Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on May 3rd 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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When Harry Met Sally for YA romance readers. This opposites-attract love story is perfect for fans of Huntley Fitzpatrick, Stephanie Perkins, and Jenny Han.
June wants high school to end and real life to begin. Oliver is soaking up senior year’s glory days. They could have coasted through high school, knowing about—but not really knowing—each other. Except that their moms have arranged for Oliver to drive June to school. Every. Single. Day.
Suddenly these two opposites are fighting about music, life . . . pretty much everything. But love is unpredictable. When promises—and hearts—get broken, Oliver and June must figure out what really matters. And then fight for it.
Think: fluffy, clumsy, idiosyncratic and heartwarming. I think those are good words that sum up this book. It’s a fairly quick read, and having a contemporary setting and easy-to-follow dialogue make it go even quicker. The author had some great things to say about high school and the behavior of teenagers in general. It was also pretty easy to relate to, and the characters (especially June) were really down to heart and enjoyable to read about.
We start the book out with Oliver picking up June for the first day of school in his massive truck. They’re two completely different characters who have different views of life. While Oliver wants to enjoy high school to the fullest – especially senior year – June can’t wait for life after graduation. Written in a first person point of view, it was really easy to understand June’s feelings and I really felt a connection to her. You’re not the only one girl – I’m mentally done with high school as well.
‘In the real world, in the grand scheme of life, this year is going to count for exactly nothing. These are the friendships that don’t last and the choices that don’t count.’
But through various arguments and realizations, both June and Oliver start realizing some truths about themselves that they would never have thought about without the help of each other. June starts realizing that there is meaning to everything she does, especially for senior year of high school. Her thinking does have some merit, but it’s also important to live in the now, rather than look too far into the future and miss out on the present. It was really endearing to see her join these school functions she previously looked down upon and see herself having fun. Oliver and June’s interactions were pretty adorable and really did make me smile – talk about goals!
But I never liked that kind of boy. I liked boys with messy hair, boys who played guitar or who refused to wear leather or who didn’t believe in God. Boys would wouldn’t conform. Oliver’s particular brand of all-American never did anything for me.
The only complaint I would say is the lack of page time with the main couple. There is great chemistry between June and Oliver, but it takes them the majority of the book to figure it out and get together (boo!). The book starts off with them in different relationships, but I think the author sorted it out throughout the book very well. There is no cheating (hurrah!), and the change in emotions and feelings of each character as they continue to get to know each other better was really realistic to me. I could totally see that happening – in fact, I’ve experienced those kinds of emotions myself. Which is why I could really connect to June’s thoughts, even if they were silly or really self-conscious. Because at some point, we were all like that (or still are, in my case).
Another point I enjoyed though was the fact that we never see the characters written under stereotypes. June’s boyfriend Itch is against the “popular kids” who party all the time, but we find out that he was one of those people in the past and has a reason for his disdain. Oliver is considered a “jock,” yet we see his intelligent view on life. Oliver’s girlfriend is a “perfect cheerleader,” but we also see her nice and empathetic side. Theo may be a “dumb jock,” but there’s a reason behind his crude words as well. I think the author captured high school in a great light – we see both the drama and hysterics, as well as the making up and breaking up. At the same time, we also see the characters go through self-discovery and realizations that might just change the way they look at the world.
‘The truth is that this is the single stupidest thing I’ve ever done, showing up right before everything changes and our lives turn upside down and time runs out, but I have to, because I’ve finally figured out that some things are uncontrollable, and one of those things is my heart and the fact that it absolutely, without question, loves you.’
The title is a really cute mention of the playlist that June and Oliver share on the car ride to school, due to their differing musical tastes. Each time one of them wins a round that strengthens their view of high school, they add a song they like to the playlist. Overall, the book features the best and worst times of high school, and I really pictured it like one of those dramatic high school movies that serve as romcoms. And let’s be real, who wouldn’t want to read a light and warm contemporary book every once in awhile?
Rating: 3.5 out of 5