Release Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Harper Teen
Keywords: contemporary, prom, popularity
Format Read: ARC via publisher (thank you!)
Other books reviewed: On the Fence, The Distance Between Us, Pivot Point & Split Second (all of them!)
Goodreads | Buy It!
THE COVERSuper cute. Love that it still fits with the other contemporaries in Kasie West's collection, and they will all look so pretty on my shelves (once I can reunite all my books).
WHY I LIKED ITHere's where it gets tricky. I absolutely love Kasie's style. I'm pretty sure she could write about a toilet and I'd be beaming at the end of the story. No matter who her characters are, she makes us fall in love with their story, and I always feel like the relationships are happening to me rather than the main character.
I also really adored Hayden and Beca's relationship. Seeing such a wonderful relationship between a brother and a sister that weren't the focus of the story was really great. The relationships Kasie writes are so real and so complex that it totally sucks me into whatever family has that dynamic, whether it be all the brothers in On the Fence or this dynamic brother-sister duo that bashes stuff in at a junkyard to vent when they're angry. They also pose for their mom, who is an artist who calls them "her muses," which is hilarious and weird all at once.
Literally every one of Kasie's books just give me happy happy feelings.
RESERVATIONS?Here's the thing. I feel like I have a lot of reservations, but I still totally loved this book. That's the thing about her writing, though, is that no matter how much you don't like some characters, you still get totally invested and love the story.
The first thing is the amount of stuff you have to simply believe for this story to even happen. Random college guy dating a high schooler. Normally doesn't happen unless they were dating before older person graduated. But fine. Guy breaks up with girl at PROM in parking lot and doesn't have the decency to at least do it before the actual thing? Also he had to drive like three hours, stayed for a half second and said "see ya?" Fine. Also this other guy happens to be sitting in his car and girl happens to think it's a fantastic idea to take new guy to prom as old guy? AND there's ZERO chance NO ONE will recognize him? But it's fine, I believed it all.
Which brings me to my second really big problem. Gia's friends and the way they treat her, AND the way she treats them.
I've seen a lot of "Jules is a terrible person" lately when reading other reviews of this, and yes, I totally agree. This girl is very rude, clearly ignores and doesn't like Gia, and she's mad that Gia is friends with her friends, or vice versa. HOWEVER, I haven't really seen anyone talk about how Gia is also a terrible person right back.
I mean, in the first chapter, we're already told from Gia's perspective that we have to HATE this girl, but I haven't been given a reason to hate her yet. When Gia's other friends tell her Jules is going through a hard time, Gia doesn't really let up. I was very frustrated that I was supposed to like the main character and hate Jules when both girls were being incredibly rude to one another.
If you haven't read the book, move on to final thoughts. The next bit will talk about the end. You have been warned.
I was also incredibly frustrated that neither girl seemed to want to improve their relationship or make amends with their other friends, and that Gia would so willingly let them go if it meant never having to be friends with Jules. I didn't really see any character growth, and that bugged me a lot. I definitely know about toxic friendships, but both parties here seemed at fault, and I was not seeing eye-to-eye with either of them.
FINAL THOUGHTSI don't know how she does it, but even if there are things in the books I have a lot of trouble digesting, I still come out smiling and super happy after finishing a Kasie West book. It's a magical power she has, and she'll always remain on my auto-buy list.