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Book Review: This Train Is Being Held by Ismée Williams

This Train Is Being Held by Ismée Williams

First and foremost, I want to say a very big thank you to the brilliant minds behind the invention of book recording mediums and the amazing platforms that host them. My heart is overflowing with appreciation for all of you!

These mediums and narrators truly bring books to life in the most enchanting way possible. In fact, the narrator of this, Gary Tiedemann, made the experience so seamless and enjoyable.

I stumbled upon this book after falling in love with Tiedemann’s voice in Stephanie Fournet’s Kind of Cursed, and I am thrilled to say that he did not disappoint. As the title suggests, the train itself seems to play a significant role in the story, almost like a third character.

The two main characters first meet on the train and continue to run into each other there for the next three years, eventually making plans to meet there on purpose.

Over time, the characters grow and develop, and their slow-burn romance is simply delightful.

While I have to give credit to the narrator’s exceptional performance, I must admit that I didn’t feel overly invested in the lives of the characters themselves.

The plot didn’t leave me on the edge of my seat, and there were even times when I forgot that I was listening to a book. However, I pushed through and finished it so that I could write this review.

I did find the author’s writing style a bit flowery and convoluted at times, with an excessive use of synonyms that could make a sentence hard to follow.

The male main character is an aspiring poet, and while I appreciate the author’s attempt to convey his rhythmical flair through the text, it was sometimes overwhelming.


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As for the female main character, Isa, I found her to be a bit frustrating. While I understood her struggles with family issues and school stress, she often came across as selfish and unaccommodating.

She made decisions for herself and her love interest without consulting him, and I found that quite annoying.

Despite these minor criticisms, I appreciated the author’s efforts to tackle important themes such as mental health and racism, and the characters were portrayed in a very humane and self-aware manner.

There were a few missed opportunities to flesh out certain characters, like Isa’s mother, but overall, this was a solid YA romance.

One thing I really appreciated was how there were no issues with code-switching, and the Spanish was used appropriately throughout the book.

I would have loved to see a cute scene where the characters expressed their adoration for each other in Spanish, but perhaps that can be saved for another book.

All in all, I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA romance.

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