The New Guy (& Other Senior Year Distractions) by Amy Spalding [ARC]

Jules is in control. She knows exactly how her senior year is going to go. She’s going to become senior editor of the school newspaper, she’s going to get straight A’s in all of her classes, she’s going to spend time with her best friend Sadie, and then she’s going to get her acceptance letter to Brown. All while volunteering at the dog shelter twice a week and spending quality time with her moms. What she doesn’t account for is Alex–member of the one hit wonder boyband Chaos 4 All.

51b-thheial-_sx331_bo1204203200_I wanted to like this book so much…but it just wasn’t good. First of all, I am so tired of the smart girl being portrayed as this hyper-obsessed, socially stunted, and utterly spastic person. It’s insulting and degrading. I was one of those smart girls in high school and I knew a lot of other smart girls and let me tell you something. NONE OF US WERE LIKE THAT. Being smart and focused doesn’t mean that you’re socially clueless as well. It just doesn’t. I HATE that I keep seeing that trope everywhere (I’m looking at you Red Girl, Blue Boy). It didn’t help that at the same time I was reading another book that had a smart girl being portrayed as pretty normal (Kissing in America by Margo Rabb if you were wondering–review to come). So yeah, that pretty much bugged me the entire time.

Spalding kept having Jules do these cringe-worthy things that made me hate her as a main character. She was unapologetically self-obsessed and I had a hard time believing that she had any friends. We’re not given any compelling reasons as to why Alex even likes her and this contributed to the feeling of their relationship being rushed and shallow. I don’t believe that any of the characters experience any character development throughout the book. There’s just no growth with anyone! I feel like they’re basically all the same characters as they started out being.

The last thing that seriously bugged was how “texting obsessed” these characters are. I mean come on. It’s not a big deal if your friend doesn’t text you back right away. It doesn’t mean that they’re mad at you or are ignoring you–it doesn’t mean ANYTHING. SO, CALM DOWN SADIE. That was such a big point of contention/conflict in the book and I’m just sitting over here shaking my head. My phone is always on silent so I often don’t even respond to my husband for at least half an hour or whenever I check my phone next. Are teenagers these days really like this?

Overall, this book had a flat and predictable story with, frankly, very unlikable characters. I think the only character I liked was Em and she didn’t even get that much screen time. Pick up this book if you want, but I would advise against it.

Overall Rating: 2
Language: Moderate. Brief, stronger language.
Violence: None
Smoking/Drinking: Mild. Adults drink wine.
Sexual Content: Moderate

Note: I received this book free from The NOVL in exchange for an honest review.

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