What is it that draws us into reading stories about other people’s lives? Is it that their lives are more eventful than ours or that they reflect our own? And the more unfortunate the circumstances are, the more hooked we seem to be.
When your mom is dating your ex’s dad: a review of ‘I Heart Kuya’
One such story is that of Miala, the lead character in I Heart Kuya, (The story is more than what the title seems to imply.) as she suffers one humiliating moment after another. It all starts when Miala finds out that she will be reunited with her ex-boyfriend, Lenard, three years after their painful breakup. He seems to have moved on, while she still feels broken.
In her efforts to avoid him, everything goes downhill from there. Although their friends try their best to prevent any run-ins between the two of them, seeing each other again seems inevitable—especially when she moves in to a new house with her mom’s new boyfriend… who happens to be Lenard’s dad.
Her mom has no clue since Mia and Lenard have kept their relationship a secret. Living under one roof opens up a chest of painful memories and their unresolved past. Would Mia swallow her pride to give way to her mom’s newfound love or would she confess just to be rid of Lenard and risk breaking up the family they have just started to build?
Halfway through the book you’d probably want to tell Mia, “Move on already!” just to bring an end to her bad luck—a string of misfortunes and mishaps which author forgottenglimmer seems to have mastered from her past work in the book Reyna ng Kamalasan. But as the story unfolds and truths are unveiled, you’d have a better understanding of where all her pain is coming from. One can’t help but feel invested on seeing Mia happy after all that she’s been through. How can she love again if she’s so broken?
More importantly, though, who is Kuya in the story?
You might think you know how the story will go based on the title alone. But forgottenglimmer throws a few twists in the tale, starting by teasing us about who, exactly, is the kuya in I Heart Kuya.
Lenard? He’s Mia’s first love, after all. A part of you would want to root for him, but he’s so self-absorbed about his own pain that he tends to forget about others’. Pending their parents’ marriage, he’s almost a legit kuya by affinity. Being in close proximity with each other might actually rekindle the flame of their old love—but that would be complicated, not to mention inappropriate.
Riley? He’s Mia’s best friend and confidante. He would go out of his way to help a friend in need. He’s the kind of guy you’d want to bring home to meet your parents, and they’d probably like him too. His perpetual presence is a deterrent to other suitors, but he himself isn’t making any move. He’s even co-parenting a dog with Mia. You can’t help but wonder if their relationship is as platonic as it seems.
Andres? He’s Mia’s partner at a wedding. A tattooed guy, acerbic to the point of being almost socially inept, he’s the kind of guy your parents probably warned you about. But despite the bad boy façade, he’s full of surprises. He’s definitely not the cookie cutter type, so expect the exchanges between him and Mia to be baffling and weirdly amusing at the same time.
I Heart Kuya isn’t just a story about who wins Miala’s heart, but rediscovering love for one’s self as Miala learns that she’s worthy of being loved (and giving love) despite being a mess. It’s wonderful how forgottenglimmer is able to capture what reconciliation does, not just to the forgiven but to the forgiver. Plenty of insights in this book that evoke so much feels; those who are familiar with the pains of a breakup or still seeking reconciliation (with a loved one or with one’s past) would find this book a keeper.