Some Kind Of River by Andi Marquette is a sweet novella that takes a friendship built on mutual love of nature and segues into a romance between two women that is as strong as the river they love to navigate.
Mel and Dez have been best friends, river buddies, and co-workers for five years. But this year things are different. After an innocent cuddling session in a tent with Mel the previous summer, Dez has developed feelings for her buddy that go beyond just the friendly flirtation and banter. She does her best to hide her new interest, but Mel keeps dropping little hints that maybe she has the same designs for Dez to go beyond their current friendship status. Dez is notoriously bad at reading women, so she can’t tell if Mel’s intentions are real or just wishful thinking.
It’s going to take more than a map and a compass to navigate this stretch. In the end, if Mel and Dez can make it out on the other side, they’ll find a love just as valuable as the one they have for the outdoors.
Marquette did an outstanding job in creating these characters. She makes them different enough, yet likeable and relatable in their personalities.
Dez is the more reserved of the two. While she is outgoing, fun, and flirty, she’s also aware of the natural world around her and knows to respect it because danger lurks around every bend. Her only real flaw is when it comes to matters of the heart, she is clueless. She doesn’t read women the way she can the river. So when she interacts with guests and fellow crew alike who are blatantly interested in her, she doesn’t recognize it. It’s funny to read and watch people openly flirt with Dez and have her completely oblivious. But when it comes to Mel, you start wishing for Dez to have that moment of clarity to see what’s right in front of her.
Mel is more adventurous. She takes more chances and is spontaneous at times, as is evident in a game of truth or dare. Her personality is a great counter balance to Dez’s more reserved personae. While she drops clues for Dez to pick up on, she seriously underestimates Dez’s plight at not reading romantic gestures. It’s evident from the beginning that if anything is going to happen between her and Dez, she is going to have to be the one to make the first move, and a big one that won’t be misconstrued in any way. Luckily, she has the spontaneity and courage to go after what she wants in the most genius way.
The Writing Style
This is told entirely from the perspective of Dez, and I believe that was a smart choice by Marquette because you really get a good perspective on how much she loves the river, how much she cares for Mel, and her inner struggle with these new feelings for her best friend. I really love how Marquette doesn’t skimp on the detail of the locations, the camps, or the river. It not only gives the sense of being in the environment with these characters. I believe the details are more designed to showcase the real love Dez, and by extension Mel, has for the outdoors and the river. It’s not just a setting in this story, it’s a way of life for these characters. And Marquette is smart in using the descriptions to illustrate that point to the reader.
What I loved best was how Mel and Dez counter balance each other perfectly with their personalities and that what anchors them to each other is their mutual love for the river and the outdoors.
I loved the awkward moments with Dez’s clueless recognition of a woman’s interest, but I felt that Marquette took it to a point of unbelievability in certain scenes. It doesn’t distract from the story, however, and she makes up for this at the end with a conversation between Mel and Dez to explain this advanced cluelessness, which allows me to believe that it is a possibility.
This is the first book I read from Marquette, and it was a great introduction to her writing style and story telling. Marquette is attuned to the drama that happens when pursuing a romantic relationship, but she does it in a way that feels casual and allows you to laugh at the characters without feeling cruel or unsympathetic to their plight.
This novella is great for a weekend read for anyone who loves watching friendships transform into romance, and get a good laugh out of watching two people navigate through tricky waters to claim what they want.
Excerpt from Some Kind Of River by Andi Marquette
I chuckled then grunted in surprise as someone jumped on my back. I lurched toward Brad, just catching myself. “Hey –“
“Dez! Woo hoo, the party can now begin.” I’d know that voice anywhere. Brad laughed as Mel slid off my back.
I turned, laughing, and then almost choked. Mel. Holy shit. It had been Mel behind the counter. “Wow. Um, your hair…” I stammered. “I didn’t recognize you.”
She pretended to model it with gestures a game show hostess might use to show you the products you could win. “Do you like?” she teased in a French accent. “I had it done last month.”
“It looks great,” I said in a rush, embarrassed at my reaction, embarrassed that I’d actually cruised Mel. I’d been trying so hard not to think about her that way and practically the first thing I did when I came into the building was just that. “Yes, I like. It suits you. Nice. So how are you?”
“Much better, now. My sexy river guide buddy is here to play on the water all summer long with me. Life is awesome. Even in Idaho.” She grinned. “Did you just get here.”
Sexy? Did she just call me that? I nodded, still a little tongue-tied.
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