Published on May 1st, 2018
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About Bookish Boyfriends
Boys are so much better in books. At least according to Merrilee Campbell, 15, 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…
A solid 3.5 stars, rounded up to four. When I started reading this book, I quickly lost interest and began to hate it. The characters (especially the main one) got on my nerves, and I found the writing style very irritating. I didn’t think I was going to finish it at all, honestly, but I made myself promise to at least read to 50% before giving up. Then, around the 25% mark, something changed. I’m not sure exactly what it was–if the author finally hit her stride, or if the characters improved or what–but suddenly, I found myself empathizing with the characters instead of berating them. I was pulled into the story (somewhat skeptically) until I was staying up late just to read a little bit more. Bookish Boyfriends, to my surprise, was suddenly good. Now, there was a few hiccups here and there (some of the characters still made horrible, face-palm worthy choices that I don’t agree with), but overall, I actually enjoyed this book. I would definitely be interested in reading a sequel, even a whole series with this theme. Overall ,it was a clean, pleasant read that straddles the line between middle grade and YA.
Some of the things I liked most included:
–Merrilee actually listened to her parents and made the right choice, at least once. You have no idea how satisfying it was to find a contemporary YA heroine being somewhat sensible for once.
–The story twist I didn’t see coming
–How the author incorporated the retelling aspect while still making the story her own
Some things I didn’t like:
–The lack of sensible adults
–Merrilee’s silliness at times
–The lesbian/bisexual couple represented and the mention of a homosexual customer. As a conservative Christian this was a red flag for me.
Recommended for Ages 12 and up
One character is described as being biracial, and partly Asian. One character is described as having brown skin. A lesbian/bisexual couple is featured, and there is a mention of a homosexual customer.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Some characters “curse,” but actual words are not given.
Heavy kissing and embracing, semi-detailed. Describing how attractive male characters are (stays appropriate for age range overall).
One character behaves threateningly towards Merrilee, trying to intimidate her into a relationship. One character is injured during sport’s practice.
Some reference to teen drinking at a party (no main characters participate).
Note: I received a copy of this book to review from NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.