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Why I Loathe Sterling Lane

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Per her 537 rules, Harper Campbell keeps her life tidy—academically and socially. But the moment Sterling Lane transfers into her tiny boarding school, her twin brother gets swept up in Sterling’s pranks and schemes and nearly gets expelled. Harper knows it’s Sterling’s fault, and to protect her brother, she vows to take him down. As she exposes his endless school violations, he keeps striking back, framing her for his own infractions. Worst of all, he’s charmed the administration into thinking he’s harmless, and only Harper sees him for the troublemaker he absolutely is.

As she breaks rule after precious rule in her battle of wits against Sterling and tension between them hits a boiling point, she’s horrified to discover that perhaps the two of them aren’t so different. And maybe she doesn't entirely hate him after all. Teaming up with Sterling to save her brother might be the only way to keep from breaking the most important rule—protecting Cole.

287 pages, Paperback

First published June 6, 2017

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About the author

Ingrid Paulson

3 books404 followers
Ingrid Paulson does not, in fact, loathe anyone. Although the snarky sense of humor and verbal barbs in Why I Loathe Sterling Lane might suggest otherwise (and shock those who think they know her best).
Ingrid lives in San Francisco with her husband and children and enjoys long-distance running, eavesdropping, and watching science documentaries. She has always loved books and writing short stories, but was surprised one day to discover the story she was working on wasn’t so short any more. Valkyrie Rising, a paranormal girl power story was Ingrid’s first novel. Expect another humorous contemporary romance to join the list soon.

You can visit Ingrid on the web at www.ingridepaulson.com/.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 143 reviews
Profile Image for Annika.
449 reviews101 followers
December 4, 2020

First read: 03/2017
Second read: 12/2020

Oh my God, this was just as infuriating as I remembered it. And I loved every second of it!
This might still be my favorite contemporary YA of all time.


My lessons learned: blurbs can be deceiving and to let go of my unjust prejudices against the YA genre.

To be honest, when I got approved for the ARC, I wasn't even sure any more why I'd requested it in the first place. While I'm gradually warming up to contemporary YA, I'm not usually big on hate-to-love romance, and the synopsis sounded so much like petty high school teen drama. The only reason I even started this book when I did was to get it over with.
Boy, was I ever wrong. Ingrid Paulson blew me out of the water with this one.

So there's Harper. Harper has a firm set of rules she lives and acts by, never straying from them even if that makes her a school pariah. That is, until Sterling Lane, the new boy at her boarding school starts pushing her buttons in a way no one ever has, and her twin brother Cole gets tangled up in trouble that might get him expelled. Convinced that it's not a coincidence that all the mess began at the exact same time that Sterling started hanging out with Cole, Harper starts her own investigations on the charming manipulator. He doesn't know what he's in for.
And thus starts a thrilling and hilarious battle of wills, pranks and emotions none of them would have ever expected.
There weren't sufficient words in the English language to describe the width and breadth of my feelings for Sterling Lane - hate, loathe, revile, despise. And if I had a thesaurus on hand, I wouldn't use it to refine the list. I'd hurl it right at his head.

If there's one thing I've learned since I started reading YA and NA novels, it's how hard it is to pull off the bad boy vs. good girl trope without getting lost in a sea of clichés. There's just too much that can go wrong, such a fine line between bad boy and insufferable, obnoxious douchebag, and between good girl and stuffy, boring weakling. I don't know how she did it, but Paulson walked that line with such an unexpected ease that I often felt like I should have, if not hated, then at least disliked the two protagonists, but for the love of me just couldn't.
Don't get me wrong, there were times when I was mentally begging Harper to punch the smug smirk out of Sterling's face, or when I just couldn't help but roll my eyes at her rule-abiding perfectionist ways. But the thing is, I still loved them for their personalities and their flaws. Both of them were absolutely amazing characters.
Sterling's smile widened. He was an alligator that wouldn't bother to bite before swallowing me whole.

I might even go as far as to claim that Harper and Sterling are my new favorite romance couple. The banter, the tension, their strong wills and wits. I had so much fun reading this book, switching between aggravation, swooning and cracking up so many times I never knew what to expect next. I loved how they both influenced each other for the better without even noticing it.

Add to that the fact that this book didn't have the typical YA feeling to it, and I was a goner from the start.
The characters were mature (most of the time) and strong-willed, there were no bitchy co eds, no jealousies, nothing that felt contrived only to add more drama to the mix. What you'll get instead is a devilishly funny yet profound hate-to-love romance, a couple to ship, an unlikely but beautiful friendship, a well-construed mystery, a prank war, few but thus all the more lovable supporting characters and a touching twin sibling relationship.

I seriously can't wait to read more of this author's amazing writing.

ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,090 reviews1,511 followers
May 20, 2017
Harper Campbell has 537 rules rules that keep her life in her tiny boarding school very organized and under control. When Sterling Lane transfers to the school however he immediately begins to break Harper's rules putting her at odds of how to deal with the new bad boy.

Harper's twin brother Cole ends up rooming with Sterling so Harper needs to come up with a way to keep Sterling away from her brother. But when Cole gets himself into trouble Harper knows she needs to protect him at any cost, even if that means teaming up with Sterling to help save her brother.

Why I Loathe Sterling Lane was another of those books I was back and forth on how to rate all during reading this one. It had potential to be a really cute young adult contemporary read but unfortunately Harper herself really brought this one down for me as I really didn't like her from the start. It is one thing to be the goody goody character going against the bad boy and even falling for him eventually but Harper bordered on being more of a bit too manic in her rules to sit well with me from the start and then ends up breaking more rules than Sterling.

But with this story I think if Harper had been written a bit differently I probably would have really enjoyed the book. The overall plot was interesting with a bit of mystery to solving Cole's dilemma, a bit of fun and laughter involved with Sterling's antics, family loyalty between the twins with Harper wanting to do everything for her brother and a case of opposites attracting between Harper and Cole. Probably more that I'm failing to mention too so while I didn't care for Harper I still thought this one ended up being an OK read in the end.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....
Profile Image for Rebekah.
739 reviews955 followers
June 5, 2017
When I opened my package and saw the title of this book, I immediately dropped everything and read this. Read it in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. THESE are the books I LOOOOOVE ANY hate to love story and I will drop everything to read it. THEY. ARE. THE. BEST types of stories.

This is like a 10 Things I Hate About merged with Taming of the Shrew which oddly enough 10 Things I Hate About You is a modern retelling of Taming of the Shrew… this book reminded me of that movie and concept. Even though there was no little sister some guy wanted so they had to get rid of the shrew older sister.

