Bookish Boyfriends

272p. Abrams/Amulet. May 2018. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781419728600.
Gr 8 Up—Merrilee Campbell is extremely excited to be transferring to Hero High with her best friend Elisa and her younger sister Rory. Toby, Merri's other best friend, already attends Hero High, which makes the transfer even better. Merri is a big dreamer and romantic, but believes boys in books are better than in real life. Then she meets Monroe Stratford, a junior who appears to be infatuated with her. Merri is convinced she's living Juliet's life to Monroe's Romeo until he starts to get on her nerves with his constant texts, phone calls, and demands on her time. Meanwhile, Merri can't stand Toby's friend Fielding Williams, who always seems to be around in embarrassing situations or when she's being extra clumsy. Thanks to her favorite teacher, Merri realizes that maybe her life isn't Romeo and Juliet after all. Other issues are touched on: her older sister is getting married, her younger sister is struggling with classes, and Elisa's parents are always away on a research trip. But the focus of the story is Merri and her addiction to romance stories. Halfway through the work, the narrative begins to reference Pride and Prejudice, and the story starts to pick up. The novel is told in first person, and eventually Merrilee becomes a likable narrator. Some teens may be so frustrated with Merri during the first half, that they may not stick with the story.
VERDICT A good choice for large romance collections.

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