Make The Fireflies Dance by Rachel Bateman
Published: May 16th 2023 by Running Press Kids
Rating: ★★★★ (4)
Genre: Young Adult // Contemporary Romance
Quick Thoughts: A glorious, charming ode to growing up and owning the magic in the messiness of love and being human.
About The Book:
A contemporary YA rom-com about blind dates, first kisses, and a surprise romance set around the end of senior year and prom.
Quincy Walker is a hopeless romantic, so when she’s kissed by a stranger in a dark theater, her rom-com obsessed imagination begins plotting the perfect movie-version ending to her senior year (which ends, like all great high school rom-coms, with the prom). With the help of her friends, Operation Mystery Kisser is born: a plan to set Quin up on dates with all the guys who were at the theater that night so she can discover who kissed her. The only problem? Her friends insist on blind dates, and Quin hates letting go of control–just ask the members of her group for her final project for film class. As prom draws nearer, Quin is no closer to finding who her mystery kisser was, and she’s not sure she wants to continue looking. Maybe it’s her dad’s failing health and her brother’s absence; maybe it’s the fact that she’s fighting with her best friend; or maybe–just maybe–it’s that she’s falling for a guy who definitely isn’t the one she’s been looking for.
Growing up I’d heard the lyrics Make The Fireflies Dance in Kiss Me by Sixpence None The Richer when my Parents played it and thought it sounded so magical. I was only a one year old when it was released, but I still listen to it because it’s such a beautiful song. So when the publisher reached out to me about Rachel’s book and I clocked the title, my heart did a little squeal of joy. It looked like the perfect springtime romance to get lost in for a little while.
Quincy—also known to her friends and family as Quin or Q—has a clear idea of what a first kiss should be. And even though it sort-of-maybe already happened, she still wants to at least have that idea of a perfect first kiss to come true because of a sweet, firefly-esque conversation she had with her mother who has since passed away. But then she’s kissed by a random, mystery person at her Grandmother’s birthday party, and it sets off a whirlwind of movie-style plotting and shenanigans.
Quincy and her friends get to work finding out who Mystery Kisser is, and against her wishes of wanting control over the situation, they are starting with blind dates with suitable people that fit the mould from the party. But as prom creeps closer, her older brother’s continual vanishing acts weighing on her shoulders, plus health scares from her dad and final film class project on her mind, Quin is caught between what love and life should be and letting things fall into place naturally. And letting go of control over it is not her favourite thing. Especially when the one she’s falling for blindsides everything she thought she wanted—because what if that’s not what’s meant to be after all?
Overall, Make The Fireflies Dance was a glorious, charming ode to growing up and owning the magic in the messiness of love and being human. Quin was such a loveable, relateable main character and I enjoyed reading her POV. I was expecting the mystery kisser storyline to carry on a little further and the plot definitely steered in a different direction than I was expecting in the middle, but by the end, I was wholeheartedly won over by this cute, feel good novel with important messages at it’s heart. A wonderful four star book that’s perfect for readers that love classic YA romances!
About The Author
Rachel Bateman is an author and screenwriter who lives in the middle of Montana with her charmingly geeky husband, two sons, and more pets than she can keep track of. When she’s not writing, you can find Rachel sewing, wrangling chickens, or planning her next road trip. Please visit her at www.rachelbateman.com or on Instagram @rachelbatemanbooks.