar to a light spring day, calm, slowly building and ending with a pretty wrapped up ending. Aside from the characters, I enjoyed how the characters were very STEM focused because we do not have many stories like this. I enjoyed the intellectual conversations the characters had surrounding their majors and passions. You could tell, especially with Evie, how passionate she was when talking about adinkras, equations, graphs and anything math/computer related. This story gave strong relationships/friendships, exploration of feelings, coping with anxieties, and discovering oneself beyond what they originally believed they were.
About the Author
Amy Noelle Parks is an associate professor at Michigan State University. When she’s not using One Direction lyrics as a writing prompt, she’s helping future teachers recover from the trauma of years of school mathematics. She lives in Michigan with her husband and two daughters.