Friday, September 5, 2014

Young Love: A Match Made in High School

A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker
Release Date: February 4, 2010
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 272
Keywords: high school, friendship
Format Read: ARC via author (thank you!)
Goodreads | Book Depository
When the principal announces that every senior must participate in a mandatory year-long Marriage Education program, Fiona Sheehan believes that her life can't get any worse. Then she marries her "husband": jerky jock Todd, whose cheerleader girlfriend, Amanda, has had it in for Fiona since day one of second grade. Even worse? Amanda is paired with Fiona's long-term crush, Gabe. At least Fiona is doing better than her best friend, Marcie, who is paired up with the very quiet, very mysterious Johnny Mercer.
Pranks, fights, misunderstandings, and reconciliations ensue in an almost Shakespearean comedy of errors about mistaken first impressions, convoluted coupling, and hidden crushes.
Another one off of the bottom of my TBR! From the first page of this book, though, I was already yelling at the ridiculous, unrealistic happenings going on. The first page opens with the principal of the school telling all the seniors that in order to graduate, they had to take a class on marriage and were partnered with a person of the opposite gender to plan out their year. This would never ever work in a school system 1. because America is an idiot and enforces the strict math, science, nothing creative (okay, there are some creative things, but a lot of schools are relying on test results and not actual education, and that's a whole other topic for another time) and 2. because a school board would have to pass something like this and it would never be a surprise. It would be in the works for months, if not years, before it could actually be a thing.

That being said, Fiona's mother actually brought up interesting points about students who are gay or who don't want to get married or who are religiously against something like this, and she ends up leading a protest. So that part redeemed the first part (only a little bit. I mean, really. Marriage education?) They also tell the students that they must get jobs to earn money for the marriage, and that would REALLY never work in today's schools. When I was a senior, college applications took top priority, and I was involved in honor society, taking AP tests left and right, as well as being involved with about 7 school productions (we were a super theatre school) and choir concerts out the wazoo. There is literally no time for a job unless the student has worked it out ahead of time and doesn't have it sprung on them last minute. It can be done, but not in a day.

That being said, once I put the main topic behind myself and got over it so I could actually read the book, it was only okay. I really liked the dynamic between Todd and Fiona, but Fiona was so wishy-washy as a character. I realize she was supposed to be unlikable, but she swung back and forth so quickly that it was difficult to truly get a grasp of what her character actually was. It was hard to see the antagonist (mean popular girl) as an actual antagonist because of Fiona's crazy swings everywhere. She didn't seem so bad because Fiona was always yelling (and then crying and then making her best friend feel terrible and then stalking after a guy she didn't know). There was also quite a bit of slut shaming (not hardcore, but built into dialogue) that stood out to me as really awful. I hated that girls were treating each other like that, and it was supposedly the good characters shaming the mean girl. Which doesn't make it okay.

Johnny Mercer was the redeeming character. He was funny and kind and had a hell of a lot more layers than anyone else in the story. He was into music and had such a cool personality and kind of a secret life that came into the open slowly as it should have, rather than some instantaneous craziness that other characters were experiencing. Fiona's stalking of Gabe, her long time crush, was a little alarming as well. She'd never talked to him ever and was literally talking about him all the time, no wonder her friends started to hate her.

A Match Made in High School had a few good qualities, but it was too many crazy, unrealistic situations and not enough character development to make this a good read for me.

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