So this week, I attacked some of my ARCS with a vengeance. I read three (yes, 3!) books this week. Two were contemporary YA and one was a magical realism romance anthology. I’m reviewing the immensely fun YAs here and will have my review of One Lucky Night coming up as part of the blog tour next week.
Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash. Some work at the Gap. Becca Williamson breaks up couples.
After watching her sister get left at the altar, Becca knows the true damage that comes when people utter the dreaded L-word. For just $100 via paypal, she can trick and manipulate any couple into smithereens. With relationship zombies overrunning her school, and treating single girls like second class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even her best friend Val has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend.
One night, she receives a mysterious offer to break up the homecoming king and queen, the one zombie couple to rule them all: Steve and Huxley. They are a JFK and Jackie O in training, masters of sweeping faux-mantic gestures, but if Becca can split them up, then school will be safe again for singletons. To succeed, she’ll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date and wiggle her way back into her former BFF Huxley’s life – not to mention start a few rumors, sabotage some cell phones, break into a car, and fend off the inappropriate feelings she’s having about Val’s new boyfriend. All while avoiding a past victim out to expose her true identity.
No one said being the Break-Up Artist was easy.
The voice in this book captured me right away. In my head, Becca was snarky Veronica Mars, but instead of solving murders, she was breaking kids up. I loved the idea of this book, and for the most part it delivered. It’s funny and emotional and perfectly captures what it’s like to be a teenage girl who’s been dumped by her best friend for a boy. (I’m pretty sure most of us have been there, and it’s not a fun place to go.) So, I completely understood Becca’s motivation and could somewhat justify some of her actions. But I spent a lot of the book wishing she wasn’t so bitter and mean. I didn’t like her a lot of the time. I wanted to slap her most of the time. I was glad she finally realized how she was acting and tried to make up for it. But at the same time, I wasn’t sure she deserved a happy ending.
*I received an ARC from Harlequin TEEN and Net Galley for an honest review.
Mackenzie and Landon were the perfect couple . . . until he dumped her and broke her heart. Fast-forward a year and they’re back where they first met—Serenity Ranch and Spa, where they are once again working together for the summer. Talk about awkward.
Then, Landon takes a nasty fall and gets amnesia. Suddenly, he’s stuck in the past—literally. His most recent memory is of last summer, when he and Mack were still together, so now he’s calling her pet names and hanging all over her. It’s the perfect chance for revenge. The plan is simple: keep Landon at arm’s length, manipulate him so he’s the one falling in love, and then BAM, dump him. There’s just one problem: Mack can’t fall for Landon all over again.
The If Only romance line is all about wanting what you can’t have, and Mandy Hubbard’s hilarious break-up/love story is sure to captivate anyone who has ever wished for a second shot at love.
Fool Me Twice is just as fun as the summary suggests. It’s that romantic second chance most young girls dream of when they’ve had their hearts broken by their first loves, that wishful thinking that he’ll come back and say he loves you and then you can decide if you want to take him or leave him. And this is made all the more fun for Mack and Landon by a sudden case of amnesia. But surprisingly, the amnesia is what brings them closer than they were when they were actually dating. The little intimate moments when they both let go and were so truly themselves made me root for them despite the lie they were living. The swoony moments are balanced out by some fun pranks executed brilliantly on both sides. A couple of them bordered on mean (mousetraps on an alarm clock and surrounding the bed and defacing a cowboy’s prized belt buckle) and made me cringe a little at Mack’s gleefulness for doing them. It was harder to relate to her in those times, but since Landon could forgive her, I guess I can too.
*I received an ARC from Bloomsbury USA Childrens and Net Galley for an honest review.