I had a plan to survive my senior year. Too bad Jackson High’s star quarterback BLEW. IT. UP.
Last year, I was the most hated girl at my old school. This year, my plan was to lay low, keep to myself and graduate.
My plan was working. Until the day I ran into Dax DeLeon.
It’s impossible to stay invisible when the most popular guy at school claims I’m his girlfriend. Did I mention his ex—the head cheerleader and the most popular girl in school—wants him back?
Now I’ve got a fake boyfriend. And a target on my back. Again.
But what’s scaring me the most… If this thing with Dax is fake—why does being with him feel so real?
Ali & the Too Hot, Up-to-No Good, Very Beastly Boy is a Sweet YA romantic comedy about a nerdy bowler, a hot quarterback, a possible case of mistaken identity, a bunny-napping, ransom notes, a failed ransom drop, thievery, and mean girls being mean.
But mostly about a boy and a girl learning to trust.
*Warning: this book has a romance so sweet you'll get an urge to call your dentist.*
Grab your copy today!
Coming next in the Jackson High Series: Where the Wild Boyfriends Are (Grady & Lacey, Bad Boy & the Good Girl) If You Give a Boy a Kiss (Kingsly & Bernadette, Teen Heartthrob & the Tomboy) The Velveteen Girlfriend (TJ & Shaylynn, Best Friend & the Ugly Duckling)
M.L. Collins has done stuff. Good stuff. Bad stuff. Fun stuff. Boring stuff. She believes in true love, laughing loud and often, being kind, and assuming the best in people until they show her otherwise.
She loves classic rock, old Motown, and ’90s country music. Just try to stop her from dancing. Although, please don’t, because she loves dancing. (But, for the love of Pete, do stop her from singing; only people who love her dearly should have to suffer through that.)
She hates naps, dill pickles, and scary movies. Loves windy days, dogs, and LOTR. She’s an unashamed lover of sprinkles on cupcakes.
M.L. loves reading and writing quirky sweet romance novels that makes you snicker, swoon, and sigh.
The Nerd was no real nerd. She liked bowling and was good at it. It was more like unpopular girl against the queen bee. The queen bee did not want to accept that the Quarterback did not like here, because she has a bad character. The book was pretty predictable, had all the things you expect from a Highschool book. The FMC had to change schools, after her mother, who was a teacher at the old school, had an affair with another teacher, who was a football coach and working with her football coach husband. After a student walked in on them, things became nasty for Ali, because her friends turned against her, the rest of the school too and her parents were getting a divorce. With one football coach down the football team was in trouble. And the students made Ali responsible for this. We never get the detail and there seems to be no reason for it. Then the pressure breakes Ali and the Dad quits his job, to look after his daughter. And again Ali is blamed.
With this background she keeps to herself only does a lot of bowling on her own and on a team in school. She meets the Quarterback and he proposes a fake relationship to her.
The book was a solid 3 star read, nothing spectacular, no unexpected twists and a lots of bad decisions.
I needed a cheesy, teen, Romcom to cleanse for a more serious book. I have been reading historical fiction so much these last few weeks that I need something light and airy to be able to get out of a reading slump.
This book contained several of my pet peeves.
1.“Quirky” or different from other girls (Though I will give Dax credit when he said different from the girls he hangs out with.) 2. A person who talks in the third person. 3. The guy’s POV is not as well written as the girl’s POV (While Ali comes off snarky, Dax comes off as annoying.) 4. No communication I liked Ali and if this book was told from Ali’s POV alone I would have liked this more. I will say the one thing I didn’t like about Ali was the positive affirmations. I’m not one for affirmations. I know they work for some people but to me, it’s hogwash, and apparently for Ali as well because normally she is thinking something snarky after having said affirmation. The other thing about Ali was how she faked being okay around her dad.
Ali isn’t that nerdy. Like at all. But I still think the banter between her and Dax was cute in some areas. Also, I want to say thank you to Ms. Collins for writing a parent who doesn’t live vicariously through their child. Thank you!!
The beginning of this book was a mess, but the ending was cute. Not going to continue on with the series because it doesn’t have any couples I look forward to getting to know.
You’ll feel the romance in the air while reading this book. This book was exciting, dramatic, and marvellous. The book really dug deep into relationships. Not just romanticly, but it really showed how far friends would go for you.
