Title: One of the Guys
Author: Lisa Aldin
February 10, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Genres: Young Adult ♥ Contemporary ♥ Romance
Summary from Goodreads: 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.”
Average Goodreads Rating (as 0f 02/05/2015): 3.62
- Christina thought this title was good. It goes on her 3rd shelf. To find out why…
**SPECIAL NOTE:** An eARC of this title was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.
♥ Quick Feelings and Rating:
3 stars! God, I wanted to love this one so much. While I did enjoy it, I need more from everything- characters, growth, plot, romance- to actually love this. Even if the basis of the whole book is in the journey and growth of our young heroine finding herself, I feel like Toni’s finish-line in this book was almost identical to how she entered the story.
♥ The Lowdown: Toni is not one for change. All her life, she’s had her constants. One is her best friends and their search for the lake monster. Another is her ratty tanks, basketball shorts, and Mountain Dew. She likes predictability and being able to depend on certain people, especially after her father died a few years back. But no matter how hard she tries to cling to the things/people that she feels define her, that make her who she is, they’re all entering into their senior year with a future wide open and it feels like it’s leading them in different directions.
When a prank lands her and her friends in hot water, it shifts things and stands to further upset the shaky balance she’s struggling to maintain. For as long as she can remember, she’s be just one of the guys. But when she finds herself in an all-girl school, being out of her comfort zone doesn’t even come close to describing the situation. It’s almost like she’s having to interact with another species.
But then an opportunity arises for her to cash in with a business venture. What’s a girl to do when she has an endless list of girls in need of a fake boyfriend and she has nothing but guy friends? It’s simple supply and demand. Time to cash in, right?
But when her main best friend Micah, aka Loch, becomes the biggest demand, Toni is forced to reevaluate her feelings and why seeing him with so many other girls makes her heart seize.
♥ My Thoughts: I am an absolute sucker for a friends-to-more book. It’s one of my go-to’s and usually it never fails me. It’s my tried and true. Growing up, I was also a huge tomboy and would roll around in the mud, hunt, fish, play ball with the best of the boys, even outdoing them most of the time. I was super competitive (some things will never change). So, as you would imagine, when I saw this title up on NetGalley, I clicked request so fast that my computer and the site took a second or two to catch up with my speedy fingers. Even despite the mixed reviews on Goodreads, I went into this novel super excited and eager to love fall happily in love with it. And as the story progressed and I didn’t, that was quite a devastating blow, if I’m being honest. For the most part, I enjoyed this novel, but I certainly feel like it could have benefited from a bit of finessing.
For the first part, I’ll discuss what I liked and that what the business and the major driving force behind the plot. I thought it was fun and an excellent ploy to make Toni connect with her female peers. I also really enjoyed that it was the thing that made her look at her feelings toward Loch in a different light. Nothing makes you take stock of your deepest feelings toward a possible love interest like how you feel seeing them with someone else. It’s like a giant flashing sign, and I thought that part came across as realistic. While the drama with the business was to be expected, it never felt over-the-top or annoying. It read like what it was supposed to, a little immature and a lot fun.
Now let’s get into the characters, which left me feeling relatively conflicted. We get a pretty generalized idea about each main character and the secondary ones, but I felt like we were missing that depth that made them feel real to me. I walked away from this story being able to name traits about them, but not really feeling like I had a true sense of who they were, even our MC, Tonya/Toni/McRib. I feel like the author really dropped the ball with her, choosing to go for generalized tomboyish stereotypes, i.e. burping, scratching her butt, wearing basketball shorts and tanks, and being rather disgusting. (She’s constantly belching loudly and wiping snot everywhere. *gags*) It was a huge turnoff. (Seriously, I felt like my judge-y face became a permanent mask somewhere around the 5% mark.) I was the only girl in a neighborhood full of boys, so I thought I’d have a kinship with her, but it never really happened. Being a tomboy can be about so much more than being gross, and I actually feel like it was sending a few jabs at the male population in general, like, this is what I’ve reduced you down to. In regards to her boy trio, I know the book deals with them growing apart, but they were supposed to be best friends for years and I felt like I started the book with them acting like strangers to each other. It didn’t appear to me that they had an identity outside of who they were to each other, and for them to be such a huge part of Toni’s life, I wanted more from them. I wanted to know them, too, like she knew them.
My next issue was how the romance and ending were handled. First and foremost, I realize that this is more of a coming-of-age book and that the romance plays second fiddle to that, but if you’re going to include it in part of Toni’s journey, I need more. I get that they’re seventeen/eighteen and still basically youngsters in the big wide world and emotions can be a difficult thing to sort out, but wholly hell did it take Toni forever to see that she loved him and that Loch loved her. I’m pretty sure if every secondary character and my closest friends in the book are telling us that we’re in love, I might be curious enough to do a little soul-searching. And this brings me to the ending. I liked the “I love you”/big kiss scene, but, heaven help me, did I want just a teeny tiny bit more. We’ve gone through this whole novel with them trying on their feelings for size and wondering about the shoulda/coulda/woulda’s, and after all that, I need just a little more to let me hold onto that feeling of *siiiiiiigh* Finally! It is loooooove! I don’t need an epically long chapter, just a hint of a preview for what their future might hold. Instead, we’re given this moment and then the book ends instantly. I don’t need all the ends tied up or perfect little bows, but I truly dislike being left with so many boxes unchecked. Where does this group’s friendship stand? What will they do about college? How does this new relationship stand to mix things up? I can certainly live with the ending, but I don’t like having to is all I’m really trying to say. Greedy? Probably.
Also, one last question? Why does the cover only have a girl and two boys sitting on the dock?
♥ Rec it? Maybe. If you’re interested, I’d probably borrow from a friend or the library. For what it’s worth, I thought this one was pretty cute, with equal helpings of fluff and angst/drama. I read it in one short sitting, so it’d probably be the perfect palate cleanser if you’re in-between books in the same genre or if you’re needing something quick and light.
♥ A very special thanks to Spencer Hill Press and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.