Cover of Seven Percent of Ro Devereux. A blonde white girl in headphones glances at a tiny boy on one of her earpieces.

About the Book

Title: Seven Percent of Ro Devereux
Published: 2023

Cover Story: Blonde and Blonder
Drinking Buddy: You’ve Had Enough
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (alcohol use, language, sexuality)
Talky Talk: You Say ‘Friendzone’ Like It’s a Bad Thing
Bonus Factor: MASH
Bromance Status: The App Doesn’t Lie

Cover Story: Blonde and Blonder

I’m not sure I like this super hot Ro. She just doesn’t smack of the computer geek in the book. And she constantly mentions how ghostly pale Miller is, which really doesn’t come through in his picture. Read the book, cover designers.

The Deal:

Ro Devereux is a computer nerd who designs apps in her free time. She longs to move to Silicon Valley and run her own tech startup. Unfortunately, her father insists she go to college first. And her mother…left for California when Ro was two.

For a school project, Ro creates an app for the children’s fortune telling game MASH: Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House. Just a silly little game to predicts one’s future home, career, number of children, and spouse.

But an influencer cousin of Ro’s blogs about Ro’s app, and suddenly it becomes insanely popular. Millions of people are finding about about their future, with a predicted 93% accuracy. Soon, XLR8, a big California tech company, wants to go into business with Ro. There’d be an entire floor of the office building dedicated to Ro’s creation. And the money…her father could finally realize his dream of owning his own restaurant. There are just two hangups.

Firstly, Ro is a YA heroine, so her father is required to insist she go to college instead of following her own dreams. Secondly, the ‘future spouse’ end of things is still wonky, with a smallish pool of MASH users to match up. So XLR8 wants Ro to become the face of MASH’s happily ever after. She’ll allow herself to be matched with a fellow user, and have the gushiest, smoochiest public romance ever.

Unfortunately, Ro is paired with Miller, her best friend since childhood. Her closest confidant. Her shadow. At least he was until they had a falling out their freshman year and haven’t spoken since.

But even a quiet, almost humorless guy like Miller is willing to make a deal with the devil. In exchange for the promise of college tuition, he agrees to play the role of Ro’s boyfriend. Just a few months until this thing gets off the ground. No problem, right?

Drinking Buddy: You’ve Had Enough

Two pints of beer cheersing

Ro was a fascinating character: brilliant, loyal, and just slightly naive. She admits to her role in her estrangement with Miller, but understands she wasn’t the only one at fault. She bridles under her father’s plans for her life, but still cares about him intensely. And she wants MASH to succeed, but not at any price.

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (alcohol use, language, sexuality)

One can certainly pretend to love someone. It’s not hard to put on an act. Just some hand holding, kissing, and well-staged photographs.

But there’s a lot of buried hurt in the Ro/Miller backstory. And their first televised interview ends with a nasty coast-to-coast spat. The kids’ handlers insist that they up their game or they’re pulling the plug. Can the pair make the world believe they’re in love? And honestly, just how much are they pretending?

Talky Talk: You Say ‘Friendzone’ Like It’s a Bad Thing

So both Ro and Miller had legitimate reasons to be hurt. But the hurt is the ‘Don’t talk for a week, have a big blowup, and then emerge even closer’ variety, not this ‘end of friendship’ stuff. Miller’s refusal to speak to Ro when she calls him crying and begging to talk really made him come off as a jerk. That, combined with not having much of a personality, kind of left me cold. The smolder was there, but it could have been better, especially for a YA romance.

Bonus Factor: MASH

FYA used to use MASH during our author interviews, and while I’ve never played it in real life, everyone I mentioned this book to instantly knew what I was talking about. But Ro’s app goes far beyond the paper and pencil game. This app, with its scientific approach and hour-long questionnaire will tell you your real future. Cool, huh?

Except…do we really want to know that much? Ro starts getting a lot of blow back when a charming celebrity couple breaks up so the guy can pursue his MASH match: a simple small town waitress. And what happens when the app tells you your dream career is forever out of reach and you’re destined to be a systems administrator instead of a concert violinist? Why even follow your dreams, huh?

And then there’s the romance side of things. Miller has got to be a fluke, right? And the app is only 93% accurate. This has to be the other seven percent, right?

Bromance Status: The App Doesn’t Lie

It says I’m destined to read this author’s next book and I’m not going to fight it.

Literary Matchmaking


Retro, by Jarrod Shusterman and Sofía Lapuente, deals with a modern world where people fall in love without help from technology.

Virtually Yours

Sarvenaz Tash’s Virtually Yours is about another couple that meets via a special app.

Salt and Sugar

For a cute rivals to lovers romance, read Rebecca Carvalho’s Salt and Sugar.

FCC full disclosure: I received neither $5, $1,000, $10,000 or a million dollars for writing this review, though the publisher did send me a free copy.

Brian wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.