This book is a high school romance novel and has two complete perspectives, The “Nerd” and the “Quarterback” as the quarterback, he really enjoys being a quarterback, and does have the perspective that it is all he can do, he strives for a scholarship with football and hopes to achieve that without his toxic ex-girlfriend from jumping back into his life, The nerd, on the other hand, had a super protective father who hopes for the best for his daughter hoping for her to have an amazing boyfriend and super popular. Never expecting to bump into each other, their lives somehow become intertwined, with drama involved and love.
This author using two perspectives used a lot of inner emotion and the difference of what the head believes and what the heart wants. Taking advantage of the perspective taken in the novel, the author can use a lot of inner think, she weaves in many emotions and beliefs in between conversations. As many people say: “There are two sides to every story” This author really used that saying and showed the thinking and different actions per person.
This is a book of love, showing your true emotions, experiencing a different environment. You step into the story when you read it. Live another llife when you open the book!
It was a cute, sweet read. It was exactly what I was expecting and looking for. It was a great break from some of those heavy, tense reads out there. I am glad that I picked this one up. The characters are relatable, and just trying to figure out life. I will definitely be reading more by this author.
BEFORE READING THIS REVIEW: Hi, Hello. I am a fairly bitter, 21 year old university student from England. I like to read lighthearted romance to escape the fact that I am trying to get a 1st in a degree on Creative Writing & Film Studies in the middle of a pandemic and haven't seen my boyfriend in person since November. If you want to read an easy book and can suspend reality enough to read something incredibly unrealistic, you'll probably like this book. If you want an easy book that is lighthearted, not the best piece of literature but still well-written and cute, please find any book other than this one. This did not relax me. The only pleasure I got from this book was channelling my bitter, English banter and mockery into ripping this book a new one. For full effect of this mockery and you're 15+, go and read my kindle highlights filled with much of my swear-filled commentary.
To put it plainly, I hated this book. That's something I don't say often. As a writer, knowing how much goes into writing a book - I don't like saying it. But there's no other way to describe how I feel. I almost didn't finish it but I just kept hoping it'd change.
But no? Now, my Kindle Notes & Highlights for this book go into a lot more detail than I could ever force myself to relive in this review. What I can say though is: .
I'm not the biggest fan of Dax - ahem, sorry: ~Dax DeLeon~ (cause y'know, apparently normal people call every single person by their full name, always. everyday. even if you've know them since you were a baby), however, I felt so bad for him. This book is not feminist. Feminism is not attempting to do everything without the help of a man because "who runs the world? Girls." Feminism is pure equality, for all genders. A relationship is working together as a partnership, a team - not "I will do everything by myself". Dax gets blamed for everything - despite, actually, not doing anything wrong. Did he jump her into being his fake girlfriend? Yes, but honestly, not the worst thing that happens in this book. Compared to everything else that happens in this book, that's like giving her a box of chocolates.
I also despised Ali (ahem ~Ali Frost~) more than Paige. At least Paige was honest about the fact that she was a bad person (somewhat).
I just - don't read this. Please don't. Don't read a book that: - Is 95% telling, because apparently "show not tell" is a piece of advice that was thrown out the window - Includes the quote "My Hypothalamus went into overdrive, shooting adrenaline through my veins". Firstly, your what-what? That's not how you describe a panic attack. Secondly, after speaking to my boyfriend who is much better than me at biology, the Hypothalamus doesn't even shoot it into your vein. So, it's overly written AND incorrect... and this is 4% of the way into the book. - Is apparently set in 2008, not 2020, where kids still say "newsflash" and "giiiiirrrrllll" every 2 seconds - Gave Texas the singular personality trait of "football - football - football - well in Texas, FOOTBALL". I'm English, I like American Football - many of my family and friends do, it's a game. Settle down. Or at least, DON'T SAY IT EVERY CHAPTER. WE GET IT. - That gives Riverdale a run for its money when Archie says the whole "You've never experienced the highs and lows of high school football" - yeah, Dax tries to beat that... not in a good way. - Just casually makes a dude leave his FENDER GUITAR in the middle of a carpark because, yes, OF COURSE THAT'S WHAT PEOPLE DO? - Makes a girl with frizzy curly hair tie her hair into a bun with an elastic band. Just... no. Someone give this girl a scrunchie. My frizzy curly hair cried reading this passage. - Had very weak "mean girl" insults. If you're gonna have insults, make them insulting. Unless all Americans are bad at this. Or, at least respond with a "your mum", because yes, that's the level of these insults.
