About the Book

Title: The New Guy (And Other Senior Year Distractions)
Published: 2016
Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Cover Story: Doodle It Just A Little Bit
BFF Charm: Nay
Talky Talk: Tracey Flick Was Here
Bonus Factors: Boy Band, Two Moms
Relationship Status: Hiding In The Bathroom

Cover Story: Doodle It Just A Little Bit

This is a cute cover: I love the doodle-style lettering and the general high school feel. And I’m still a sucker for these colors! It’s much better than the stock photo version.

The Deal

Julia (Jules) McAllister-Morgan is the Tracey Flick of the school newspaper, and nothing is going to stand in her way of getting into Brown.  Nothing. Certainly not her arch-nemesis’ video news production, and definitely not…well…maybe not…oh god, is that former boy band star Alex Powell?

All of a sudden, Jules and Alex are falling for each other. For anyone else, this would be so exciting, but for Jules it is The End Of The World. There is no room in her life for distractions, not even one who Wants 2 B Her Boy.

BFF Charm: Nay

Hell No BFF Charm in Flames

Sorry, Jules. I am all about uptight control freak characters, being of similar ilk myself, but Jules takes things to such painful, self-obsessed extremes that I could not abide. I don’t need a character to be likeable in order to like a book, but I kept hoping someone would set Jules on fire. She not only sets impossible standards for herself, but everyone else, too—her new boyfriend is supposed to “just know” things even though he barely knows her, she engages in some mean-girl passive-aggressive pranks, and she is furious when she can’t recruit people into her crusade to save the school newspaper by destroying the video production. Even when her bestie and beloved school advisor tell her to take it down a notch, for the love of unicorns, she can’t. Or won’t.

Jules is definitely a teenager in that Every Single Thing Is A Huge Deal, but I didn’t buy her (mild) character growth, and most importantly, she never had to suffer any real consequences for some terrible behavior. Call me in fifteen years when you mellow out, girl.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

All the best swoon happens in the beginning of the book, and then Jules totally gets in her own way. I do like a genuinely nice guy (not to be confused with A Nice Guy ™, who puts friendship in and expects sex tokens to fall out) character, though. The best parts of their relationship are when Alex clearly likes Jules, and keeps showing up at her locker and lunch table, just to be close to her.

Talky Talk: Tracey Flick Was Here

Amy Spalding definitely has a compelling voice, and she excels at making Jules and her surroundings seem real. In the beginning, Jules is a cute, dorky, lovably uptight kid, but then she devolves rapidly. With so much time focused on Jules’ neuroses and competitiveness, you start wishing you could get to know the supporting characters instead: Sadie, the daughter of a famous actress who is struggling with her mother’s fame, Natalie, the arch-nemesis who has a handle on the future of media, and especially Alex, whose back story is the most interesting thing about him.

Bonus Factor: Boy Band

A former boy-band-star love interest? I won’t lie, that’s basically the whole reason I picked this up.

Bonus Factor: Two Moms

Pride flag being waved in a parade

Jules’ two moms aren’t an “issue,” they just exist, and I love it.

Relationship Status: Hiding in the Bathroom

Book, our date really wasn’t what I expected. I was hoping for a fun romance, but I got a kinda-mean girl with no good reason to be mean instead. By the time you were telling me about sabotaging someone else’s extracurriculars and reputation in retaliation for an annoying-but-harmless prank, I knew you and I were not going to be a match. Oh hey, I’ve got to go hide in the bathroom now, bye!

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free review copy from Poppy. I received neither money nor a pet unicorn for writing this review, despite how hard I wished for one. The New Guy will be available April 5.