This story is about Harper who has 537 rules that she eats, sleeps and lives by. She is the top of her class and is meticulous about everything she does especially in regards to her life and rules down the last second. She isn’t liked at school because of her goody-goody ways plus she is completely honest and tactless in her honesty which keeps people away from her. However, Harper has a twin, her brother Cole who recently has been pulling away from Harper and she can’t figure out why until she finds out her brother is in trouble.

Enter Sterling Lane…ultimate rule breaker who immediately finds himself on Harper’s bad side. Things only get worse between them when Sterling is Cole’s new roommate. Everything wrong in Cole’s life, Harper believes is Sterling’s fault and they find themselves constantly battling with each other with words, pranks, and an every growing dislike for each other.

When they find themselves actually on the same side in regards to trying to help Cole with his problems they decide to sort of put aside their dislike for each other for the time being in order to help each other help, Cole.

I LOVED the chemistry of dislike between Sterling and Harper. I appreciated how the author stayed true to their characters with very subtle development which makes it all more realistic. There were times when Harper annoyed me but at the same time appreciated the fact that the author didn’t miraculously change the character. Harper is still Harper by the end of the book just a bit more refined which I appreciated.

Overall I LOVED the story, I was drawn in by the title and therefore didn’t even bother reading the synopsis because I knew this would be my type of book.

Sexual Content: moderate
Language: moderate
Drugs/Alcohol: moderate
Violence: mild
Profile Image for Jessica.
719 reviews611 followers
June 7, 2017
4.5 stars. Huh, who would've thought? In the beginning I struggled so much with this! Harper wasn't exactly easy to like and I absolutely LOATHED Sterling Lane. I'm glad I stuck with it, though, since it turned out to be so much fun. I thoroughly enjoyed this and I only deducted half a star because I almost gave up on the book after the first few chapters because I struggled so much with it.
Profile Image for Rê .
455 reviews56 followers
May 29, 2017

4 “10 Things I Hate About You Feels!” Stars

ARC via NetGalley

Thank you, Entangled Teen.

This book is addictive, hot and gave me major flashback to late 90’s/beginning of 2000’s. If you were a teenager then, you’ll understand why.

Before Heath Ledger became the Joker on that Batman movie, he was a bad boy teenager full of attitude in a movie called Ten Things I Hate About You. I love this movie. Like, LOVE LOVE, so if you haven’t watched it yet, fix it!

For me, Sterling Lane took me back to Ledger’s character. And Harper Campbell, the main character in this book, instantly reminded me of Julia Style’s character in that movie.

Smart, sassy and protective of her sibling, Harper sees new student and known troublemarker Sterling Lane as an unwanted distraction. She has her entire school year (and possibly her life) planned out and she follows an impressive set of rules that will lead her toward success. As far as Harper is concerned, Sterling is the personification of a rule breaker and she wants nothing to do with him.

It doesn’t help that Sterling’s charms (and his family’s influence) prevent him from getting in trouble even when he teases their teachers, lie to everyone’s faces, tries to pay her to do his school work and breaks all sorts of rules. Harper instantly sees him as an enemy. A situation that only gets worse when she discovers he’s sharing a dorm room with her twin brother.

As Harper’s brother starts getting in trouble, she blames Sterling’s influence. But Harper doesn’t stop at that, she tries to get Sterling out of the way by exposing him. That makes Sterling notice her and their little hating/revenge game start.

Watching those two go at each other is half the fun. The other half is watching them try not to be all over each other since their hate looks a little too close to attraction and passion.

The puns and teasing and straight-out insane things they come up with to get even are pretty funny, even if some of them are borderline absurd. I didn’t care. I was too busy turning pages, desperate for me.

The dynamic once again reminded me of that teen movie I was obsessed with.



Sterling was sexy and loved to get under Harper’s skin, but she didn’t stay behind. Girlfriend was a force to be reckoned with. She wasn’t afraid to say the truth and she wasn’t about to turn into someone else just because she didn’t fit some pretty mold.



Something I appreciated was that Harper’s arc didn’t end up changing her into someone else. Sure she learned a thing or two about making friends and being more approachable, but she didn’t become a different person because of that.

The romance was HOT, HOT, HOT and swoony.


The enemies to lover trope was played to almost perfection here. I adored their bantering and how they fought against their chemistry, which was off the charts, and how powerful it was when they gave in.

I got my happy ending, but I thought it ended a bit abruptly. Maybe that’s just me wanting more of them because I seriously couldn’t get enough. I read this in one sitting and was eager for more. Now that it’s done, I’ll go watch Ten Things I Hate About You for the millionth time.
Profile Image for Nomes.
384 reviews377 followers
July 15, 2017
This was totally fun and full of things made of win:

* boarding school and pranks
* genuine loathing with barbed and witty banter and revengeful scheming
* Veronica Mars-style sleuthing
* steamy, swoony pay-off

Harper is so rigid and controlling and watching her unravel and finally feel free to give herself permission to test who she might be (without her self-imposed rules) was really well done. She can come across as judgmental and stand-offish, but I loved the little peeks we got at her vulnerabilities, and the way she let down her guard to make unexpected friends and allies.

Sterling Lane is Harper's perfect match. He riles her up, gives as good as he gets and does not back down. He has his own secrets and, despite his confidence and bravado, he has a hidden soft side which round him out into a perfectly swoon-worthy love interest.

This antagonistic/hate-to-love trope was not just a cute premise. They really do try to tear each other down and it's vicious, haha. This was a solid, amusing read for me until the last third, which really bumped it up into an unputdownable, grinning, swooning finale. I am so in for whatever Ingrid Paulson writes next :)
Profile Image for Taylor.
767 reviews424 followers
June 25, 2017
I received an unsolicited copy of this book from the publisher

There was so much of this book that I liked but I disliked the main character, Harper, so much and that really hindered me from falling in love with Why I Loathe Sterling Lane.
This was a fun, light, quick read and I read it within a few days. I liked the plot, the writing style, and I actually loved Sterling. He's a stereotypical pretty boy that makes it his mission in life to annoy the one girl in school who doesn't like him but he was so funny. I loved him from the moment he was introduced. To be honest, there wasn't really anything different or original about him but I'm a sucker for witty dialogue and sarcasm so I thought he was a pretty great character.
Harper on the other hand, was not a great character, in my opinion. She's the stereotypical (yeah, this book is like 90% stereotypes) straight laced girl that only has time for school and no fun but Harper was that times 10. She was so stuck up and had a stick so far up her butt, she was not fun to read about. I couldn't relate to her at all and I can't count how many times I rolled my eyes at her.
Granted, she did get better as the book went on but she was really terrible at the beginning of the book.
I did love the plot a lot. The prank war was a great touch and I really enjoyed that aspect of the book.
The writing style was also really good. I didn't think it was overly detailed and had a great paced to it.
Overall, despite this book having a ton of tropes and Harper being one of my least favorite characters ever, I enjoyed this book. It was a fun, fluffy read and I'm definitely going to keep my eyes open for any other contemporary books from this author.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,694 reviews702 followers
May 20, 2017
3.5 stars

I am a huge fan of hate to love and after that synopsis, I was excited to started.