- and those are just SOME of the highlights that I picked.
I had to re-read this! A sweet & yet funny romance between to unlikely couple. A somewhat newbie to the Jackaolopes school Ally Frost just wants yo finish her senior and start her college life fresh from her past old high school life. But, Dex Deleon soon set eyes on Ally and at first was intrigued by the girl who wasnt into his quarterback status and Flirty smile. But, can Ally’s past stay behind her during her last year of school? Or will their fake relationship blow in their faces?
This is a story of a bowling nerd and a quarterback, Ali the nerd is a bowling champion and Dax is a champion football player that did not notice each other until they meet in the same principal room . Ali did not like Dax at first but he needed help with a ex girlfriend and she need help with her dad that showed him she was doing good at school with making friendsafter her mom left them .This story was sweet and funny and some heart break too, I love it, would recommend this story to romance readers❤
I just wanted a little escapism and this book ticked that box. Bowling class in high school - that is fabulous, I would've happily swapped RE for bowling. That is perhaps the best thing about the book. I couldn't understand the whole situation with the item she needed to obtain, surely there was a better way of dealing with that situation.
This was such a great read! It made me laugh and have feels. As a total Romantic, this is added to my list of favorites.
Ali was a totally amazing character. She had her flaws but that only made her strengths so much more profound when she "threw balls to wall" 🤣 I've never enjoyed so much about bowling as I did in this book! Such an awesome read!
I really loved this book. The theme of the quarterback and the nerd was nothing special or new, but I loved the way the plot and story was spun differently. This book was refreshing. I really enjoyed reading it, and falling in love with the characters.
This really was such an adorable story. While the cover leaves a lot to be desired, the synopsis really drew me in. I am a sucker for a young adult sports romance and this one was delightful.
Right off the bat, I fell right into the author's storytelling. There was such an ease to it that really made the pages fly by. I really loved the plot of the story. I think that it was executed very well. The pacing of the story was a little off in some places. There were just some parts of the story that felt a little unbelievable because of timing issues. For instance, Ali makes friends with her bowling team in a matter of minutes and they are ride or die from that point on. Normally, it takes time to trust someone new and build a meaningful friendship so that part of the story, while endearing and quite lovely on the page, felt a little unbelievable due to timing in the story. The world-building was adequate for the character-driven story.
I really loved the main characters and their backstories in this book but I felt that they could have used a little more development to really sell it. Especially Dax. He could have really used a little more complexity. I identified with his struggles but he didn't really feel "real" to me. And that could have also been because of his personality. He was sweet but it almost felt like he was too sweet and that made it feel unrealistic. Teenage boys are not sweet one hundred percent of the time so it was like he had no flaws. Which again is unrealistic. His upbeat attitude did put a smile on my face, I just wish that there was more to it. I very much connected with Ali's character and could feel her pain and struggles right along with her. Some of the secondary characters stood out to me in the story while others kind of faded into the background or just didn't feel distinct. In the end, Dax and Ali had some significant character growth.
The romance in this book was so stinking cute. Dax was pretty much every mother's dream date for their daughter. He was kind, thoughtful, and very romantic. He was a gentleman and treated Ali with respect and reverence. Watching him fall for Ali was the most darling thing ever. I loved the bantering between Ali and Dax. They had very organic chemistry with one another.
Overall, this was an adorable young adult sports romance with a wonderful plot but could have used a little more development in some areas. I really enjoyed the story as a whole and I will more than likely pick up another book from this author in the future.
4 out of 5 stars, because surprisingly I didn’t mind it.
These kinds of books and plots are my guilty pleasure, because our high schools are not like this where I live. I kind of cringed at the generic, Wattpad title but I actually didn’t mind the writing.
Story is straight out of a Disney channel plot. Kind of made me bulk at times from frustration at the unrealistic nature of it. Stupid decisions were made, that could have 100% been avoided if you were mature about it but let’s not rip into it.
