Review: How to Speak Boy by Tiana Smith

Title: How to Speak Boy
Author: Tiana Smith
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Pages: 256

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Quinn and Grayson have been fierce speech and debate rivals for years. They can’t stand one another, either in competition or in real life.

But when their AP Government teacher returns their school assignments to the wrong cubbies, they begin exchanging anonymous notes without knowing who the other is.

Despite their differences, the two come together through their letters and find themselves unknowingly falling for the competition. Before the state tournament, the two of them need to figure out what they want out of life, or risk their own future happiness. After all, what’s the point of speech and debate if you can’t say what’s in your heart?

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I will read anything Tiana Smith writes.

Three words: enemies to lovers. Smith wrote this classic trope so perfectly and it kept me on the edge of my seat. Having to wait patiently for Quinn and Grayson to give in to their attraction for each other was agonizing in the best way possible.

If you’re looking for a book with characters that practically jump off the page then this is the one. All of them are so vivid, it’s hard to remember they aren’t real. Quinn felt like she could have been me when I was in high school. Grayson had plenty of layers to him and I loved seeing them all peeled away. Naomi was a wonderful best friend and I need a novella about her and Dax. And Carter? Well, you’ll see…

I was also very impressed with the speech and debate aspects of the novel. As a former speech kid, I was so relieved to see that Smith got it all right. From the talking to walls as you practice your piece to the high you get while performing – everything was authentic. I loved reliving it all.

The romance is a huge slow burn and it’s worth the wait. Once I started the story I didn’t want to put it down and I found myself analyzing all the details inside the secret letters to make sure they matched up with the person I thought they were from.

How to Speak Boy will make you feel all types of (good) things. Tiana Smith’s debut, Match Me If You Can, was absolutely perfect last year and I’m so glad to say that her sophomore follow up did not disappoint.

A physical ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

7 thoughts on “Review: How to Speak Boy by Tiana Smith”

      1. Well, now I’m excited to pick it up! It’s going to have to wait a bit though, but I’m definitely going to. I seem to be falling back in love with Contemporaries, so I’ll take recs wherever I can get them.


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