Wonderful YA romantic comedy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: November 2, 2011
Publisher: ThunderStruck Publishing
Pages: 108 pages
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
Ally Grange is a classic Good Girl. She doesn’t go to wild parties where other teens drink and hookup, unlike Bad Boy Griffin (Griff the Grief-Master) Piper. To her dismay, she’s been unable to outgrow a crush-from-afar she’s had on Griff for several years now, ever since he gallantly came to her defense when his hockey teammates embarrassed her by teasing her when she clumsily dropped her books in junior high. But in spite of her secret infatuation with Griff, Ally is positive she would never date a boy like him. Not that he would ever consider asking her out, because he doesn’t date anyone. He’s never so far had a girlfriend, only brief flings.
Instead of dating Griff or any other Bad Boy, for the past two years Ally has dated a Good Boy, sweet, sensitive Aiden, who shares her passion for writing songs and spending cozy evenings on the couch watching movies. Her best friend insists that Aiden is more of a girlfriend than a boyfriend, and that Ally needs to move beyond a boring vanilla guy to someone more exciting, but vanilla is Ally’s favorite flavor of guy. She wants a safe, predictable relationship minus uncomfortable, life-disrupting passion.
Unfortunately, all of her comfort is blown to pieces when Aiden sabotages their two-year relationship by allowing another girl to come between them. He implores Ally to come with him to a party thrown by his science-lab partner, a beautiful, popular cheerleader named Fauna. Ally’s suspicion that Fauna is trying to steal her boyfriend is humiliatingly confirmed when Aiden permits Fauna to drag him with her into a closet for a fast makeout session during a game of Spin the Bottle called Three Minutes in Heaven. Ally is devastated that Aiden would be that disloyal, and it seems all too obvious to her, and the 30 other teens playing the game with them, that Aiden wants Fauna as much or more than he does Ally. Then, unexpectedly, the spinning bottle points at Griffin, and he shocks everyone in the room by choosing Ally to be his heaven-mate in the closet. In the throes of angry disillusionment with Aiden, Ally abandons every rule she’s ever made for herself about Griff and unresistingly follows him into the same closet that hosted Aiden’s downfall. Griffin is a tender, sweet, and astonishingly skilled kisser, something Ally already knows from personal experience. Aiden has no idea–nor does anyone else but Griffin–that this is not the first time Ally has kissed Griffin. A year before, a kiss was Griffin’s price for giving into her plea that he not physically put Aiden in his place for presumptuously trash-talking team-captain Griffin from Aiden’s lowly position as a newby member of the hockey team. This second experience of kissing Griffin is memorable enough that Ally is roiled with conflicting emotions, longing to return to the tame safety of her relationship with Aiden and simultaneously yearning for the promise of adventure that surrendering to Griffin’s obvious interest in her could bring to her life.
This is a really fast, fun read. Ally and Griffin are both very likeable characters. Ally is a naively innocent girl, but she has principles she never hesitates to defend. In the midst of so many dark, “edgy” YA novels these days, it is a refreshing pleasure to encounter a “cleanread” teen novel such as this one where the heroine refuses to go along with the culture of underage drinking and casual sexual hookups surrounding her.
Though this engaging novel never goes beyond kissing, there is a satisfying amount of sexual chemistry between Ally and Griffin. It is both funny and adorable the way she becomes Griff’s secret pal by making him treats in her cooking class and anonymously putting them in his locker every day, and it’s equally amusing and sweet that Griff obviously enjoys her nurturing gifts.
I would recommend this book for girls as young as 12, all the way up to adults, like myself, who enjoy YA romantic comedy.
I rate this book as follows:
Romance Plot: 5