I struggled with Harper in the beginning. She's so rigid and shrill and it comes across that she's knows better than everyone. No matter what the topic. Cole fell a little flat for me, but I loved Kendall. As for Sterling...he's sort of a jerk, but it really works in this story. Plus, it's probably the only way anything between Harper and him would have worked.

The banter and pranks between Harper and Sterling were the best part of this book. I loved that they constantly pushed each other's buttons and the morph into something else was gradual and believable. The plot thread about Cole was necessary for them to fall together, but it was fairly boring.

Overall, it was a quick and mostly fun read. I would have liked a bit more from the ending, but the very last chapter was absolute perfection.

**Huge thanks to Entangled Teen for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for Shannon.
2,296 reviews165 followers
May 23, 2017

"You're a disaster. You fascinate me."

As much as Harper fascinated Sterling, this book fascinated me. I could not put it down once I started reading! It's slightly bizarre, utterly unique, and totally engaging. I saw someone else mention it and I can't help but completely agree- Why I Loathe Sterling Lane is The Hating Game for the teen-age crowd. Before she even knows who he is, Sterling Lane has thrown Harper Campbell's carefully structured life into an uproar...and things only get crazier from there.

I love a quirky, oddball heroine- one who walks to the beat of her own drum, who doesn't care what people think of her, one who has no problems living her life by her own set of rules. And Harper Campbell fits that description to a T. She makes no apologies for who she is and has no problem speaking her mind. And with Sterling, she speaks her mind...a lot. He knows how to push all her buttons, and he does so with more than a little glee. Having a ringside seat to these two butting heads was completely enjoyable and so much fun- the banter, the back and forth, the pranks, all kinds of amusing!

And when things finally started to become clear to Harper, that maybe she and Sterling weren't exactly working at cross purposes, the entertainment didn't let up one bit. In fact, the tension between them just got hotter. Why I Loathe Sterling Lane is such a delightful read-from the characters, to the bit of mystery, I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish.
Profile Image for Lynndell.
1,504 reviews1 follower
June 8, 2017
I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book. Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Why I Loathe Sterling Lane by Ingrid Paulson! Harper and her twin brother Cole attend and reside at a boarding school. Their father is their only parent and they're not in a very close relationship with him. Harper has always felt responsible for taking care of her brother. Sterling Lane is a new student with a reputation of getting kicked out of schools. He bulldozes into Harper's self-controlled life and she can't quite get her head around it. Cole seems to be in serious trouble and his life, as well as Harper's, begins to spiral out of control and Sterling is right in the middle of it all. Serious and mysterious, as well as cleverly intelligent and full of humor, this book is a wildly entertaining, young adult, realistic fiction read worthy of 5 stars! I had a blast reading this book and absolutely love the personalities of Harper and Sterling and the way they balance each other out and make formidable partners!
Profile Image for Olivia Chanel's Stories in Space.
238 reviews14 followers
June 6, 2017
Thank you so much, Entangled Teen, for my advanced review copy of Why I Loathe Sterling Lane by Ingrid Paulson!

Why I Loathe Sterling Lane is a book that really surprised me. I did not expect to feel as invested in this book and the main characters as I was. However, it did take me a while to get there. Why I Loathe Sterling Lane is about Harper, her twin brother Cole, and Sterling, the new guy at their boarding school. Harper and Sterling are opposites and quickly become rivals, constantly trying to up one on the other through masterful pranks. Things get pretty wild. However, despite this, they decide to cooperate to help Cole get out of the trouble he’s gotten himself into. I really liked Why I Loathe Sterling Lane a lot because it brought something new. The way the book is structured is unique because the chapters aren’t named chapter 1, chapter 2, etc. but instead, the chapter headings are reasons why Harper loathes Sterling. They really make you anticipate every time a new chapter begins. It was awesome.

“I’m glad you found someone to stroke your already sizable ego. But I think you’ll find I’m not susceptible to your games.”

“You know, that almost sounds like a challenge.” There was a quiet menace in his voice that made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end.

The best part about Why I Loathe Sterling Lane is definitely the fact that it’s the trope hate to love. The masterful pranks are amazing, the chemistry and tension between Harper and Sterling is legendary, and the banter is on fire. I love it when rivals/enemies turn into lovers. It’s one of the best tropes out there. I also liked how in the beginning Harper was very much alone, her only friend her twin brother Cole. However, as the events of the book progressed Harper went more and more out of her comfort zone and did things she never had before. I really love the friendship that developed between Harper and Kendall. I also love the sibling dynamics in this book. The fact that Harper would do anything for her brother is just beautiful. I love it when characters have each other’s backs. More of this in Young Adult books, yes, please.

Even if I ended up loving Why I Loathe Sterling Lane I have to say that the first half of the book did not impress me. It took me about 50 % of the book to get invested in the characters and the story. Also, some of the character’s actions were at times infuriating. I definitely wish the dynamics between the characters and more of their motives had been clearer from the start since that would have improved the first half of the book. Nonetheless, it really did turn around and the second half was truly magnificent. Another downside was the fact that the words crazy and lunatic were used once which was really unnecessary.

Why I Loathe Sterling Lane is perfect for young adult readers who love a good hate to love story. They will fall in love with the banter, the pranks, and the ship. I know I did. There are amazing sibling vibes in this one, lovely friendships and a rivalry between the two main characters that will blow you away. It is very electric. If all of that is your thing, you definitely need to check Why I Loathe Sterling Lane out.
Profile Image for starryeyedjen.
1,640 reviews1,229 followers
March 23, 2018
I remembered really enjoying Ingrid Paulson's debut back when I first started blogging, so when I saw that she'd written a contemporary YA, I knew I had to read it. Especially since it had the promise of a good hate-to-love romance with the potential for some great banter, i.e. my reading kryptonite. Why I Loathe Sterling Lane was a fun read, with Harper's reasons why she loathes one Sterling Lane preceding each chapter, her 537 rules to live by peppered in to the story, and over-the-top pranks keeping the pair on their toes. And while I did find Harper a tad annoying at times -- I'm a type A, uptight, control-freak, too, but even I draw the line somewhere -- I think what I enjoyed most about this story was that while Harper and Sterling made each other better versions of themselves as they constantly tried to one-up the other, the end result was that they were still essentially the same people they'd been before, just less afraid to show others who they were.
Profile Image for Bibliothecat.
561 reviews54 followers
December 2, 2020

“There was nothing more relaxing than flash card creation.”

