February is the month of Valentine’s Day and love. In fact, it’s only a week away!
Now, before you start in on any rants about the commercialization of Valentine’s Day and how it’s a made-up holiday created by soulless marketing departments, greeting-card companies, and candy producers, let me say that I don’t care.
While I’ve been guilty of being a Valentine’s Day grinch at times in my life, I’ve come to realize that you don’t have to buy into all of the trappings to celebrate love.
I agree that the amount of money and the lack of thought thrown into this holiday are ridiculous. But there’s nothing wrong with celebrating love. And what better way to do that than by reading a good love story?
Now, if your lip automatically curled at the mention of romance novels and you’re thinking that they’re all ridiculous and reinforce negative gender stereotypes, let me say that you’re obviously reading the wrong ones. Yes, there are a ton out there that are unrealistic and, quite frankly, unhealthy.
But in honor of the month of love, I challenge you to try something different. Which is why I’m recommending Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid.
Why I Recommend It
Neanderthal Seeks Human is a romance novel for those who’ve had it with heaving bosoms and quivering this and pulsing that and all of the trite trappings of traditional romance.
(Don’t get me wrong; I’m not shaming readers of traditional romance. There are some very well-written romance novels out there, ones that don’t promote unhealthy relationships and stereotypes.)
This book is a smart romance. (Don’t believe me? It actually says so on the cover.) The protagonist is highly intelligent but socially awkward. I once heard the author describe her as high functioning on the autism spectrum.
And her love interest is just as quirky: highly successful in some areas and highly challenged and struggling in others.
Actually, all of Reids characters have some quirk or feature that might be considered odd by some but that just makes them human and real. The message is that no matter how weird you are, there’s a match for you; it’s all a matter of perspective.
I found the characters so relatable. Let’s face it—we’re all kinda weird. We may not all be the same weird, but it’s nice to read about people who are just as weird as we are in the many different ways human beings are weird and unique. And their oddities aren’t just tolerated; those oddities are what make the characters unique, endearing, and relatable.
A Word of Caution
While Neanderthal Seeks Human is fairly mild compared to many books in the romance genre, it does still contain scenes involving sex. And while some of Reid’s later books do become a bit more descriptive of these scenes, the purpose isn’t about shock value.
The story is about the relationship between two people and the doubts and insecurities we all struggle with in our own heads. It’s romance, not erotica.
However, if you object to reading about sex or sex outside of marriage, this isn’t the book for you. There are some wonderful love stories and talented authors in the Christian fiction section that I’ll probably feature at a later date.
If you’ve been looking for a fun, quirky, relatable love story that’s a bit out of the ordinary, I highly recommend picking up Neanderthal Seeks Human! You can find Penny and a list of her books, as well as links to the different platforms to purchase on her website, or if you want to check her out without the financial commitment, you can likely find her books at your local library. Also, Overdrive and Hoopla, both of which you may be able to access through your library, carry many of them if you prefer ebooks.
Rebecca has a passion for helping you fill the world with great literature and making sure said literature doesn't get passed over for the lack of a little editing.