Author: Kiera Stewart
320 pages–Ages 9-12 (and up)
Published by: Disney-Hyperion on December 22, 2015
Summary (from goodreads.com):
This time, even ice cream won’t help.
Nick Wainwright is definitely the love of thirteen-year-old Mabry Collins’s life, and when he dumps her in the most mortifying way possible, her heart is shattered. So, maybe they’d never kissed, but they had shared something special. They’d shared LOVE. True love. She’s sure of it.
And Mabry would know. She’s watched countless episodes of her favorite telenovela with her best friend, Sirina, and the characters have taught her everything about romance.
But when Sirina’s usual methods for comforting Mabry fail, she has an idea: it’s time for Mabry to break a heart of her own. And who better than Thad Bell to teach Mabry how to do it? He was the source of her very first heartbreak, and he seems to have his own reasons for wanting to see Nick suffer.
Mabry decides to give it a shot, but she’s pretty sure Thad’s advice will lead to disaster. After all, his sole passion is a burrito with extra hot sauce. Anyone with any sense knows that true love doesn’t come in a foil wrapper! But if Thad can help her win back-um, that is, break-Nick’s heart, then it might just be worth it.
Once someone asked me what kind of movies I liked seeing in theaters and I had told him that I hated rom-coms because I thought they were stupid. Well, only half of that statement was actually true. The truth is I LOVE rom-coms, but I still think they are stupid. The characters are usually very two dimensional, the plot lacks realism, and they usually have scenes that are I find uncomfortable because I feel embarrassed for the characters. But still, they’re just so darn addicting. Why is this relevant? Well, because this book is nothing but a rom-com movie on paper for middle school student. And I LOVED it. This brought out the teenage girl in me that lives somewhere in the corners of my brain. It was so cute. The little romance and the way all the characters interacted with one another; I just couldn’t turn away from the book.
Honestly, after the first 5 pages I decided that I already didn’t like Mabry, but that was pretty much expected. I mean, really, she’s 13 and she’s so melodramatic. I mean, I guess I am sort of a skeptic on the whole idea that you can meet your true love at 13 and know he’s your true love, but Mabry somehow thinks you can. And when her “true love,” Nick, breaks up with her through his mom (truly horrifying) she spirals into a middle school depression. I’ve read enough of this genre to know that Mabry is going to try to win back Nick and then after Nick starts to get interested in her again she’s probably going to reject him for the boy that has been helping her win Nick back (her “coach”). I almost stopped reading after Nick breaks up with her and she acts like she’s dying, but I didn’t. I knew (or at least I was really hoping) that if I could make it past the Mabry is mopey stage and see her with her new coach that I would like her better. And thankfully, I did. She didn’t really chill out or anything, and there were still some moments in the book where she has monologues about how much she loves Nick, but I sort of just read through those quickly and waited until she meet up with Thad again.
The one thing that I wanted more of was moments of Nick getting jealous of Mabry and Thad, but Nick barely interacted with Thad at all. When Nick runs into Mabry and Thad at the mall, I was absolutely thrilled because I thought there was going to be an intense showdown (it wasn’t as dramatic as I hoped it would be). Nonetheless, when Thad comes running to the mall to interrupt Nick and Mabry’s date, I couldn’t help but smile stupidly. The whole situation was so clichéd as was the romance, but sometimes I’m a sucker for those. The moment I meet Thad, I was already rooting for him and Mabry to get together and when they did I was so satisfied.
Overall, I thought this book was amazing and I wish there were more I could read. I couldn’t put this book down. Starting this book right before bed was a really bad idea. Throughout the night, I kept telling myself, “Once I finish this chapter I’ll go to bed.” Then I would finish the chapter and then say to myself, “Just one more.” Even though I loved this book, I can see why other people wouldn’t. It’s riddled with clichés and stereotypes, and like I said above it has the typical flaws of a romantic comedy. The characters are incredibly one dimensional (even Thad who’s had a tragedy hit his family) and sometimes it’s hard to imagine that they are 13 and in eighth grade. I do feel that I should mention that I read this from 11:30pm to 3:30am at night, so maybe my judgment was a little cloudy and I was too tired to accurately critique this book. Still, I was able to find a lot of enjoyment in it, so I think it’s worth recommending to people who love a good clichéd romance. This is definitely directed to the younger audience, which I actually thought worked really well because the romance wasn’t too “heavy,” if you know what I mean.