The first time I read Ines Bautista-Yao’s latest romance novel, When Sparks Fly, I recalled another book that I really loved, Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin. Although Emily Griffin’s book has a higher heat level and was way more complicated in terms of conflict (MC Rachel found herself in bed with her best friend’s fiancé after a birthday party), the similarities between Rachel’s (from Something Borrowed) and Regina’s (from When Sparks Fly) dilemmas were undeniable.
At both the books’ core, is a story of friendship and what we “sacrifice” for the sake of our friends. Regina had always felt like her best friend Lana was the better of the two of them, that no one would ever want her (Regina) after they had met Lana, so Regina sabotaged most of her relationships, by “giving” the guys she liked away to Lana. Enter Ben, who rejected Lana first before he met and pursued Regina, and suddenly Regina found hope that she would have her own happy ending. But when Lana started treating Ben as the one who broke her heart, Regina felt like she had to sacrifice Ben again in order to make Lana feel better.
Ines’s take on the story is sweet, refreshing and light, but you still feel the angst that Regina felt every time she had to sacrifice her happiness for the sake of friendship, or to be more accurate, for the sake of what she thought was the norm. While it is easy to root for Regina all throughout the story, I love Lana, and since I cannot give away spoilers, you would just have to read the book to find out why.
Of course Ben is the perfect guy to be fought over by multiple women. I love that he chose to love Regina, favoring the “orange in the sea of shiny apples,” and recognizing in her the quiet beauty that she herself had not seen in herself.
I love that Regina went on a journey of self-discovery and when she had found her confidence and her peace, she was able to become a better friend, a better girlfriend.
My take away from the story really is this: Everyone deserves to be happy, but you have to get out of your comfort zone, take a leap of faith, in order to pursue this happiness. Nothing comes to anyone who just waits to be handed something without working for it. This is true for love, for friendship and for life in general.
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About the Author:
Ines Bautista-Yao is the author of One Crazy Summer, What’s in your Heart, and Only a Kiss. She has also written two short stories, “Flashbacks and Echoes,” which is part of a compilation called All This Wanting and “A Captured Dream,” one of the four short stories in Sola Musica: Love Notes from a Festival.
She is the former editor-in-chief of Candy and K-Zone magazines and a former high school and college English and Literature teacher. She is also a wife and mom and blogs about the many challenges and joys of motherhood at theeverydayprojectblog.com. She has recently launched The Author Project, a section in her current blog devoted to the stories in her head.