Review: This is Not A Love Scene by S.C. Megale

I really wanted to love This is Not A Love Scene. With Maeve’s character informed by some of the authors own experiences, I had high hopes, but it fell very flat for me.

This is Not A Love Scene CoverLights, camera—all Maeve needs is action. But at eighteen, a rare form of muscular dystrophy usually stands in the way of romance. She’s got her friends, her humor, and a passion for filmmaking to keep her focus off consistent rejection…and the hot older guy starring in her senior film project.

Tall, bearded, and always swaying, Cole Stone is everything Maeve can’t be. And she likes it. Between takes, their chemistry is shockingly electric.

Suddenly Maeve gets a taste of typical teenage dating life, but girls in wheelchairs don’t get the hot guy—right? Cole’s attention challenges everything she once believed about her self-image and hopes for love. But figuring this out, both emotionally and physically, won’t be easy for either of them. Maeve must choose between what she needs and what she wants, while Cole has a tendency to avoid decisions altogether. And her failing lungs might not wait for either. (Goodreads) Goodreads

I received an eARC of This Is Not A Love Scene from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is Not A Love Scene needs trigger warnings for ableism, internalized ableism, internalized misogyny, the hypersexualization of male characters, ace-antagonistic comments and beliefs, hospitalization and hospitalization due to self-harm.

I loved how unapologetic Maeve was about her disease and her needs, both medical and sexual. She was a little scared to get outside of her comfort zone, but that’s totally normal for a teenage girl, even more so for one with muscular dystrophy.  I loved that we got to see her have mixed feelings about doctors appointments and actually have a doctor she loved.

The relationships she had with her friends, however, were disappointing at best. Maeve was so focused on herself, which is understandable, that we never really got to know Mags or Elliot. Her relationship with Mags particularly confused me – with regards to Nate and with regards to Maeve. Who would want to date someone who went out of their way to talk shit about their best friend? Even KC, who was her best friend from childhood, we barely got to know, because we were too busy learning about her old man friends who had very little bearing on the story. Also, Cole was terrible. He was really only into her because she wanted him, based on what I read on the page.

I did like that Maeve got to take agency with the local camp issue. I won’t say more because it’s a huge plotline in the story, but I was pleased with the way that was dealt with.

So, the next topic I want to touch on is a complicated one. The asexual comments littered throughout the book were painful for me to read. However, I also recognize that a lot of disabled people who use wheelchairs and other assistive devices are seen as nonsexual beings because of their assistive devices. However, there was one line that made me physically flinch when I read it.

“Tonight was different. Tonight, I felt normal. Healthy. Not asexual. Tonight, I felt like a person.”

I get where the author was going with this, but it also concerns me that the author believes people like me aren’t healthy, that we aren’t people. I think this should have been caught in edits and changed because I am not the only one who felt this way. It was incredibly disappointing.

Overall, this book was not for me, and I won’t be recommending it, either.

ABOUT THIS IS NOT A LOVE SCENE

Title: This is Not A Love Scene

Author: S.C. Megale

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Length: 320 Pages

Release Date: May 7, 2019

Rating: Do Not Recommend

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction

Representation: disabled wheelchair using author, main character with muscular dystrophy,

 

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