I rather picked this book up on a whim and was surprised by how well I liked it.

Harper has 537 rules which she follows religiously - she's fixated on being a top student without ever setting a toe out of line, expulsion being one of the worst things that could happen to her. As much as I love Hermoine Granger, Harper takes this to a new level. That is until you throw Sterling into the mix. He's absolutely confident with breaking rules and lying his way out of it, the more harm his pranks do the better.

Why I Loathe Sterling Lane pulls of enemies-to-lovers just right. Harper and Sterling are in a way complete opposites who end up in a fierce rivalry - fierce as in, I was surprised as to how far these two would take it to up or frame the other. Even Harper has to throw half her rules in the wind and both start to realise that they bring out the best and worst in each other. Their banter and pranks are absolutely RomCom movie-worthy.

Apart from the great dynamics between the main characters, there are many other things I liked. There's a focus on the importance of family, both Harper and Sterling have siblings they'd go to any lengths to protect. I also love how Harper, whose a known loner, opens up to friendships and discovers that you can get along and appreciate people who are very different from yourself. The boarding school setting was also a bonus.

I don't know if I'd pick Harper as a friend in real life, but she was a great narrator. I like that she's mostly honest to herself, if not to others, about her feelings and her sarcasm just makes it so much fun to read. Her continuously calling Sterling a sociopath was definitely one of my favourite parts of their banter. I also loved how every chapter opened with a note reasoning just why she loathes Sterling Lane.

My only complaint - and that's only partially the book's fault - is that the description of Harper is completely different from the cover. It's hard not to transfer what you see on a cover to what you're about to read. I don't mind if it's just the wrong colour of hair or what-not, but completely different is rather annoying. Especially when authors only give a description well into the novel. Harper is meant to be rather boyish-looking - dark hair, green eyes, baggy non-flattering clothes and hair that's shorter than her brother's. For the first half of the novel, my picture of her was much closer to what's on the cover, and after getting so far into the book, it was hard to change that image, so I practically ignored that part of the novel. I wish authors either didn't describe characters' appearances at all, leaving us full freedom to just imagine, or to simply deliver that description timely.

Little Harper's-looks rant aside, Why I Loathe Sterling Lane is easily one of the most fun contemporary romances I have read.
Profile Image for Erica Chilson.
Author 34 books431 followers
May 26, 2017
I received a copy of this title to read and review for Wicked Reads

5 Frustrating Stars

Young Adult age-range: 14+ due to swearing, drug & alcohol usage, and mild sexual situations (making-out).

Ingrid Paulson is a new-to-me author, one I plan on keeping my eye on for future YA novels.

Harper is the female half of a pair of fraternal twins who go to boarding school. Harper is definitely a type-A personality. With the death of her mother, the need to keep her twin safe (Cole is a free-spirit who is gullible and sees the best in everyone), and the need to prove herself worthy to a misogynistic father. Harper has a list of rules she abides by, is one of the most stubborn heroines I've read to-date, and doesn't have a single cell in her body screaming TSTL or damsel-in-distress. She's a force to be reckoned with and makes no apologies for it.

Sterling is a bad boy with a good heart- bit of a rich, misunderstood d-bag. Stirling is Cole's new roommate, and he and Harper do NOT start on the best of terms.

What unfolds on the pages of this love-hate novel (one of the first which truly brings on the hate) frustrated me to no end. So frustrated, I was reading feverishly, while white-knuckling my Kindle from the need to reach in and strangle both Sterling and Harper. This isn't chemistry, tension, and foreplay, at least not at first. It's true hate. I was so frustrated for Harper on every front, but I couldn't help but understand and like Sterling. Cole... oh, brother- Cole. *sigh* Ms. Paulson, please write a followup with Cole- I want to see someone knock some sense into him.

Harper and Sterling, they were both wrong. All. The. Time.

The frustration finally abated as our antagonists started working together instead of against each other, and I was able to relax. The pages didn't fly by as quickly, I wasn't snapping at anyone who broke my concentration, but I enjoyed how it did start to feel like foreplay instead of grounds for premeditated murder.

Mad props to the author for the level of frustration I felt. Harper was a right-fighter, no matter how wrong she may have been, and it bothered me how her voice wasn't heard in the beginning. I've been there- often -and it made me feel connected to Harper, even when she was going beyond the realm of rationality.

I don't wish to give plot points out, so I'm being vague. Side characters: there weren't many, but they added to the storyline, allowing Harper and Sterling to shine. I also appreciated how there was no 'girl-shaming'. Harper was one type of girl, and her roommate another, and Harper made sure no one disrespected Kendall for being a girly girl or thought her unintelligent because of it.

Highly recommended to fans of the young adult genre and the love-hate premise.
Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,119 reviews1,333 followers
June 27, 2017

I am so happy that Ingrid Paulson is back to YA with a stellar YA contemporary. I have missed books that are set in a boarding school, so this was an absolute delight to read. Add to that a hate to love romance that was done beautifully, I was thrilled with the execution of this book. Why I Loathe Sterling Knight tells the story of Harper, a staunch rule-follower, who is very much of a determined, and hardworking young woman. Though I know some people will struggle with her from time to time, I really enjoyed Harper’s character because I saw bits and pieces of myself in her. Despite how rule-driven and no-nonsense she is, she’s a young woman with a lot of vulnerabilities, that she tries not to show in public. Her devotion and love for her twin, Cole, was one of the highlights of the story for me. The whole plot of Why I Loathe Sterling Knight was centered around this bond of theirs, though it faces some rough obstacles. I wasn’t always keen on Cole’s side shenanigans, to be honest, but it wasn’t enough to take away from my enjoyment of the story. Sterling was the complete opposite of Harper. He drove me mad in the beginning, but I slowly warmed up to his character as his intentions were revealed. His and Harper’s dynamic was full of hate-to-love banter and I loved it. The romance definitely had a slow-burn quality to it that I enjoyed. I’m sometimes iffy about hate-to-love romances because they can be toxic if not written properly, but with Harper and Sterling, it was done very well. The pranks they pull each other, the witty back-and-forth dialogue and the chemistry between the two were great! Definitely add Why I Loathe Sterling Knight to your TBR if you’re a fan of unique heroines, and heroes who push their buttons.
Profile Image for Danielle's.
Author 1 book140 followers
June 20, 2017
I knew when I read the title this book was going to be for me. I love a hate relationship. Sterling rubs Harper the wrong way from the second she meets him. I mean who does he think he is!

