Title: Long Macchiatos and Monsters (2015)
Author: Alison Evans
Expect: New Adult, Trans and Non-Binary MCs, Visible Disability, Slice of Life, Short Fiction
Jalen, lover of B-grade sci-fi movies, meets the far-too-handsome P in a café while deciding whether or not to skip uni again. When P invites them along to a double feature of Robot Monster and Cat Women of the Moon, Jalen can hardly believe that hot boys like bad sci-fi, too. But as their relationship progresses, Jalen realizes P leaves them wondering if they’re on the same page about what dating means, and if that’s what they’re doing.
Finding queer New Adult short fiction is slowly becoming my new favorite pastime. I feel like there’s a bit of an age gap sometimes in our fiction that forgets humans live a life after turning 18 and before the big 3-0 (but that’s a story for another time). I’m going to try not to make this a hype review, but I seriously love Long Macchiatos and Monsters. I’m so glad I decided to reread this one before writing the review because I had more of an appreciation for it when I knew what to expect.
This is very much a character-driven story, and you won’t be disappointed with following Jalen around. I fell in love with P and Jalen from the jump. Jalen was the perfect main character, and I found their love of cheesy sci-fi movies to be endearing af. Tbh, 100% would cuddle them in a heartbeat. Also, P and Jalen’s relationship was so refreshingly real and relaxed— from all of the jokes between the two to their moments of doing absolutely nothing but being in each other’s presence— that I was glad to just be along for the ride.
But while we get bits of Jalen’s life outside of the relationship, P remains a complete enigma. I know this was probably to put the reader in Jalen’s shoes of not being able to for sure define the relationship between the two, but this was a plot point that was never resolved. Hell, by the time the story ended, I felt like Jalen… “Bro, I know nothing about you. Tell me something right now, or I’m stepping.” And just when we’re about to get something of a backstory from P, the book… ends which just left everything seeming unfinished.
I did have some issues with the cohesiveness in this novella. It was a hit it and quit it story that tried to give so many different scenes and time frames but took away the cohesiveness of the story by doing so. There was too much jumping around for me, and it didn’t feel like all of the scenes always flowed together. I mean, I get it. It’s a short story, and there’s so much ground to cover; but it just got distracting. Scenes that could have been extended to better understand the characters– like Jalen’s life with their sister or P’s interactions with his mother (or any friends he may have had). By the time everything really started coming to a head, the book just ends. There isn’t a resolution. There isn’t really an explanation. There were just so many missed opportunities for expansion. I also need some sort of conflict to keep my interest high. While there is a little bit of tension waiting in the wings with P’s mom (which is never really explained), it wasn’t enough.
This book was short and sweet, but perhaps it was too short and sweet. Novellas are my thing, yo, but Macchiatos needed to be longer (because I’m utterly OBSESSED with P and Jalen and need more). IS THERE MORE? WILL THERE BE MORE?!
Honestly, more of everything, please.