Dax was adorable, at least much more humanistic than what most author’s jock book boyfriends are who are supposedly in college, no less. He was fun, charming, winked a bit too much (that’s cringe, I would’ve taken him with just his lop-sided grin). His love language is physical touch, so I found it adorable when he’d play with Ali’s hands or shirt hem, or give her a hug.
Ali was realistic, I actually really liked the way she was written. She was a nerd, sure, but reacted hormonally normal to a hot guy coming at you with full charm and force. Most author’s would just either write the heroine as someone who is repulsed or didn’t know about the popular QB which is like? I don’t know I get confused when author’s write like that, ideally they’d know about the most popular guy in school. Anyway. There are times when I facepalmed over the things she said or her decisions but I guess if I was her age then maybe I would’ve thought through things the same way. Can’t put a finger on how I feel about that.
I think I liked the was Dax was written a little bit more though. In the words of Rowena, Ali’s friend: “Ooooooh giiiiirl. He fineeee.”
Another thing I liked about this type of book that most author’s miss is that she explores the football culture, she writes about the perspective of Dax while he is QB and making play calls. We rarely see that in these QB books. I love American football, I don’t know everything that needs to be known about it but I like when author’s dig deep in that lens. I don’t just want to know that the hero is a QB, he is feeling pressure and that he goes to training which is what I feel authors do. They just cop out on detail. But Collins took it upon herself to give us a field perspective which I appreciate and wish more author’s did.
I liked the story, wouldn’t mind to read it as a part of my guilty pleasure pile.
This book was a serious disappointment considering this is one of my favorite tropes. It started off so strong too but then about 35% of the way started to go downhill. FAST. At 50% I started skimming and then I gave up at 72%.
The biggest problem is the characters are caricatures. They're there. They're talking, but there is zero depth. Even the whole divorce thing was bland as hell. There was also zero chemistry between the H and h which was the reason I gave up. I might have been able to wade through it if there was at least SOME kind of connection. Even the new friends were just sooo boring and if I had to read giiiirl one more time... Also as a little tip, 1st person fiction shouldn't talk to the readers. By that I mean "you" shouldn't be used unless it's in dialogue but this book did it A LOT.
The book was basically all tell and now show so I'll leave you with the excerpt that put the nail in this book's coffin:
It didn’t end the way we’d hoped though. Here’s a quick rundown: We got to the impound lot ten minutes before it opened. Hid behind a hedge of oleander bushes to peek through the fence while we waited. Heard the snarling dog. Got scared. Dragged our inner barracudas back. A car pulled up. Guess who? Turk. Some guy (probably Goon #2) dropped him off. We freaked out, the killer guard dog charged us, and we freaked out some more. Ran to the car. Quickly decided we’d simply follow Turk when he drove off and grab the playbook from his trunk. Or from his fat, beefy hands if necessary. Looked around. Mari’s missing! Mari jumped in the car with the killer guard dog in her arms. Eeek! Ro peed her pants. We were all “OMG, Mari! You stole the dog?” Mari was all “I didn’t steal it. I rescued it. Poor thing had a huge chain around its neck, no water bowl, and its ribs are sticking out.” Turk drove out of the lot and I fired up Milo and followed him. We ended up parked one house down from his. Turk got out of his car, caressed the front hood (not kidding), ripped a huge fart (gross!) and went inside his house. Phew! Are you with me?
See what I mean? By the way, this ^ is added between two scenes. It literally could have been its own chapter and would have at least added some action and entertainment instead of being word vomited at the reader.
The story follows Ali and Dax, who are on completely different sides of the social ladder that is high school, him being the quarterback and her a bowling nerd. Their relationship starts out as pretend, both with their own reasons, yet they obviously progress into more. Throw in his jealous, cheerleader and mean girl ex, as well as Ali being antisocial and skeptical of trusting people due to her last experience of bullying and betrayal. There is also a plot of betrayal regarding his teams playbook and her being framed, but at the end it all comes down to trust and both being blindsided by wanting the relationship to actually be real.
Thoughts? Keeping in mind that the book is set in high school with the female lead being afraid of bullying and betrayal, you totally understand her skepticism towards him. Dax on the other hand is sweet and even surprised when he noticed her, he couldn't unsee her and he was shocked about his feelings. Although it all sounds cute and nice, there is still the big issue of trust, her wanting to give it and him believing he trusts her until he jumps at the chance not to.