Harper follows her own rules which include studying, looking after her brother and keeping on target. She keeps her head in books and her mind on her education. That is until Cole her twin brother gets a new dormitory mate. Sterling is a bad influence right from the start, and Harper is happy to put him in his place. This means war! Sterling is too cocky to take Harper's handouts without retaliation.
I love this book. Harper and Sterling are both great characters. Harper is the ultimate geek and Sterling is the perfect enemy. 5 out of 5.

I received an ARC copy of this book as part of the chapter by chapter blog tour. My review is in no way influenced by this fact. My blog tour date is the 21st June. Please check out my blog on this date for more about this book.
Profile Image for Moriah.
703 reviews87 followers
May 25, 2017
**I received an ARC of this book from Entangled Teen in exchange for an honest review**

Gilmore Girls
and 10 Things I Hate About You fans rejoice! This is the book you’ve been waiting for. With enough wit and sarcasm to fill the Atlantic, it’s Paris Geller and Logan Huntzberger’s love story—and after reading this book, I’ve decided that should have been a thing!

Harper Campbell lived by a strict set of rules, 537 to be exact. Her thorny exterior and achingly honest personality complimented her monastic existence, which was how she liked it. As long as she had her twin brother, Cole, her detailed outlines, and the rules stuffed inside her head to guide her along her way, she didn’t need anyone else. The world she crafted to suit her purposes of an Ivy League school and the next Attorney General came crashing down when Sterling Lane sauntered into History, disheveled and as handsome and dangerous as sin. I liked Harper, a lot actually. Even though going into this book one could suspect she would be an unrelatable character, I found it easy to connect with her, especially when she entered the battle of wits with Sterling. She was funny and honest to a fault—and she had no remorse about it. She owned up to who she was and didn’t need other’s validation.

Sterling Lane’s antics made me giddy. He tested Harper’s limits, and I love anyone who can enjoy sarcasm—not just enjoy it: thrive off it. If you know me in real life, I’m an honest to a fault and a sarcastic person. Sterling is the guy that anyone who can hold his or her own like a Gilmore would appreciate. Now, he did have his faults. I got to know him page after page, understand the person he was, and fell head over heels for him the more I learned about his true personality, the guy hidden beneath frayed boat shoes and a recalcitrant smirk. I understood why every girl on campus swamped him with adoration, but I fell on Harper’s side of things. I got why she wouldn’t want to. His arrogance carefully concealed his inner depths, and it took at least half of the book for her to discern something beneath the surface—to just look long enough and notice that it existed. Trite as it may be, he was the bad boy with depth, and I enjoyed discovering each new thing about Sterling Lane.

The relationship with Harper and her twin, Cole, teetered precariously on the edge of destruction. Harper’s weak subject was Cole, as Rule 1 stated that she did anything to protect him first and foremost. If you start out this book wondering if Harper has a heart, Cole proved that she did. I liked the relationship they had and how far she went to protect him. It showed loyalty and brotherly love. I would like to know more about Cole’s character, because while a large reason for Sterling and Harper’s interaction hinged on his choices, he played in the background more than front and center. I’m hoping above all else that this isn’t the last time that I’ll see Sterling and Harper and maybe get more of Cole in the process.

Harper managed to make one friend in the book, an unlikely ally: Kendall Frank, resident popular girl. They had a wonderful way about them and a rare friendship that didn’t make a lot of sense. I liked how Kendall saw something different in Harper than anyone else and how she clung onto that and created a friendship with her. Both of them didn’t go together, which made them perfect for each other.

Why I Loathe Sterling Lane—more like Why I Can’t Get Enough of Him. The chapter headers are brilliant and detail the reasons she hates them, true to Harper’s nature. It added a dash of flair that made the book that much better and gave an indication of what to expect chapter to chapter. I’m wishing on every star in the sky that there is more to Sterling and Harper’s story and can’t wait to dive in, if so. Harper Campbell would do Paris Gellar proud, and Sterling would no doubt be the ring leader of the Life and Death Brigade.
Profile Image for michelle (magical reads).
838 reviews217 followers
May 9, 2022
3.5 stars

read on my blog

**I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

I have Feelings™ about Why I Loathe Sterling Lane okay, it's been 5 days and I'm still not over it tbh.

Harper Campbell and her twin brother, Cole, attend a boarding school where Harper is the top of their class (thanks to 537 Rules that she lives by) and Cole is the star lacrosse player. Harper's life is running pretty perfectly until she finds out that Cole is short for the money he promised to raise for a new weight room. And. Legendary Sterling Lane has transferred to their school and seems hellbent on ruining Harper's life; first, he's Cole's new roommate and might be "corrupting" him. Then he insists on Harper writing his notes and his work because of his "illnesses." Sterling is generally the antithesis of Harper's Rules. On top of all this, Harper gets a new roommate, Kendall, after living without one all year.

At first, Harper and Sterling's relationship of pranking and generally irritating each other somewhat unnerved me because it seemed a bit too antagonistic without having a good reason. And Harper was pretty against all girls, especially Kendall, who is the prettiest, most popular girl in their grade. So yeah, I wasn't that into this book at first.

And then the second half happened.

Harper and Sterling's hostile relationship pretty much petered out so that the pranks were more in fun, and Harper starts to realize that Kendall is more than she seems, so there goes the female animosity. She befriends her later and they end up working together on some of the pranks. And!!! Harper defends Kendall's outer appearance of a "bubblehead" to her boyfriend when he makes a flippant comment.

More good things about this book: all throughout it, Harper recognizes a lot of the sexism around her, such as when Sterling is excused from his behavior because "boys will be boys," and when her dad dismisses Harper's worrying about Cole because "girls overreact all the time." She also isn't typically "feminine," which Sterling points out sometimes and she defends her own decisions (although Sterling's comments bother me at times but more on that later).

But the best thing about this book? Four words: Hate. To. Love. Relationship.

Hands down, the romance was my favorite part of this book. Again, it's been 5 days, and I cannot stop thinking about Harper and Sterling. This book was probably one of the best with this trope in it to be honest. I don't want to spoil anything, but trust me. This book is worth it for the ship.

