3.5 stars Seriously, how cute is this book? It makes you remember feeling shy and giggly and melty-puddly around the guy you like. *sigh*
It took me a3.5 stars Seriously, how cute is this book? It makes you remember feeling shy and giggly and melty-puddly around the guy you like. *sigh*
It took me a bit to get into the story and I didn't love the music-heavy playlist conceit, though the latter was obviously the pitch that got the book sold. (view spoiler)[I was also a bit upset over the way June repeatedly put down other characters' ignorance or lack of smarts, both internally and verbally. Denigrating someone's intelligence is one of the worst things you can do in my book, and while one sexist pig of a character in particular deserved to be put in his place, I was still bothered by the number of times this issue came up, and not just with him. But I'm glad that later on, June comes to see partially why he behaved that way, and that her expectations of other people were challenged. (hide spoiler)] I'm never crazy about books set up around prom either (I genuinely didn't care about it in high school and I still don't!), but I know it's a big thing to a lot of kids so I'll tolerate the cheesiness because it's written so sincerely and with such good humor.
I enjoyed everything else so thoroughly. The book is diverse and sex-positive. The school routine feels solid and real. June and her affectionate, razzy friendship with her gay BFF Shaun gave me warm fuzzies. Oliver's girlfriend isn't a stereotypical bitch. June's girlfriends are so fun and funny, and it all feels so comfortable and familiar, like you were hanging out with TV characters you've been watching for years. Everyone has agency, everyone is memorable. (view spoiler)[I didn't love Itch, but hey, neither did June. I did love the whole way their break-up unfolded, though, especially the very end. (hide spoiler)]
The book also portrays another notable thing exceptionally well. One of the most fundamentally life-changing things occurs when you're a teenager: the realization that your parents aren't necessarily who you thought they were. The maelstrom of complicated feelings that arise from that aren't to be taken lightly, and in the context of this romance, it's handled with just the right touch.
And all that is before we even talk about Oliver and June. Guuuuys. They are so flipping cute! Because they're both with other people in the beginning and they're forced to spend time together, they have to learn about each other slowly and become friends first. They know each other before anything ever happens, and it's so ooey-gooey good watching them fall for each other.
Technically speaking, there were a few minor things that I think might've been smoothed out or fleshed out a bit more; the whole issue with why June's not driving, for example, and a few other random bits like suddenly finding out she volunteers with animals late in the book.
But the book is a really well-crafted contemporary otherwise. The characters are believable, all of them evolve in their story arcs, and the author made me care about what happens to everyone. And it's cuuute. So cute.
Excited to see what this author, who is a writer for GREY'S ANATOMY, does next. I might have to try watching that show after all.
DNF about 150 pages in, after an endless cycle of both parties constantly hooking up with one idiot after another, immediately followed by automatic fDNF about 150 pages in, after an endless cycle of both parties constantly hooking up with one idiot after another, immediately followed by automatic friends-with-benefits sex every time. If a book is going to be based around a premise this iffy/icky, you'd better be convinced that these two are meant to be be together, or at least have fun living vicariously through their mindless hook-ups. As it was, I have no idea why they kept coming back to each other, on any level. They barely seemed to be friends, and the sex sure didn't seem to be worth it.
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review. Unsolicited copy, so you win some, you lose some....more
The first half with the fiancé was so painfully silly to me that I almost DNFed, but the second half was terrific! The industrial spy stuff was plausiThe first half with the fiancé was so painfully silly to me that I almost DNFed, but the second half was terrific! The industrial spy stuff was plausible, we get to know Poppy better, and the relationship and texting was super cute.