by Tiffany Schmidt
Series: Bookish Boyfriends #1
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
Genres: Romance, Young Adult
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Boys are so much better in books. At least according to Merrilee Campbell, fifteen, who thinks real-life chivalry is dead and there’d be nothing more romantic than having a guy woo her like the heroes in classic stories. Then she, her best friend, Eliza, and her younger sister, Rory, transfer to Reginald R. Hero Prep—where all the boys look like they've stepped off the pages of a romance novel. Merri can hardly walk across the quad without running into someone who reminds her of Romeo.
When the brooding and complicated Monroe Stratford scales Merri’s trellis in an effort to make her his, she thinks she might be Juliet incarnate. But as she works her way through her literature curriculum under the guidance of an enigmatic teacher, Merri’s tale begins to unfold in ways she couldn’t have imagined. Merri soon realizes that only she is in charge of her story. And it is a truth universally acknowledged that first impressions can be deceiving . . .
What an absolutely cute and funny read!
“Someday, I’ll have my first kiss/boyfriend/love—hopefully before I’m ancient—but until then . . .” I shrugged and looked longingly at the book on my pillow. “Boys are so much better in books.”
Merilee is the middle of three sisters. Her oldest sister is knee-deep in wedding prep for her marriage to a senator’s son, and her artsy younger sister is getting ready to start at a prestigious new school, Hero High, along with Marilee and her best friend, Eliza. Things aren’t quite what they seem, though – between a recycling can clash with a snotty student, a headmaster who seems set on proving she doesn’t belong, and an English teacher with a glowing coffee mug, Merilee’s feeling uncertain in her new school. Luckily, Merilee and Eliza settle in to a great group of new friends, and hey, who’s that mysterious guy brooding over by the theater department? But things – at school and in romance – are never quite what they seem…
“The way he looked at me made my throat dry and my knees weak. Two clichés I hadn’t really believed in before. My heart was racing, my cheeks were warm—four clichés! Was that what romance was? The moment you found out clichés were real? In that case, should I bite my lip and look up at him through lowered lashes?”
First off – I liked Marilee. She can be a bit too much – she’s in love with the idea of romantic heroes, even ones like Romeo and Gatsby – and I definitely had some pretty severe secondary embarrassment from some of her early antics, though teenage me would’ve adored every second! She describes her style as “toddler chic” – lots of color and sparkly things – and makes a habit of wearing funky mismatched socks every day. She’s typically got her head stuck in the clouds (or, more likely, a book) and relies on her best friend, down-to-earth Eliza, to keep her on track. But after attending an all-girls school for years, how can she resist her first chance at swoon-worthy romance?
“‘A cautionary tale about poor timing and why neither mail delivery nor drugs are reliable.’ Yes, if you take nothing else away from Romeo and Juliet: send important mail with delivery confirmation, and don’t do drugs.”
As with most readers who’re familiar with Romeo & Juliet and Pride & Prejudice, I found the plot pretty predictable. The fun, however, is seeing how Ms. Schmidt fit the various bits of these classics into Merilee’s story. The mash-up works surprisingly well, especially since, while Merilee is familiar with R&J, she’s reading P&P while the events are happening. It’s also hilariously funny (see the one sentence review of R&J above). From her parent’s store name (Haute Dog – they sell designer doggy wear, among other things) to one-off turns of phrase – “Yankee Candle massacre” for one romantic attempt gone awry – the book kept me giggling. It’s not just about teen romance, though, as it also handles Merilee’s relationships with her friends and family and the quintessential YA quest of Merilee figuring out who she is, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much she grew over the course of the book.. There’s some particularly sweet bits about family through Merilee’s interactions with her parents and sisters.
Overall, if you’re someone who’s had a book boyfriend before – especially a classics book boyfriend – you’ll love this book! I’m very much looking forward to the next book, which I’m guessing will star Merilee’s younger sister, though I’d also like to see one for her friend Eliza!