What a treat, a book by my fellow Writers of Chantilly writer, S.C. Megale! This Is Not a Love Scene is Megale’s first published novel, although she’s well known at the writer’s group table for a number of books she’s read to us over several years, each done with passion and skill. Unlike most of what I’ve read from her before, which tended toward fantasy or science fiction, this novel is realistic and set in the contemporary era. It follows Maeve, an 18-year old senior in high school who is taking a film class and hopes to enroll the following year at UCLA in film. She’s fallen in love, or at least lust, with the school’s top actor, Cole Stone, who is tall and good-looking, and has come up with a film project for her class involving Cole for possibly mixed reasons. And, oh yes, Maeve is in a wheelchair with a degenerative spinal disease for which there’s no cure.
Maeve has a disappointing dating history–boys who go out with her to be nice, but have no intention of becoming more involved with her. A succession of guys who are “just…not able to go there.” Cole is different. He’s hard to read–teasing, alternating between flirtatious and distant, often monosyllabic. But he also seems to have a real romantic interest in Maeve, and over a series of awkward (but funny!) dates and encounters, they gradually learn how to translate their mutual sexual desire into physical affection.
Maeve also has a close group of friends to help her out–BFF Mags, who’s pretty and romantically experienced and unfortunately currently dating Nate, who resents the attention Maeve gets from his girlfriend; Elliott and KC, two fellow students in her film class; Quinten, an older man and retired FBI agent who lives at a local nursing home; and of course Francois, her faithful service dog.
Together, the friends help Maeve navigate the myriad adventures of an active, lusty, wheelchair-bound teenage girl–filming a fifteen-minute film project that requires multiple on-location shots, confronting the pushy local director of a special-needs camp who seems to think Maeve owes her involvement, acquiring the unusually delicious ice cream at a local store that was built before handicapped-accessible laws.
In the end, though, it’s Maeve who has to help one of her friends in a dangerous situation when no one else can. Will she survive? Will she get accepted to UCLA so she can pursue her dream of directing movies? And most importantly, will she get laid by Cole Stone?