Bookish Boyfriends by Tiffany Schmidt
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
Summary from NetGalley:
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…
ARC received from Abrams Kids via NetGalley for an Honest Review.
This ended up a much different read than I was expecting. I thought it was going to be a fun rom-com and in some ways it was, but it went a little deeper than that. I pretty much devoured this book, and found myself loving every minute of it.
Merrilee was such a sweet and darling character to spend a rainy day with. She is the ultimate bookworm, constantly casting her friends and family and pretty much any one she meets into the characters in the books she reads. She often goes into daydreams imaging her friends as these characters. But she is also a typical 15 year old, longing for and imaging her first boyfriend and her first kiss. But boys in books are always better than the real life version, right? She is a little bit on the impulsive side though, which gets her into trouble. She is surrounded by many friends and family that are well balanced and keep her from getting into too much trouble.
Some secondary characters that I particularly liked are her best friends Toby and Eliza. Toby is the boy next door, and they have a very close platonic relationship (although Toby yearns for more). Eliza is a science nerd and doesn’t quite get Merri’s fascination with fiction. They are both great friends and try really hard to keep Merri from to making a complete fool of herself, they always have her back so to speak. I also need to mention Ms. Gregoire her english teacher, who is a bigger influence in her life than Merri realizes.
Merri also has a great family, her big sister Lillian and younger sister Aurora. All three sisters are very different from each other, but they truly care for each other and look out for each other too. But they still squabble and have their issues. Her parents were good too, although there is one scene that bothered me. They confront her in front of her friends and peers about an incident at school that gets her in trouble. As a parent I would never embarrass my child like that. I would save a confrontation for a time when we were alone, no matter how mad or frustrated I was. But otherwise they were great, caring parents who were there when their kids needed them.
The plot is very hard to explain with out spoiling it. It is really something that needs to be experienced for yourself. Merri finds herself living her life in parallel to the books she is reading. Does that make sense? But even as she finds herself caught up in both her life and the books plot, I can’t help but notice the author making fun of tropes and cliches from YA novels. Such as in this quote:
“The way he looked at me made my throat dry and my knees weak. Two cliches I hadn’t really believed in before. My heart is racing, my cheeks were warm – four cliches! Was that what romance was? The moment you found out cliches were real? In that case, should I bite my lip and look up at him through lowered lashes?”
I often found myself either smiling or laughing out loud at some of the plot cliches and tropes. I can’t help but like a story that makes me laugh. A fun read and a nice retelling of Pride and Prejudice with nods to other great literary romances.