The only thing I didn't quite like was Sterling's sexist comments. Whenever Harper would point them out, he would apologize, but then he would make another one later? I don't know, I just feel like sometimes he didn't really feel remorse about them, leading to not a lot of character development with him.

I really loved this book despite some of its flaws. I really want to reread it, honestly, but I should probably wait till it officially releases . . . but who cares? Anyway, if you like private school books (which I do) or hate-to-love relationships (which I LOVE), you should definitely pick this book up on June 6!
Profile Image for T. Rosado.
1,676 reviews41 followers
March 22, 2020


I LOVE this book! It is immensely entertaining and smart. It helps that enemies-to-love is one of my most favorite romance tropes, because this book took that trope to such a height that I couldn't imagine a way down. Yet, Ingrid Paulson pulls it off with aplomb. Did I mention that this book is smart? I love when an author doesn't question the intelligence of their young adult readers and creates a non-patronizing story. One that not only entertains its intended audience, but also older readers. Yes, the main characters give off Ferris Bueller vibes by out-smarting adults with their craftiness and skirting of the rules, but those are some of the most enjoyable moments. A must-read for those who enjoy YA romance with comedy and swoon.
Profile Image for Kira Simion.
819 reviews126 followers
Want to read
June 16, 2019
Annika’s review interested me and now I’m curious! Thank you Annika. :)
Profile Image for Suze.
1,878 reviews1,311 followers
June 13, 2017
Harper Campbell lives by her own rules, she has 537 of them in total and she knows them all by heart. She's a serious student and never gets in trouble. Harper and her twin brother Cole are going to the same small boarding school. Harper's behavior there has always been exemplary, however, when Sterling Lane transfers to her school, after being suspended from many other boarding schools, this changes. Since Sterling's appearance in his life Cole has been in serious trouble and Harper blames Sterling for dragging her brother down. She hates him with a passion and she's determined to make him pay.

Getting back at Sterling means Harper has to break many of her own rules and she even goes far enough to break those of the school. Harper isn't afraid to fight dirty and is convinced Sterling needs to be taught a lesson. While trying to win every battle they fight, she discovers that Sterling has another side as well and she might even like some parts of his personality. She also finds out Cole is having huge problems and Sterling is the only one who can help her to save her brother. Will they be able to work together as a team and what will happen when they try?

Why I Loathe Sterling Lane is a funny romantic story with fabulous main characters. Harper is serious, stiff and brutally honest. She always tells people the truth in a snide way and often steps on their toes in the process. She doesn't have friends, but she loves Cole and does everything she can to protect him. I loved her loyalty and her willingness to go far to keep him safe. She's incredibly intelligent and she finally meets her match when Sterling transfers to her school. He's smart and cunning and his confidence never seems to waver. They have amazing chemistry and I loved their bickering. Their fights are interesting, the dialogue is humoristic and their pranks are hilarious. I love how Ingrid Paulson makes her characters come to life and really enjoyed reading about their antics.

Why I Loathe Sterling Lane is a book about two resourceful people and I loved the creative way Ingrid Paulson writes about her main characters. Her story is entertaining and I laughed out loud several times while reading it. The trouble Cole is in adds a nice layer of depth to the story. I read it in one sitting, I liked it so much that I couldn't put it down. Why I Loathe Sterling Lane is a clever story with charming main characters and a fantastic sweet ending. I really liked this wonderful book.
Profile Image for Michelle .
1,998 reviews226 followers
June 19, 2017
**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: https://bookbriefs.net**Why I Loathe Sterling Lane is a young adult contemporary romance by Ingrid Paulson. Why I Loathe Sterling Lane felt kind of like 10 Things I hate about you, which is a movie that I love. It was a really fun read, and I would love to see more from these characters. Why I Loathe Sterling Lane is a standalone novel, but I really want to see a second book, maybe when Harper and Sterling are in college. That would be a lot of fun.

Why I Loathe Sterling Lane is the story of Harper and Sterling. It is told from Harper's point of view. Harper lives her life by a crazy, and rigid set of rules. Sterling Lane comes blowing into her life and throws all of her rules into chaos. I got a total kick out of Harper and Sterling. They were so similar it was kind of scary. I liked that they recognized that in one another as well. One of my favorite parts of the book was when Sterling turns to Harper after she just executed her revenge prank, and instead of getting mad he said, well I'm surprised. I had no idea we would be friends. It just cracked me up because they totally loved riling each other up, and watching them admit that to themselves was great.

There were a couple of things that irked me about the book. The first was the cover model. I love the cover of Why I Loathe Sterling Lane, but the young lady did not match the description of Harper and that bugged me. Harper is supposed to have very short choppy dark hair and green eyes. The girl on the cover has medium brown long and brown eyes. I just wished the cover artist did a better job matching, but other than that the cover is beautiful. It is very much a style that I love. The second thing was as much as I loved the enemy portion of Harper and Sterling's relationship, I really wanted to see more of the romance. The romance that was included was great but it was smashed into the end of the book. I want more. Like I said earlier, I really want another book now that Sterling and Harper have realized that they like one another. I think with the two of them, it would be so much fun.

Harper is a good sister. Sure, she is crazy and uptight, but she really cares about her brother and she would clearly do anything for him. Harper got such a bad rep in the book for being crazy, and while she did have her tendencies and she certainly went way too far a time or two, I think she was misunderstood. I really liked her, and I wished that her brother was a little better to her in the start of the story. She was constantly on his side, and it seemed like he was quick to see the worst in Harper and that bummed me out. But their dynamic got a lot better as the story went on and we got to see just how deep the stuff her brother was involved in. Then everything made a lot more sense.

Bottom line: Why I Loathe Sterling Lane was a fun, antics and prank filled enemies romance that I stayed up late into the night to finish. I really enjoyed this one. It was a little over the top at times, but it was always a lot of fun. There was a great romance thrown in but it doesn't develop until pretty late in the story, so just hang on and wait for it. I would love to see another book in the series featuring Harper and Sterling. They are truly a perfect match.

This review was originally posted on Book Briefs
Profile Image for Malin.
1,408 reviews71 followers
December 9, 2017
It's probably safe to say that Harper Campbell has a Type A personality. In fact, in order to cope after the death of her mother, Harper has developed exactly 537 rules that help keep her life orderly and predictable, both academically and socially (not that she has much of a social life to speak of). Her first rule is to always take care of her twin brother, Cole, who seems to have gotten himself into some fairly serious trouble recently. Harper is convinced that the reason Cole is in trouble involves his new roommate, Sterling Lane, who has become rather infamous over the years, being expelled from more expensive schools that one can count. While Cole warmly defends and praises his new roommate, and the school administration seem very convinced that Mr Lane has turned over a new leaf and is a reformed character, Harper sees him for the dangerous delinquent that he really is and is determined to expose his sins to the world.

