Rumor Has It by Farrah F. Polestico
Publisher: Cosmos Books (November 30th 2015)
Length: 73 pages
Genre: YA; contemporary, romance
Rating: 3/5 🍑
I picked up Rumor Has It mostly for two reasons: 1) it features the fake dating trope! I’m not gonna lie, I adore it and still don’t feel tired of it and 2) it’s written by a Filipino author which is great simply because I haven’t read many books by writers from the Philippines.
Let’s start with the things I liked since I did indeed enjoy this book. First of all, the silly premise. The reasons behind fake dating trope are always bizarre & I think that’s part of its charm. Here it’s not even that convoluted and I can see how a high schooler would come up with it to save someone’s reputation. The plot also hit all the right spots: the rumors, the jealousy, the instant rise to popularity at school. So in this little universe it all made sense.
Another thing are the two main characters. Landon is your perfect boy to have a crush on in high school, the knight in shining armor, Golden Boy. He’s charming, he’s sweet, he’s thoughtful of others; the real deal basically. And while Callie is a little bit oblivious and a little bit naive, she’s still perfectly likable.
But then on the other hand, Landon’s only flaw seems to be that he didn’t outright tell Callie all his motives (done mostly for the sake of the plot ofc). And Callie. Oh. She doesn’t really have a lot of friends and describes herself as an outsider but then fits perfectly well with all the theatre kids. She has one best friend but for most of the book believes (again, for the sake of moving the plot forward) that she was betrayed by her. There are even moments where she talks about how awful it is that others judge her based on rumors and don’t bother to hear her side of the story and yet at the same time doesn’t give her best friend the benefit of the doubt.
There’s also a bunch of other characters, of course, but none of them are really fleshed out. Two girls from the drama club mentioned by name are just really sweet & helpful, two mean girls from Callie’s class are basically just that – mean, and Landon’s apparent girlfriend is bossy and likes to threat people but there’s really nothing much else to her. I think one of the reasons for that is the writing itself. It’s very simple, nothing fancy and it reads fast which is a good thing and I liked that. But then, there are the dialogues. Unlike the descriptions, the spoken parts feel kind of… unnatural? All the teens talk weirdly like adults, use big words and never, ever falter when they speak, don’t make any pauses, don’t loose track of what they wanted to say.
All of that together is also why the romance works only in theory. Why, yes, it’s sweet, there are a lot of precious scenes and the whole thing is technically just right but at the same time it’s hard to connect with the characters. Plus it does have that feeling of insta-love…
See, that’s the main problem with Rumor Has It: it’s dry. The characters don’t exactly feel like real people so they don’t wake real emotions in the reader. The plot is built on good, solid ideas that make sense when you think about them but it’s rushed. One thing happens after another and none of it is properly addressed. I know it’s a short story so there’s not a lot of space to fit everything in but even so, that’s not really an excuse. It’s just an idea after idea; a skeleton without any flesh & blood draped over it. It feels like a first draft – it could have been Great if a little bit more love was put into it.
But even so, this was actually a pretty enjoyable read! Perfect for a busy afternoon, that’s for sure. I know i will try to read something more by Farrah in the future, even if just to see how she improved. And you can get in on amazon for $1.22 (!) so clearly there’s no reason not to give it a try!
Do you often read short stories? And, even more importantly, have you read any others with the fake dating trope? Let me know!! :>>
It’s senior year and it’s now or never. Callie Rivera always wanted to be part of her school’s drama club, and she finally musters the courage to audition for Shakespeare’s classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Only she got the audition dates wrong and landed a role that only existed in her wildest dreams. And her co-actor? None other than Landon Arcival, theater actor extraordinaire, not to mention Callie’s (former) crush— or so she says.
Callie is living the dream, until she wakes up to a nightmare. According to the rumor mill, she is sleeping with different guys in her school. Of course it isn’t true, but who would believe her? And the worst part? It may or may not be her fault the rumors spread in the first place.
What to do? Callie finds herself in the middle of a hot mess. But then Landon proposes the perfect plan that can fix everything, but only if they don’t fall for each other first.