*E-ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Netgalley and Spencer Hill Contemporary.
Tomboy to the core, Toni Valentine understands guys. She’ll take horror movies, monster hunts and burping contests over manicures. So Toni is horrified when she’s sent to the Winston Academy for Girls, where she has to wear a skirt and learn to be a lady while the guys move on without her.Then Toni meets Emma Elizabeth, a girl at school with boy troubles, and she volunteers one of her friends as a pretend date. Word spreads of Toni’s connections with boys, and she discovers that her new wealthy female classmates will pay big money for fake dates. Looking for a way to connect her old best friends with her new life at school, Toni and Emma start up Toni Valentine’s Rent-A-Gent Service. But the business meets a scandal when Toni falls for one of her friends–the same guy who happens to be the most sought-after date. With everything she’s built on the line, Toni has to decide if she wants to save the business and her old life, or let go of being one of the guys for a chance at love.
I didn’t at all liked the plot of this story—Toni basically wanted to use her guy friends to get some extra money and start a business. It is awkward, and, in my opinion, not at all how a good friend should behave. Her friends didn’t feel like friends either—they were anti for most of the book, and despite that being the premise of the book, I don’t think I liked it.
The writing and the author’s perspective were okay. There was nothing really special, or a pull in the words. Maybe the story could have been better if the writing was improved and the feel of the novel was corrected, because I felt as if I was reading an adult book with wary grown-ups.
A big drawback of this book were the characters. I couldn’t really connect with them, and it felt as if I was just reading about them., not being one of them, like in a good book. It was just an average book, with average characters, who, even though they were 17, didn’t act like teenagers at all. I did like Toni’s friend, Emma Elizabeth, though, and I felt that if she were the lead, things could have been so much better. She was a good, solid character and an equally good friend.
The Final Trial
There were many shortcomings in this book, but, even after everything, it’s still a book. I definitely will not re-read it, I won’t add it to my Favourites shelf, and I won’t rave about it everywhere.
“Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, layered in sweat, gasping for air, freaking out about choosing wrong or disappointing someone, even if that someone is myself.”
This is a good “coming of age” novel, a good contemporary. It is most definitely NOT chick lit, as I’d initially assumed. It might or might not suit you, depending on how you like the book and the characters. If you are going to read this, I hope you like it better than I did.