To prove that Sterling is bad news, Harper keeps being forced to break one or several of her precious rules, only to find that Sterling is always two steps ahead of her, usually framing her for something much worse than she's trying to get him reported for. But while Harper is so very determined to bring Sterling Lane down, she forgets about her first and most important rule, and Cole's troubles keep getting worse. He may end up getting expelled and/or facing criminal charges. Harper has no choice but to swallow her animosity and actually work together with her nemesis to prove Cole's innocence. She may discover that she and Sterling Lane aren't so different after all, in fact, they seem to be two sides of a rather devious coin. And perhaps she doesn't entirely and completely loathe him either.

Over the years, it's become very clear to me that the "enemies to lovers" trope is a favourite of mine in romance, going all the way back to Pride and Prejudice. Protagonists who initially can't stand each other, and who often work so very hard to one up each other, only to discover that their intense dislike stems from mutual attraction - it needs to be a pretty badly written story for that not to work for me. Here we have the trope at a posh boarding school involving clever teenagers rather than adults, but it still worked for me. The entire book is told from Harper's point of view, so we are entirely left to her impressions over the course of the story. Each chapter is headed with one of the many reasons Harper has for loathing Sterling, who really does come across as rather unpleasant and infuriating during their first encounters. Not that Harper is a picture of cordiality and friendliness towards him either.

As the book progresses, it becomes clear that Harper is a bit of an unreliable narrator, because her first impression of Sterling is so bad, and even before meeting him, she's pre-judged him based on rumours of his past exploits. The reader pretty quickly figures out that Sterling goes out of his way to confirm all of Harper's worst expectations of him and has far too much fun matching wits with her and provoking her into more and more outrageous actions. It also becomes clear that while he's not exactly an angel, he's not necessarily the irredeemable "bad boy" he first appears and that there are reasons for many of his past actions that he doesn't feel comfortable sharing with most people.

While Sterling seems a bit douchy and devious at first, it's clear that Harper has a huge amount of growing up to do as well. With the exception of Cole, and a few of his friends who vaguely tolerate her, she barely has a social life to speak of, and is known as "Harper the Hag" by many of her peers. Living her life after her rigid rules and with an absolutely insanely detailed schedule for when to study each subject and how much, she's not exactly a barrel of laughs, and could absolutely stand to lighten up massively. With the arrival of Sterling and Cole's sudden foray into shady business, her life is thrown into chaos, at least compared to her normal, regimented schedule. When she also acquires an unexpected roommate, one of her former tormentors and popular girls at school, Kendall, she further has to soften up slightly. Kendall isn't your typical Mean Girl, she does in fact genuinely apologise for her earlier treatment of Harper, and while they clearly don't become BFFs right away, it's clear that Kendall comes to appreciate Harper's no-nonsense bluntness, while Harper is just so desperately in need of a friend who she's not related to, who can give her some much needed advice and tell her when she's getting too bitchy.

I've seen several people on Goodreads comparing the relationship dynamic in this book with 10 Things I Hate About You, which is still one of my all-time favourite teen movies and romantic comedies (RIP Heath Ledger, *sob*). I absolutely see the similarities, and like with Kat, who starts out as a somewhat abrasive, but awesome and confident female character and ends up not actually having changed all that much, but maybe learned to take herself a bit less seriously, she gets the guy without changing anything major about herself. At the end of this book, Harper is still very much an ambitious, intelligent goal-orientated young woman who is determined to keep her rules (although she has learned that it's not the end of the world if she breaks one or two occasionally). She's made a proper friend and found a romantic interest who loves her for who she inherently IS, not who she could change into. It's obvious that Sterling has no interest in some new, laid-back and different Harper, and that while they can bring out the worst in one another, when working together, they can be a brilliant team and encourage the best in each other too.

TL, DR - this is a really fast and fun read which can be recommended if you want a good YA romance.

Judging a book by its cover: This is a really generic YA cover, clearly thrown together by someone who hasn't read the book, because if they HAD read the book, they would have known that neither of the protagonists look anything like the sullen and bored-looking teens on this cover. It's even a bit of a plot point that Harper has a very short, severe haircut, and the guy who I guess is supposed to be Sterling? He doesn't even look like he's a teenager, more like some disaffected 20-something. Awful cover for what was a pretty excellent little YA book.
Profile Image for Mads.
68 reviews59 followers
October 27, 2018
For lovers of YA


Ed Sheeran – Perfect



Reason 1: No one, and I mean NO ONE, delays the start of class.

Since second grade Harper Campbell ensured that she was the perfect student!



Harper created a list of 537 rules to ensure that she would remain the perfect daughter and student and nothing will get between her future plans or those rule. Since her mother’s death when Harper was in second grade her first rule was her brother Cole, always looking out for him.

As the years progressed as well as her set rules she was called “Harper the Hag” by the cool confident students, reason → she got the captain of the basketball team suspended just before regional finals because he been failing 3 subjects! Harper and her brother had some fights as well because of her set of rules.

Her life was perfectly mapped out, or so she thought, that was until she met Sterling Lane, and from the first day they met he interrupted Harper’s perfect day in History class and from that day he started upsetting her perfect 537 rules.

Sterling the total opposite of Harper was expelled by most of the prestige schools, always getting in trouble wherever he went, but with a quick smile and a big heart and easy going personality and good looks it was easy getting what he wants, EXCEPT HARPER!


Harper's feelings towards Sterling:

Every muscle in my body convulsed in conflicted horror. All at once. I had a Sterling Lane-induced seizure.
I took out my notebook and documented every detail of Sterling Lane’s depravity.

Sterling Lane wasn’t just an annoyance – he was a public menace. And I had every intention of staying as far away from him as out tiny campus would allow.

But will it even be possible for her to stay away from Sterling, when her brother and him became best friends almost instantly?

This read have many twist and turns how Sterling riled Harper, and with ever twist and turn added had this huge smile to my face.


Kygo, Selena Gomez - It Ain't Me

My feelings while reading this:
To say to people I loved Harper will be a lie, she really irritated me, in some chapters more than others, she did developed and for that I was glad, otherwise this would have been a really low star rating from me, and her character development is also what made me like the book in the end!

THIS IS a good YA romance, there were times I laughed so hard, the author created a exciting world where a teenager who live according to her 537 rules, learned that life is not based on rules, and sometimes you need to break your own rules to learn how to live and enjoy your life.


gnash - i hate u, i love u ft. olivia o'brien


To the author:

Brilliantly written YA romance.

