by Rachel Hawkins
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I had a noble cause, all right. But it wasn’t Grove Academy. It was David Stark.
Well….this was quite exceptional! I was merely perusing my feed last week and then all of a sudden came multiple positive reviews for this book. I have been seeing nothing but good things about this story so I figured I’d see what all the fuss was about-and I was more than pleasantly surprised. So many books these days take themselves too seriously and come across as pompous or as if they are trying too hard. It was refreshing to read a book that had both humor and spunk but didn’t portray an heir of cheesiness….I do so loathe cheesiness.
I’d been found guilty of Unladylike Behavior, Nephew Endangerment, and, if the look she shot my boots was any indication, Improper Footwear.
I think my favorite thing about this story was most assuredly Harper’s narrative. She was witty, sarcastic, and fun. I loved how light the story felt even as everything came crashing down on her-she is the picture of perfection with her 4.0 GPA, popular and perfect boyfriend, acting as student body president, and….well…that’s just to name a few things she is involved in. One of the issues many people have when they are reading a book is how vain the main character is-but not once did I feel that Harper was annoying or overly into herself. She was aware of her social status and what she had to lose, but her inner monologue showed that she never took it for granted.
David’s grin slowly faded and his fingers fiddled with the edge of his T-shirt, pulling it up over his bicep a little. Since when did David Stark have biceps? How did you get any muscle tone when all you did was type and be annoying?
I really liked this about her and could identify with her when her life started to change into something she couldn’t recognize-After that one fateful night at the homecoming dance she’s been waiting so long to attend, nothing is ever the same when her school janitor passes his powers onto her. She and her boyfriend are spending even less time together, her grades are starting to slip and for once, things aren’t so cut and dry-All of a sudden she has to spend time with her sworn enemy-the ever annoying David Stark. Even worse?? Her new destiny is devoting her life to protect him…when all she has ever wanted to do was stab him because of the ridiculous articles he continuously writes about her.
“Don’t get me wrong, Mary Beth is…well, she’s not objectionable or anything, but she’s not…”
My hands were tight around the teacup, the heat radiating on my palms. “She’s not what?”
David tugged at his lapels again before leaning back in his chair. “You.”
This is where the ‘love triangle’ came in. Harper has the guy she’s always wanted. They are perfect together and he is both sweet and kind to her. But what happens when she starts to get even busier and has even less time to spend with him? And how will she explain her new-found appreciation and excessive amount of time spent with David Stark? And what’s worse-what will she do when she realizes that spending time with David isn’t so bad, but in fact fun and like they should have always been friends? She starts to feel butterflies when they are in close proximity whereas her boyfriend doesn’t stir up the emotions he once used to. Maybe they really didn’t ever have that much in common…whereas David and she have been circling each other since Kindergarten through vicious articles, snarky attitudes, and a nasty rivalry that everyone else sees as an underlying attraction. I never really cared for her current boyfriend-it was obvious the author was leading up to something between David and Harper, and I found myself continuously rooting against her guy. He wasn’t mean per se, and he wasn’t whiny, but he definitely was annoying and I could never connect with him. In the end, I did feel bad for him because he does truly love Harper. I wish these authors didn’t feel the need for love triangles so often, but I know life isn’t always perfect and we don’t always get to choose our paths-life throws you unexpected curve balls at every turn and Harper was handling it the best she could.
The letter opener was near the door, so I picked up the nearest weapon I could lay hands on: a stapler.
I lifted it, going for “menacing.” I admit it lacked a certain elegance, but hey. It was worth a shot.
David placed his hand on my arm and pushed it back down.
“Just…that’s embarrassing for all of us,” he replied.
I don’t think there was anything wrong with this story except that maybe I would be sitting there reading, and I’d get excited about what could possibly happen in the current scene and then it just wouldn’t happen….sure, that’s part of the surprise, but I still had a level of excitement I was wanting to reach and when the scene didn’t quite reach that far, I did feel a tiny pang of disappointment.
“I was bringing this by to say sorry for yesterday. To both of you,” I added as Saylor moved forward. “You know, for the…the car driving and the recklessness, and the-the grabbing…”
With my free hand I started making this clutching gesture. I was talking about grabbing David’s shirt, but it looked like I was milking a cow.
Overall a really fun, quirky, and action-packed debutante read. I loved the southern drawl and the feeling of a tight-knit community with zaney aunts and an underhanded sense of danger. I enjoyed almost every bit of this story and can’t wait for book two!