I started this book and put it down almost immediately because of the inane chatter and the fact that this was the third musician girl with red Chuck Taylor’s I’d read about in the last five months. Looking at the Goodreads reviews, my reaction wasn’t really unusual for about half the people who previewed it. The other half raved about it and hadn’t seen anything sooo cute in ages. Since I had requested the ARC, I felt compelled to actually finish it, and, in the end it was not a bad book. It just wasn’t a book I enjoyed until the end. I think there is an age gap on this one, so teens who want a silly RomCom with lots of musical references and quirky girl moments, you should sample it. If you are an adult who reads YA, you can skip this one.
When Riley and her best guy friend, Reid, catch the other two members of their band in a compromising position, Riley examines her own love life and finds it lacking. She and Reid come up with the idea of a manifesto, a notebook they will use to share information and insight about the opposite sex with each other so they can each find the love life they have been dreaming of. This is a book with characters chock full of believable teen anxiety, awkwardness, and angst. I can appreciate that YA readers in the target audience will probably enjoy reading it. However, it is so chock full of teenage anxiety, awkwardness and angst that it made me crazy. The narrative alternates between Riley’s pov and excerpts from the actual manifesto, which is where Reid’s pov appears. I personally thought the manifesto slowed the pace, and I could have done without all of the lists, but it might have been more funny and insightful to an actual teen. What I did like was the best friend dynamic between Riley and Reid. It didn’t even for a second veer into a romance between them, which is exactly what I feared would happen. Riley did have the desireable gray ethics for a relatable character, and she came across as a real girl, but she just wasn’t one I really liked. When you resent a character for things like the fact that she is constantly talking about t-shirts – seriously, keep count and marvel at the number – you might have to admit it just isn’t ever going to be. I actually didn’t mind her by the end, but she was immature for 80% of the book. The ending did have my approval, and I think that a lot of those five star reviews came from the glow of that ending. It really does make readers that happy (maybe because they know the death by silly teen torture is over, but still, HAPPY). The plot is pure YA RomCom, so it will amuse readers, but I’m not sure there was any real life lesson to learn here besides a cursory nod to truth in dating. There is language. There is sex. There is some bad behavior. None of it was graphic or even notable, so I would let my teen read it.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.