Author: Heather Hepler
272 Pages–Ages 12 and up
Published by: Scholastic Inc. on January 5, 2012
Summary (from goodreads.com):
Just because Piper’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day does not mean she’s a romantic. In fact, after watching her father and then her stepfather leave, she’s pretty sure she doesn’t believe in love at all. Then her friends concoct a plan to find them all Valentine’s dates, and somehow Piper finds herself with the most popular guy in school. But true love never follows a plan, and a string of heartfelt gifts from a secret admirer has Piper wondering if she might be with the wrong guy.
In this heartwarming romance, true love is more than a maybe – and it might be closer than you think.
As you can no doubt tell from the time of this posting and the cover of the books, I chose this for Valentine’s Day. I love middle school romances, mostly because they don’t feel as heavy as adult romances. Or maybe it’s because I love seeing people in that awkward puppy love stage. Whatever the reason, Valentine themed books are my favorite genre to read about (with the possible exception of Scary Godmother).
What I expect from this book is a fluffy romance that will keep me smiling at it’s adorableness. I bet the main character, Piper, will start out by dating the most popular guy in school then realize that her best guy friend is actually the one for her. That’s usually how these types of books go and you would think I would be tired of it, but not quite yet. Sometimes a good formulaic plot is just what I need (assuming the book follows this format). Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to reading this book!
The main character rubbed me the wrong way. I think it was when she said that she didn’t like chocolate. I mean come on. I LOVE chocolate and I can never really relate to someone who doesn’t. Although in high school I did have a friend who was allergic to chocolate and therefore couldn’t eat it and I liked her just fine. I mean she doesn’t like chocolate!! That’s hard to forgive.
Piper’s personality was fun. She is a little too cynical (the books favorite word to describe her) for my taste, but I thought she was much better than some of the romance heroes I read in other middle grade books. She had enough sense not to get herself into unnecessary trouble (thank goodness). Sometime I just can’t stand when heroines do stupid things which I, as a human being with common sense, know will get them into hot water later.
Ben Donovan was absolutely flat. He was nothing but a stepping stone in Piper’s conquest of love and by the end of it all I felt sort of bad for him. I still am totally unclear why he was interested in Piper in the first place. Piper describes him basically as the reincarnation of Adonis, but describes herself and her group as average people. Then there was the love potion. When I read that I figured this book was going to pull a fast one and turn into a paranormal romance. Thankfully, it does not. Actually the love potion was never properly explained. It sort of just shows up in the beginning, fizzles out in the middle, then there is one line at the end where the girls ponder whether it worked or not. It was sort of a weird plot point that didn’t really amount to much.
Another positive point is that the novel was completely clean. No bad words, no intense romantic escapades, no inappropriate scenes. Of course, it may have been a little too clean for my taste. Piper finds her romantic soul mate in like the last 10 pages (I bet you all can guess who it is) and they don’t kiss or hug or even hold hands! It was just a tad disappointing.
As with almost all romance middle grade novels, everything just magically falls into place at the end. Everybody gets there perfect romantic matchups (even some of the characters that I didn’t think would) and everything is hunky dory. A little unnatural in the real world, but to be expected in fiction.
I chose this book because I thought it was a Valentine’s Day book (courtesy of the Valentine candy hearts on the front) and Valentine’s Day really did play a big role, but I didn’t really get that Valentine’s Day charm from it, if you know what I mean. It was a really quick read and while I was reading it I thought it was enjoyable, but it didn’t really leave my of an impression on me and I likely will never pick it up again. Nonetheless, if you like a clean romance (extremely clean) that’s a quick read then I would recommend giving this book a try.