The Way To Game the Walk of Shame

304p. ebook available. Feiwel & Friends/Swoon. Jun. 2016. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781250084071.
Gr 8 Up—Ambition and perfectionism have kept Taylor more focused on her GPA than on her social life. The only student with better grades is Brian, her close friend whom she thinks she could like, but in her opinion, relationships can wait until she's got everything else that she wants, specifically, admission to the college of her dreams. Of course, her plans go off the rails when she's wait-listed at Yale. Evan has no plans. He's a typical bad boy (typical in that he's not really "bad" at all, just misunderstood) who has a reputation for treating girls like they're disposable. After Taylor and Evan wake up in bed together—with no memory of how they got there from the party they left—Taylor decides that the only way to save her reputation is for Evan to pretend to be her boyfriend, whom she will "reform." Readers familiar with the tropes of an opposites-attract romance won't be surprised when the two begin to fall for each other. Nguyen is adept at creating romantic tension and writing love scenes, which teens will appreciate. She writes from both perspectives, giving readers some insight into character motivation, yet it's still not enough to explain why the characters don't seem to recognize their feelings for each other until the last chapters of the book. Other inconsistencies in character development, some messy descriptive writing, and loose plot threads may distract readers from Taylor and Evan's relationship.
VERDICT Teens looking for an easy escape into romance should be satisfied with this low-stakes quick read.

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