ARC received via Netgalley for honest Opinion
Profile Image for Deniz.
1,140 reviews100 followers
June 5, 2017
Great cute & fluffy that hits all the high school hate to love notes.

Why I Loathe Sterling Lane reminded me of some of my favorite teen movies. In the best way possible. I really enjoyed reading it.
But and there is always a but, it reminded me of teen movies. A lot.
So while it is possibly not the most innovative, it does have quite a bit of cliche in there after all, it is however very entertaining. I really enjoyed reading it. In fact so much so that I read it in practically one sitting. Which seems a rather rare thing for me these days.
This is mainly due to the fun plot but also because of the great and witty writing of Paulson. I loved her humor and this had me chuckling to myself on several occasions.
The character building was at the beginning rather expected. So quite typecast. But as the book went on we got more layers to MCs and the support cast. I ended up really liking the crew. I should mention that this is told from POV view. And she was beyond judgmental and put everyone into a box in the beginning. But she does end up seeing different sides to herself and the others, she does significant character growth during the course of the book, which is why I ended up liking her a lot. But even when I felt she was full of it, I could relate. Her insecurities were relatable. I just couldn't relate to her rigidity and her overzealousness. I mean I am Mrs. procrastination after all... writing outlines before a class? Has never and will never happen.
My biggest issue with the character building however, was that they felt much older not like 17year old kids... Even their pranks ect. They just didn't seem high schoolers, they felt like last year in college
. It is a minor thing I know.

Why I loathe Sterling Lane was fun, cute, adorable and everything else I want from a cute & fluffy. A must read!
Profile Image for Laura.
1,379 reviews13 followers
June 6, 2017
This is an awesome story for anyone who loves YA books!!

Harper is a Type A rule follower. She has over 500 rules that she follows for how to live her life, has the student handbook of her boarding school memorized, and is quick to point out the infractions of any of her fellow classmates. Needless to say, Harper doesn't really have any friends with the exception of her twin brother, Cole. When Sterling Lane strolls in to Harper's favorite class, late!!, and is disruptive, she starts a list of all the reasons she hates him. By the time the book is over, there's almost 30 of them. Sterling is a classic bad-boy rule breaker. He couldn't be more opposite from Harper if he tried. But when Cole gets into some trouble, Harper and Sterling have to work together to help him and along the way, they learn that they aren't as different as they seem.

This story was adorable and once I started it, I couldn't put it down. I loved how Harper stayed true to herself but was also able to open up to others and finally make some friends. This was my first book by this author but I'll definitely be reading more by her in the future!!

*This is my voluntary review of an advanced reader copy*
Profile Image for Irma *Irma The Book Whisperer*.
1,477 reviews117 followers
December 31, 2017
There weren't sufficient words in the English language to describe the width and breadth of my feelings for Sterling Lane - hate, loathe, revile, despise. And if I had a thesaurus on hand, I wouldn't use it to refine the list. I'd hurl it right at his head.

This is basicaly how it goes. The banter and pranks between Harper and Sterling were the best part of this book.

Profile Image for Dee.
222 reviews12 followers
October 4, 2017
I liked this one a lot. It surprised me. It didn't fall for the usual tropes in YA, the popular girl was actually smart and nice and the main character didn't react to certain scenes that are typical in a YA romance.

The writing was elegant, the characters were complex, and the story didn't wasn't completely saturated with the romance, but instead held an actual plot.

Profile Image for BookAddict  ✒ La Crimson Femme.
6,640 reviews1,264 followers
May 10, 2021
This is a hard book to write a review for because I felt at times revolted and other times angry when I read the book. Full disclosure, this was a free book I won at Shameless 2018. This is also a YA book which is not a genre I read anymore. Not because I'm older, but because most times, characters are designed to be drama llamas. This seems to be less in high fantasy, which is the only YA I look forward to read. I digress.

Harper Campbell is a much reviled snotty know it all. Most of her classmates dislike her at her boarding school. It comes across as if Harper is on the spectrum of autism. Her need for order and her rules to help guide her give this feel. Harper is a loner and isolated because of her social ineptitude. And quite frankly, she doesn't give a damn. She has a plan and it is going to get her through school and protect her beloved twin brother. Her come crashing down when a new kid transfers into the school, Sterling Lane.

Sterling comes with a notorious rule breaker reputation. His first interaction with Harper is a disaster. He comes across as a pompous arrogant spoiled rich kid. If he is supposed to be an anti-hero, he's been designed a bit too well as just the anti. For the first third or so of the book, it details the explosive battles between Sterling and Harper. Harper's twin is caught in the middle. At this point in the story, I'm about at a DNF with possible a zero star or 1 star review. The cruelty and sheer meanness is being passed off as "can't you just take a joke"? For those of us who loathe practical jokes and April Fool's day pranks, these so called "jokes" will only cause a feeling of outrage and murderous intent. The author excelled at creating a hostile bullying environment and then tried to convince both Harper and the readers that this is an acceptable behaviour because Sterling is "awesome" and popular. This is why I was revolted and angry throughout most of the book. I felt bad for Harper even if I didn't really like her character. The injustice of what was going on beneath the teachers' noses and condoned by other students is vile. If this were to happen in real life, other kids would be popping popcorn and watching the show. In real life, my bet would be Harper gets sexually violated and then blamed for being a slut. That's how bad in taste this book was going for me. Fortunately, that is not what happens.

As the two enemies fight, they start learning more about each other. Details are revealed about Sterling which help explain the reason for his madness. In summary, the characters in this book are petty assholes for the most part and they can't communicate directly and cut out the bullshit. Because if they state their true intent, the adults are even bigger assholes and will make sure what they want is denied. This entire world is a dysfunctional drama that seems to be carried over in reality. Our love for reality TV shows only reinforces this kind of bad human behaviour.

The last third of the book brings the story together if a little unbelievably. We need to suspend our disbelief and believe that under that nasty exterior, Sterling is an admirable guy with a noble reason. So is the message here looks can be deceiving. And that everyone has a deeper motive that if a patient and understanding person were to spend time to learn and listen, life would be better? Or perhaps the author just wanted to set up an enemies to lovers romance. Regardless of my ill at ease and disgust, this book is well written. The story flowed well and the characters are well designed if a bit despicable. The ending is a lovely conclusion. Sterling's uncle and father are intriguing and more interesting to me based on this small glimpse. Then again, they may just be older Sterling with the same lack of immaturity and convoluted style of communication. This book is for YA readers who enjoy drama, practical jokes and enemies to lovers themes.
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