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My Secret Boyfriend’s Back

Meghan gets sucked in once again by the drama of Denise Deegan's Butterfly series.

My Secret Boyfriend’s Back

BOOK REPORT for And Actually … (Butterfly Book 3) by Denise Deegan

Cover Story: Improved, But It Still Looks Like a Tampon Commercial
BFF Charm: Sure
Swoonworthy Scale: 5
Talky Talk: Straight Up
Bonus Factors: Prime Time Soaps, Kickass Gram
Relationship Status: The Drama Queen You Can't Help But Love

This is the third book in the series, so there are some spoilers for the other two! However, I've taken a page from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (thanks to a reader suggestion) and put them in white text so you won't see them unless you highlight them. Those smart bitches sure are smart!

Cover Story: Improved, But It Still Looks Like a Tampon Commercial

This one's better than the previous two books, but can't you just hear the voiceover narrating the freedom of tampons? You can wear leggings! And go outside! And dance on a rock, or maybe even swim in a muddy creek! It's almost like not having your period at all!

The Deal:

Rachel's the latecomer to Strandbrook College, the high school for Dublin's rich and famous offspring, but her BFFs Alex and Sarah never thought twice about making their twosome a threesome. Over the last year, Alex and Sarah have experienced crazy drama and loss, and Rachel's the one with an even keel and calm outlook. Little do they know, Rachel's hiding some pretty sad secrets of her own, and when she's offered a small part on a TV show -- starring a mean girl from her past -- the secrets threaten to come spilling out to the world.

BFF Charm: Sure

Rachel's pretty cool -- I like how dedicated she is to her acting and to being true to herself. Like I do so often, I really wish she'd open up a bit and share SOMETHING about what's going on with someone, ANYONE, and I wonder if I was such a secret keeper when I was a teenager. Probably not -- I've never been able to keep my mouth shut about anything related to me (although I'm good with other people's secrets). Anyway, when she finally does open up, I want to give her a gigantic hug and a high five. She's very self possessed, but still a believable teenager, so I think we'd have a grand time together, and I wouldn't even pressure her to let me visit the set of her TV show.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Rachel's already got the perfect guy, so the swoon is a little low. Sure, she's still filled with tingles whenever they meet, and of course there's a wrench in the works to add some tension, but as much as I adore Mark, the story between the two of them didn't grab me until almost the very end.

Talky Talk: Straight Up

Deegan does a marvelous job capturing normal teenagers -- she toned down the slang and, like, stuff from the previous two books, and gets into Rachel's head in a way that makes her sympathetic and not whiny, even when her life suck major balls. I did get a little cranky about Alex, the one who has a baby, because it should NOT BE THAT EASY to raise a child. Alex is the one I love the most from the other books, but I kind of want to kick her in the shins because GIRL, YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW LUCKY YOU ARE. I'm definitely impressed with Deegan's facility with inner monologue, and how she manages to capture each of the three friends in the girls' respective books by tailoring the writing styles but still keeping them a recognizable series.

Bonus Factor: Prime Time Soaps

I adored the plot line of the TV show Rachel is on! I love some cheesy prime time drama, especially when it centers around random teenagers who happen to star on a show about doctors, and references Romeo and Juliet (wha?).

Bonus Factor: Kickass Gram

Maisie's not Rachel's grandmother, but one of the show's stars. That doesn't stop her from being TOTALLY KICK-ASS and I want to make her real, shrink her down to 4 inches tall, and keep her in my pocket to be my own fairy godmother. I also want to have a magic portal to her cabin in the mountains above Dublin, and we'll go there and eat soup and read poetry (silently, to ourselves) and drink tea. I'll let her go back to being normal human sized for those trips, natch.

Casting Call:

Katie McGrath as Rachel

Katie McGrath is a bit old for Rachel, but pretend she's just glammed up for a callback.

Ethan Peck as Mark

Duh.

Mischa Barton as Rachel's childhood nemesis, Rebecca

Helen Mirren as Maisie

I always perceive Helen Mirren as a bit cranky or something (something AWESOME), due to many of her roles. I'd love to see her playing someone a little different like Maisie.

Relationship Status: The Drama Queen You Can't Help But Love

Dammit, book, you did it again. Just like the my secret boyfriend, the first two books, you SHOULD have read like a so-bad-it's-just-bad Lifetime movie or Lurlene McDaniel novel -- teen pregnancy, terminal illnesses, and now major bullying -- but I just couldn't help but get sucked in. Your characters are just so NORMAL and unwhiny and funny, and I can't help caring for them, despite the over-the-top drama of their situations. So you're like that friend I never thought I'd be friends with, the one who lives from one self-manufactured crisis to the next, but who's also so much fun and surprisingly caring.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Hachette Ireland.  I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). And Actually … is available now.

Meghan Miller's photo About the Author: Meghan is an erstwhile librarian in exile from Texas and writer for Forever Young Adult. She loves books, cooking and homey things like knitting and vintage cocktails. Although she’s around books all the time, she doesn’t get to read as much as she’d like.