I really enjoyed this book. It was the first YA book I’ve read in months, and it felt like it, but it was really really good. Then again, when you read a YA book after reading several romance novels that border on erotica, some dark romance, and write steamy paranormal…. reading any YA is gonna be noticeable.
The main characters are all plus size girls and it’s just as much about empowerment as it is the relationship between the main characters, Aurora “Rory” Hutton and Beckett Langley. It also actively tackles the experience of being diagnosed with PCOS, which I feel is SUPER important.
For those of you who don’t already know, PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and has a lot of side effects that women in general find difficult to live with. For a teenager with a super health-conscious mother who obsesses about their weight, I can’t imagine the stress of that. But that’s exactly what Rory deals with on a regular basis. Plus the bullying at school for not being model thin. Let’s be real, High School sucks!
I did really enjoy this book. I loved watching a character who was so frustrated and lonely, gain some understanding of what was happening with her body, and make some great friends who really did love her for who she was. People who saw past what other people critiqued and saw it as simply being human. She finds a romance that we all would have wished for in high school, someone who can see the real you, and embraces that, no matter what anyone else thinks.
Book Club for Complicated House Plants
Can’t Date Quarterbacks is one of the best books I’ve read recently. I read it on my Kindle as part of the Kindle Unlimited, and it’s the first in a series, of which I intend to read a few more. I recommend them for anyone that wants a fairy tale story with real life elements that include “real” people and “real” problems.
Did you decide right away if you liked or disliked the book?
It took a little bit for me to decide actually. I didn’t immediately hate it, but I didn’t have a strong opinion either way for the first couple of chapters. Which I guess is normal for me, I try to refrain judgement before the world building is set up. I did really like it though, read it rather quickly.
What drew you in?
It was the real life approach very quickly. The beginning was horrifying from the MC’s perspective and I had to keep reading to see what the hell was going on. The immediate addition of complicated real world issues, like PCOS, and the mother’s reaction to finding out, was good. It kept me going.
Who was your favorite character?
Honestly? Beckett Langley. He saw Rory before the bet happened. So for him, everything was real, and important. There were no high stakes for him, just a girl he liked and he went for it. That was it.
Who was your least favorite character?
Oh do I have words for the mother. I mean, she eventually pulls her head out of her ass, but forcing your kid to do a pregnancy test just because they’ve gained a little weight? Especially when they don’t have a lot of friends, let alone guys that they spend time with outside of family…. You’re killing me. You’re doing irreversible harm. And then you sent her to the doctor ALONE to have the testing done? Then you kept harping on her weight like it was the most important thing on the planet? Seriously? You’re a high school teacher, you KNOW how mean kids are, and you acted like that at home too? Ugh. Just ugh. I mean, I think the mom did more emotional damage to Rory than the school bullies did, it’s almost expected of the popular snotty girls, you know the ones, but from your own mom? That was probably a harder pill to swallow.
Did you have a favorite line or chapter?
Not so much a favorite line as a part of the book. After the interaction with the mean girls in health class, where Rory sticks up for herself and anyone else in class like her that is too afraid to speak, the other girls pull her into the AV room, which is amazing. She starts this awesome friendship with these people who are grateful to her for sticking up for them, and they want to help her win this stupid bet. It’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship. All of their antics and hangouts were my favorite. Everyone should have a best friend.
Did any part of the book elicit a strong emotional reaction?
Dude yes. There is this part, after Rory and Beckett start hanging out more, and he invites her to sit with him at lunch, and she does. Except, she used to eat lunch every day in the AV room with her friends. So there‘s this rift that starts growing within the friend group because Rory has Beckett and the friends think she doesn’t need them anymore, and she thinks that their friendship was too good to be true and now that they’ve achieved the goal they set out for, the friendship is over. I felt so sad at that part. I was happy it got worked out, but oh, that part was sad AF to me.
What was your least favorite part of the book?
An honest to goodness tie between the first couple pages and the big reveal by the mean girls of the bet that started everything. It was well written, the issue was more second hand embarrassment. Totally warranted for the storyline though.
Did you find the plot predictable?
Only as predictable as a romance goes. I write them, so I’m familiar with the formula that all romance stories follow, even sort of loosely. It did surprise me along the way though. I knew what was coming according to the standard of the genre, but the way it was written was fresh to me. It didn’t feel like I’d read six or seven harlequin novels in a row. I can’t do that because they get too predictable.
Would you recommend this book to anyone?
Everyone. Especially high schoolers. Read it. Read the series, I’m going to.
How did you feel about the ending?
I loved it. I felt like it fit the story well. It made me want to read the rest of the series. 🙂 For an author I’d never read before, I was an instant fan.
I gave this book 5 stars. It was exactly what I expected and I loved it. I read it rather quickly, and at no point did I have to put it down and give myself some space due to writing style, content, any of it. I loved that the characters felt real and not flat, which sometimes happens with secondary characters. It was nice that they all felt like they wanted me to think they were the main character. I loved that.
Well, I’m out for now. I’ll see you next Thursday for the next review! Stay awesome my loves!