Review: Alessandra Ebulu – When Did 30 Become a Big Deal?

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Author: Alessandra Ebulu
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Genre: Mm Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★¼ 

Summary: Sanmi wakes up on the morning of his thirtieth birthday to alarming news: his best friend Bidemi reminding him of the pact they’d made when they were seven that they would marry each other should they still be single when they turn thirty. He brushes it off as a joke, but then Bidemi, whom he always thought was straight, begins to court him…

 
Review: This is the story of two long time best friends living in Nigeria who, at the tender age of 7, made a pact that if both of them were single at age 30 they would marry each other or forfeit their treasured Star Wars collection. When Bidemi calls Sanmi at 12:03 on the morning of the infamous 30, Sanmi wants nothing more than to smack his friend so he will just shut up. Just as an aside, I loved the snarky chapter headlines.

 
Sanmi knows he has to be careful about his orientation. After all, it’s illegal in Nigeria and he could be arrested. But that’s not the only reason he’s refusing to believe Bidemi wants to be with him. Mostly it is because Bidemi is straight! Sanmi thinks the whole thing is ridiculous but Bidemi has never been more serious. I loved the interplay between the two because it seemed very realistic as to how long term friends would behave, even as they navigate different territory. “Most of the time when I insulted him, it was done with the understanding that we were still friends and I still loved and respected him.” When Bidemi reveals that he is actually bisexual, not straight, well, Samni doesn’t even believe him.

 
Bidemi is determined, however, and he’s going to woo Sanmi. If some of that wooing comes with laughter at Samni’s expense, well that’s a perk of being besties, right? Beginning with two dozen roses delivered to Samni’s office, continuing with ridiculous messages left with the work secretary, to a date where all the high ups (Bidemi’s family is rich and politically connected) are there to see the two of them. I questioned this a little, since being gay is, again, illegal. Samni is adamant he is not dating Bidemi. “I liked my bubble. It wrapped me up like a cocoon and kept me safe.” Too bad Bidemi and Samni’s other best friend, Gbemi, aren’t interested in his excuses. They both believe “You need romance.” “Me need romance? Pshaw. What I needed was to get laid.” If you say so, Samni.

 
He fights it hard but sometimes there is just no escaping the one that is meant for you, no matter your fear or what you assume about him. When Bidemi comes clean about his reasons for waiting to woo until Samni turned 30, I wanted to go hug him.
Secondary characters such as Gbemi and the respective families of both men are interesting and wonderful. Especially Gbemi, a strong woman who respects herself. This story is seriously adorable, quirky and funny. So recommended.

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