Release Date: February 11th, 2014
1 crush on your best friend +
1 gorgeous, scheming new girl +
1 Mathletics competition =
1 big mess
Ashley Price doesn’t have much in life after being bullied so hard she had to leave her old school to live with her aunt and uncle in Pittsburgh. But the camera she borrowed from her best friend and secret crush Brendan, and her off the charts math abilities, make things a lot more bearable. Plus, since Brendan is the captain, making the school Mathletes team should be easy.
But when gorgeous new girl Sofia rolls in and steals Brendan, Ashley's place on the team, and her fragile foothold on the Mansfield Park Prep social totem pole, it’s on. Sofia is everything Ashley left her old school to escape. The only thing Ashley didn’t count on is Sofia’s sexy twin brother Vincent.
Vincent is not only the hottest boy in school, he’s charming, sweet, and he’s got his eye on Ashley. He’s also not taking no for an answer. There's no real reason Ashley shouldn't like Vincent, but with the battle lines being drawn between her and Sofia, Ashley’s not sure which side he’s on. Or which side she wants him to be on.
She does know Sofia is trouble with a capital T, and she’s determined to make Brendan see it.
"Cute, funny, a tad nerdy, and so full of feels, in all the best ways."
Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review and to promote the book IF I enjoyed it. I am not being compensated for this review, nor has it affected my review or thoughts in any way.
First, I have to get my flailing and fangirling out of the way. AHHHHHHH THIS BOOK!!! Okay. breathe, breathe. Time to get serious. Ish. There might be lots of fangirling.
I don't know how to split this one except by what I liked/positives and what I didn't like as much/negatives, so here we go.
The characters: I LOVED how each character was unique and brought something to the table, good, bad, or otherwise. Although you don't get to know many extremely well, given the point of view this is written in, there's substantial information to tell you, the reader, about the characters. They're all multi-faceted and extremely complex. Even Sofia and Vincent have more to them than meets the eye. They're not just bad people, even if their motivations are wrong. Then there's Ashley herself, of course. Her background is really interesting, and one of the strong points in the book was Kopans' ability to write about depression and anxiety and the effects of bullying. If you've ever felt alone or felt self-doubt, you'll find plenty to relate to. And of course, there's Brendan. On the surface, we don't know a ton about him other than that he's popular but also hangs out with not-so-popular people, that he's nice to everyone, that almost everyone likes him, and that he's good at math. And of course, his friendship with Ashley. But then there's a huge piece about him, or perhaps more his family, that gets thrown our way, and it adds SO much more to him. I won't go into detail, lest I spoil it, but I will mention this again further down.
Ashley: If you look down below, you'll see that I changed a part in my review after looking back at my notes (thank goodness I did), so this is explaining that. I liked how Ashley DID change, even if not in all the aspects I was hoping she would. She was more independent and strong. She learned how to stand up for herself and how to stand up to someone that was mistreating her and those around her. It was a big YES moment. Sure, I do wish she could have become less dependent on guys, but hey, there was more to her than that (not a mega-ton more, but more nonetheless).
The math: Some people already know, but I'm not a fan of math, almost at all. If I can get out of doing math, I will. But this book? I'm kind of glad it has math/mathletes. Confession: I did something similar to mathletes when I was younger. I can't recall the exact name (mathletes was for the older kids), but anyway. I'm so glad that we have characters that are smart, particularly girls such as the protagonist. Yeah, girls can be awesome and smart and all of that. Being smart doesn't degrade you or anything. We don't get nearly enough smart characters, particularly girls, portrayed in a good light in books. Plus, it made for some funny, geeky, albeit cheesy math jokes. There are some little "notes" at the end of some of the chapters, and they're fun if you know what they mean or find it funny. A little more on this point a little later.
Overall: This is a cute, fun, light read. It gave me ALL THE FEELS, particularly in terms of Brendan and Ashley. The number of times I cried is just *cries* THEY'RE SO PERFECT YET SO OBLIVIOUS. BOTH OF THEM. But seriously, ALL THE FEELS. Despite the crying and feels, it's a nice book to read when you want to get away from all the dystopian books, thrillers, and all those exciting books. This is a cute read, and I'd definitely reread it when I'm looking for a light read, although yeah, I probably will cry again.
(Note: This looks like a lot more, but trust me, for the most part, it's all personal preference and explaining and most of the good outweighs the bad.)
Feminism: Okay. I will concede a point. There are plenty of girls like Ashley out there, for sure. And I completely understand where her dependency comes from. I can't say I'm completely different. And a lot of it is because of the circumstances of when I read the book. It was just after a huge gender roles/stereotypes English lecture project, making the whole issue so much more fresh in my mind. Since then, everything I've watched, read, etc have been affected. And I mean, yes, it shows how big of an issue this is, but sometimes, I just want to enjoy something without thinking too much about it, as bad as that sounds. This was honestly one of those reads.
But ack! Ashley is SO super attached to Brendan, even when she tries to distance herself away, only because he seems more interested in Sofia, and she seems to have Vincent. Like honey, you don't NEED a guy. I get the circumstance, I really do, but come on!
Math: Bringing it back to math. So, I mentioned the math notes before, yeah? Well, most of the time, they seemed REALLY out of place. Like something big would happen between Brendan and Ashley, but then there'd be a cute little note thing at the end of the chapter. I thought they would coincide with the events of the book, and sometimes they did, but not all the time. It just felt out of place or at least awkwardly placed. There were also a few math references I just couldn't understand. Maybe my level of math isn't high enough (actually, that's probably what it is), but I felt like I was missing out on something funny. :(
The Brendan's Family Problem Reveal: Yeah, that's the most specific I'll go, lest I spoil something, But I have to explain. Yes, I LOVED the addition of the reveal because it added so much more depth and because it's so real and sad, and I guess Kopans likes to really hit us in the FEELS. I do wish it was explored more because it's such an important topic, and Kopans already did so well with handling depression and anxiety, and I feel like she could have done a lot more with the topic. So, I guess it's not a negative so much as a wish.
Predictability: This one is simple to explain. It was all a tad bit predictable. There were a lot of obvious foreshadowing hints, though some people may miss it, especially if they're too busy dealing with THE FEELS, but I did notice quite a bit of it. There were a few times where I wanted to tell Ashley that yes, she's correct in her suspicions, but ahh, no such luck.
(On a completely different side note, let me explain that this isn't the usual format of my reviews, but I find it easier for this book to split it up like this.)
I loved this book. I'm so excited about the companion novel, First World Problems, which I explained in my Waiting on Wednesday post. It's cute, funny, a tad nerdy, and so full of feels, in all the best ways. I was so invested in the characters and the relationships and the story in general. There was so much to love, and they far outweighed and outshined the few, nit-picky points I made. A lot of it is up to personal preference and circumstance, but if you ever want to pick up a quick, cute read, this is your book. Yeah, also make sure you grab a tissue box if you're a bit of a softy (I can't say everyone will understand my feels). Plus, on a side note, Leigh Ann Kopans is so insanely awesome, and you should support her as a self-published author. ;)
Oh! Also, just as a note, this totally makes me want to go read Mansfield Park.