The good part of the story is that it's told from both perspectives so you can see their train of thoughts, and their intentions behind their actions. What was really sweet was the emphasis on friendship, how she learned to put herself out there and make friends, and how she chose and amazing group that instantly took her in and helped her, showing her the good side of friendship and having people to rely on.
Overall - it's a sweet book focused on friends, trust and love, you can even say it touches a bit of self discovery, what each character wants and how to handle expectations and ideals.
Ahhh I just finished it and this has been such a sweet book and story. 😍😍
I loved to read it from the POVs of the two main characters as their relationship and conversations were so freaking entertaining and unique in their own cute way. I mean you probably thing this is a typical fake-boyfriend-to-lovers trope and that you could see the ending coming. But the big difference in it is the amazingly diverse journey this story takes you on in order to make it to the end. That's also why I still love my favorite tropes so much and can't get enough of them!!🥰🥰 Ali's been through so much trouble and had her own issues besides the main plot line and it was the same with Dax. They both had to get through some tough stuff and also found their way of fixing each other with a little honest and straight up help and truth at a time. I liked how them being together made them also better people on their own and not just them as a couple. They grew up and faced all their obstacles head-on.
I also freaking loved the bowling team aka Ali's friends. The were hilarious and fierce and just so freaking out of this world that there was no way around them blowing your mind. Each of them was a bit of a weirdo in their own way, but they excepted each other just the way they were, put up with each BS and got each others back. I love them slowly growing into this amazingly fierce team, finally believing in themselves while also forming one of the most beautiful friendships for their whole life.
So if you love your cutesy high school love stories that have a Happy End saved up for you or ar in the mood for a fluffy cozy little feel good story this one is definitely a sweet pick! 😉❤️❤️
Super cute and fun High School Romance! I've been on a HS Romance binge lately even though I used to try and avoid them for the "awkward" factor. This book doesn't have that, at all. Ali is a bowling ace who recently transferred to Jackson High. Dax is the football QB and everything that entails. Except.. is that really true? When he's given a chance to stay "nice" *AND* have Ali pretend to be his gf, he takes it. He's just as surprised as she is when she plays long. I loved Dax. He's a sweet boy who tries to do the kind thing first every time. Ali is called the nerd of the story, but I don't think someone on the bowling team is necessarily a "nerd." Either way, she's adorable.
This book is a pretend couple trope where both characters break that "4th wall" and talk to the reader as if they were watching a movie scene together. If that irritates you, avoid the book-- it happens consistently. I didn't mind it at all; in fact, I thought the break throughs were very well written and enjoyed the interaction. Cannot wait for the next in the series.
Coming out of a rumor-filled high school, Ali starts off fresh at a different one. Equipped with a plan to lay low, finish senior year being invisible, while focusing on a bowling scholarship, she’s thrown for a loop when the football team’s quarterback bumps into her. Dax is intrigued by Ali’s uniqueness and being that he’s so over his nagging ex-girlfriend, he ropes Ali into a fake relationship. What does Ali get out of this? What happened to her laying low? And of course, what about the feelings?
Ah, I am a huge fan of the fake dating trope, especially in YA romances. But, the chemistry in this one fell off for me. Hate to say it. There was some good dialogue, some banter here and there, but the way they came about the fake relationship... eh. Luckily, it was a quick read. I’m sad I couldn’t get into it. I could’ve been slumpy after Beach Read or I was distracted. Either way, I’m still going to check out the next book in the series.
This was a high school, fake romance that turns into a real romance. Ali and Dax meet in the school office at the start of school. She is a new student transferring to the school. He is the quarterback and very popular. When he sees her, he is immediately intrigued by her. At the same time he’s trying to get rid of an ex who has become clingy. So after a few meetings, Dax and Ali pretend to date. Things go so well that the two decide that they really like each other and that they really do want to date each other. But, another scandal comes up and again Ali is caught right in the middle of it. She does something that causes Dax to doubt her and then she gets mad at Dax for not trusting her (even though she did exactly what she was accused of doing). That part kind of blew my mind. That’s when the book started to fall apart for me and got kind of ridiculous. All the beginning was actually really cute and sweet. The end was kind of a mess.
