Reviews

If I Don't Ask, by E.J. Noyes

shippychaos's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark emotional tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

5.0

Noyes pulled off an incredible piece of fiction with this book — exceeding my expectations, though she is an author whose work I always approach with high expectations.

It is written to be completely separate from Ask, Tell but if you have read that already, you’ll feel all the familiar good things as they connect to its retelling here from Rebecca’s POV.

Notes on the audiobook: Abby Craden’s performances are generally great, but something about her acting just vibes SO well with Noyes’ writing. 

It's been a few weeks since I finished this book and I cannot stop thinking about how seamlessly Noyes integrates sexual consent into this story. These scenes between Sabine and Rebecca are probably the most deftly executed examples of casual but enthusiastic consent I've ever read. 

m0thermayi's review against another edition

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5.0

5 stars | I'm so happy we got to read Ask, Tell from Rebecca's POV. This is one of my favourite series ever.

"I don't even know how to explain it. I don't want a relationship, but I don't want to be alone anymore..."

underfelt's review

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inspiring reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0

annie_lulu's review

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emotional funny hopeful lighthearted sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

heyspaghetti's review

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emotional hopeful reflective tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix

3.75

__shaked's review

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emotional funny hopeful inspiring medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0

lovemeknot's review

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challenging emotional funny sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

zefrien's review

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emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75

platch_woolf's review

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adventurous emotional funny tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

judeinthestars's review

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emotional funny medium-paced

5.0

Oh, the longing…

For once, I’m not going to say anything about the story. Either you’ve read Ask, Tell and you already know it, or you haven’t and you really should. Read it first then come back to this book. Whether you read the second book, Ask Me Again, and the third, If the Shoe Fits, before or after this one doesn’t really matter unless you’re like me and need to read in order.

I usually fall in love with the characters over the course of the story but in this case, I went in already head over heels. Rebecca Keane is one of the most loved characters in sapphic fiction, I’m not immune to what makes her so special.

In the acknowledgements that open this book, the author explains that “with everything swirling around us, [she] just needed to spend some time with fictional friends”. That’s what this book feels like for this reader too, time with friends. As soon as I began reading If I Don’t Ask, it felt like home, a feeling at once wonderful and a little sad. I honestly didn’t expect to feel so much so soon. As I posted on social media, once in a while, I’ll start reading a book and, a few pages in, wish I hadn’t. Because I will never have the anticipation again of reading it, will never read it for the first time again. That’s why I keep some “classics” unread, why I never binge read an author’s back catalogue if I love them. I keep at least one book to look forward to. There’s a reason Alone, by the same author, is one of these unread classics.

The fact that If I Don’t Ask is not a sequel but a retelling of an already well-known and much-loved story is exciting because the reader knows what is going to happen. We’ve lived it already, we can bask in the certainty and yearning of what’s coming. What we weren’t sure of yet was how Rebecca experienced it and that’s the gift Noyes gives us.

And that in itself is a tour de force. Telling the same story twice is always a risk. It could be boring, simply recycling. It could ruin the original. It could be seen as the author lacking the imagination to create something new. But this is E. J. Noyes, and she pulls it off magnificently.

Far from ruining the original, If I Don’t Ask adds to it. I, for one, didn’t remember Sabine was so cute and funny. Was she? Or is she when seen through Bec’s eyes?

If I Don’t Ask is also a perfect example that while dialogues and banter can be awesome, inner thoughts, when you’re in the head of someone as fascinating and well-written as Rebecca Keane, can be captivating. Even when all she’s thinking about is her attraction to Sabine and how impossible it is. There are other things happening in her life, however, that give a new perspective on her actions.

Rebecca Keane will always have Abby Craden’s voice for me, maybe because she was my first (Ask, Tell was my first Craden narration) or maybe because Abby Craden is perfect for the character. Either way, I had her voice in my head while reading and I’m very impatient to listen to the audiobook and hear her iconic “darling” again…

I received a copy from the publisher and I am voluntarily leaving a review.

Read all my reviews on my blog: Jude in the Stars

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