Cover (Story) Girl by Chris Mariano
Number of pages: 122
My copy: ebook from Smashwords
1) She has amnesia.
2) She’s on the run from her father’s creditors.
3) She’s enjoying her last days on earth.
Ever since Jang Min Hee walked into Gio’s small museum, she’s given him one excuse after another about why she’s vacationing at scenic Boracay Island. Rarely has Gio’s neat and organized world been shaken like this. Soon he finds himself scrambling over rocks, hiding in dressing rooms, and dragging her out of bars. But how can Gio tell what’s true from what isn’t? Their worlds are getting unraveled — one story at a time.
* * *
The first time I went to the island of Boracay in the Philippines ended in some sort of disaster, and I haven’t really “recorded over” that memory yet. To the uninformed, my month-old phone took a dip in the saltwater on our last day at the beach, so the last few hours on the island was kind of stressful. Not to mention that moment where I thought I was going to drown at Ariel’s Point while I was snorkeling, and that it was rainy half the time. It was a good vacation in some ways (Hello, Boracay PubCrawl!), but you know, not exactly the most relaxing one.
I haven’t had the chance to go there again, but I got a taste of the island when I read Chris Mariano’s Cover (Story) Girl. Chris is a fellow book blogger and a classmate in #romanceclass, so it was no question that I will buy her book the moment it was released. Cover (Story) Girl is about Gio, who works in a museum in the island of Boracay, keeping it neat and organized and ready for visitors. In the middle of preparing for an exhibit, Jang Min Hee walks into his life, and starts messing with it — literally and figuratively. Thing is, Gio wasn’t sure what’s keeping her in the island and why she’s sticking with him. She tells him all these stories and he goes along with her, sometimes even saving her from some trouble. Gio is mystified…but how will he know which among Min Hee’s stories are the truth?
Okay here’s the thing: I was just a teensy bit hesitant about this because of the Korean angle. I’m not a fan of K-pop, or K-drama or anything Korean, really, except maybe for the food. And maybe Daniel Henney. Every time some friends squee over Korean stuff, I just look blank, like how I look blank over anime. I was kind of worried that I wouldn’t get or like the story, because of the Korean things…but I’m glad to say that it didn’t. I liked Min Hee a lot. I liked what I learned about her from Gio’s eyes, and how she seemed so flighty at first and then had more depth later on. She provided a fun contrast against Gio, who likes his routines and his organized life. Okay, maybe he can be a little boring, but it worked well for the story, and I liked how he lost this as he spent more time with Min Hee. Gio reminds me a little of Macy from Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever, all organized and perfect until people came and threw her out of the loop. Gio is the kind of good guy I like reading in fiction, and it was fun being in his mind in this story. I liked reading his POV, and I think Chris did really well with it.
The story can feel a little slow and quiet, but I think that adds to the charm. You won’t really get too many exciting things at the start, except for Gio and Min Hee’s banter. The quiet flow of the story fits into its setting, which was my favorite part. I really liked that this was set in Boracay. I’ve only been there once, but reading this made me miss it. I liked how Chris focused on the quiet part of it and not much on the partying that happens there. I was never really a party girl, so I appreciate how there was more of the lesser known side of Boracay (and Aklan) in the story than the usual. And of course, the calamansi muffins. Oh my Lord, this book will have you craving for Real Coffee’s calamansi muffins, if you’ve had them before. If you haven’t, then you might want to bake some on your own, instead. (I really should do that.) Because calamansi muffins are yummy.
I really liked Cover (Story) Girl, if it’s not too obvious yet. By default this can be considered as a summer romance read because of the beach elements…but if it’s rainy and cold where you are now (which is also how it is on my side of the world now), Cover (Story) Girl is also a really good rainy day companion. Come to think of it, it’s a perfect companion anytime you want some swoon. :D And again, don’t forget your calamansi muffins!
Number of dog-eared pages: 9
Favorite dog-eared quote(s):
He wondered what it would be like to be blind as the proverbial bat, flying in the darkness boldly, content with what his other senses told him instead of the distractions that sight might offer. Maybe he’d just follow the scent of vanilla home.
They were both looking elsewhere, as if trying not to care about contact and intimacy and things that trembled.
But her soft vanilla scent still clung to the air, stubborn and unyielding. He thought it smelled like regret.