I really liked the characters- they were weird and unique and swoon worthy and human. They made mistakes, owned them, and did the best they could to be better. Dax was almost too good to be true! He said and did the sweetest things. Ali was just so relatable and weird in the best way. I want to have her for a friend. The only thing keeping this from 5 stars was the dramatic plot. I felt there were too many opportunities to ask someone else, like a grown up, for help. Heck, she could have even told Dax about it. But she didn't trust him enough, then got mad at him for not trusting her enough. That was my only problem and made me put down the book. But I wanted to see how they got past it, so I picked it back up. I don't know if I'll read other books by this author, but I'm glad I read this one.
SPOILER ALERT I thought this book was cute and I liked the two main characters as well as the bowling team girls but I thought it was absolutely ridiculous that it was ok she gave the playbook to the other team. What the what? Why on earth would you not tell someone if you’re jumped in the parking lot and then start getting threatening ransom notes?!? I get she was trying to protect her dad from worry, but truthfully, ridiculous. Also, no way a principal would have thought she had a mental breakdown if she told someone! Especially if her friends are backing her story! And the fact that all her friends backed her crazy instead? Uh... no. She STOLE from her bf instead of telling him even and he blamed HIMSELF!?!? Ridiculous.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
I have read voraciously during the pandemic, preferring light fiction with happy endings. Given that fact, I've read several books with this theme of fake dating turns real. I liked these characters so much, that the format wasn't redundant, though most I read are. The writing is witty and interesting. I enjoyed the bowling team aspect, which felt fresh and the background story for Ali's defensive walls added emotional depth. Not everything flowed smoothly, but writing a believable love connection can be more difficult than it seems. I would recommend to anyone who likes the genre and wou!d re-read this one.
I hate reading about people making stupid decisions. Why would she agree to steal the play book? She should just tell Dax what's going on since (allegedly) the school councilor thinks she is mental. It's not like she doesn't trust him.
Also, the back story about all of her friends turning on her seemed unlikely. I get harassment from random high schoolers, especially if the dad quit coaching and the team lost the championship or whatever. But why would her actual friends turn on her? And what exactly did they do? I didn't expect any more explanation and what little I did read wasn't compelling.
So when I read the back of the book I thought it would be a super sweet and exciting book. Buuuutttt.....no it wasn't. I have to admit it has SOME potential. I just wasn't feeling it. I like books that pull you in and make you never want to put it down. This one.......I had to keep reminding myself to pick it up and read. The characters are DULL, it isn't exciting, and the only character I might have liked is the typical stuck-up bitch ex-girlfriend. I'm going to have to stop this review because if I continued it would be pages and pages on why it was horrible.
This book is super cute, and I was impressed with the suspense element in it. Ali and Dax are both fun lead characters, and I really enjoyed their story. Plus, I love football, and I enjoy reading about high school football players who are more than they seem. Their relationship was realistic. The bowler girls are fun and I loved that they stood by Ali when bad things started to happen.
And honestly? I liked that the inevitable "break" in the relationship didn't drag on for pages and pages (no one wants that!). Am currently reading book two in the series, and loving that one as well.
Well... I had fun at times. This is hard because throughout this whole book I went through a cycle of being into it and then it losing me for a bit and then liking it again and then losing it. I read it really fast and it was very cute at times. I only saw it in my recommendations after reading a different book and saw fake boyfriend and was immediately intrigued. A lot of parts felt a little forced and rushed but there was also a lot of funny and some cute parts. Not bad just not my favorite.
Great story. Your typical nerd - jock romance but loved every second of it. Story flowed well and each chapter gave you that nostalgic feeling of high school romances. Just amazing writing. Recommend to any young adult/teen who is looking to escape real life for a little while. Just wish it was longer or a sequel with Ali & Dax in college - typical long distance love story would have also been nice to read :).
This was a cute story. It was more of an instant romance than anything. Ali is quirky and feisty and I enjoyed her character a lot. Dax was sweet and kind of your average small-town athelete type. Ali is starting over because of a past event that left her scarred. I enjoy Ali and her bowling environment, I think that's where she's more herself. Dax and his teams are cool people. I enjoyed how Collins stayed true to a very realistic plotline with very authentic characters.