I’ve seen this novella floating around here and there, and finally decided to take my shot while needing something quick to cheer me up. And I’m eternally grateful for stumbling upon this little gem at exactly the right time.
The Melody of You and Me tells the story of Christine “Chris” Morrison falling in love with her sweet and energetic bookstore coworker, Josalie “Josie” T. Navarro. It’s a wonderful tale that includes discussions of:
- the “But what do you want to do with your life” dilemma.
- the aftermaths of emotional abuse in relationships.
- the whiteness of ballet (Josie’s passion).
- and a wonderfully budding romance where the two girls hang out and introduce each other to their passions, whether that be gay movies or literature, pizza, fictional crushes, music… this novella has it all.
“She wishes they could stay like this forever.
Just the two of them; telling stories and sharing secrets without a care in the world.”
It also features a wonderfully diverse cast of characters, including black and brown characters, LGBTQIA+ rep, etc. And I can’t stop praising the author for making the ensemble devoid of cis men –with the exception of one minor appearance– there are virtually no white or straight people, which, thank you. To quote Radio Silence, “I think everyone’s a bit bored with boy-girl romances anyway,” he said. “I think the world’s had enough of those, to be honest.”
And not only where the two main characters fully developed, we get to see the side characters have a nice story arc throughout. I especially loved their coworker with the pink hair, Lily Ferrari. She’s funny as hell and also the mom friend of the group, similar to yours truly.
“Sometimes, Chris forgets that Lily is only nineteen; she often acts like an old lady.”
So you can picture my excitement when I found out that the sequel to this novella is told from Lily’s point of view. My day was pretty much made 100% better. And while I’m on a roll about the positives, this next piece of dialogue of Josie coming out to her sister remains so damn valuable.
“You knew?” Josie sounds incredulous.
“Oh my God. Yeah, of course I knew. You are twenty years old and you have never had a boyfriend,” Jessie exclaims.
Cringing inside, Chris feels the need to interrupt and correct her, but Josie is faster than her.
“That has nothing to do with my sexuality,” she starts. “Some people never date boys or people from other genders but are still attracted to them. There are lesbians who date boys before understanding the roles that heteronormativity tries to force them into.”
My love for this novella grew by a mile after this!!!
I also really appreciated when Chris talked about her studies and why she felt compelled to drop them.
“This conversation takes her back to when she had decided to drop out of school. She spent days crying, thinking that she was about to make the worst possible decision. But then right after she left, it was like a huge weight was lifted off of her shoulders. She had never felt more relieved in her life than when she realized she would never need to go back to college.”
She literally described word by word how I felt in a similar situation. I’m still sending so much love and understanding her way.
Plus, I admired it even more when Josie’s passion could be felt off the page. She’s such an inspiring, uplifting and encouraging character (and partner).
“Ballet is actually my main passion and what drives me in life,” she explains. “The ballet world is still a privileged white one; it is fully of petty behavior. So what I want to do is to open my own school one day. That way I could teach young girls in a different way, a more inclusive way per se.”
“That’s a nice dream to have,” Chris replies.
“When you grow up hearing that you are not tall enough, not skinny enough, not white enough, you always wonder about how the world would be if you didn’t need to conform to all these ridiculous standards. At some point in their lives, everyone has thought like that.”
If you’re looking for a swift but important read, please consider picking up this novella!