September 1, 2016

Review: How to Make Out

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How to Make Out by Brianna R. Shrum
Grade: D-
Release date: September 6, 2016
An e-galley was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for review consideration.
Summary: Sixteen-year-old Renley needs three thousand dollars for the math club’s trip to New York City, and she knows exactly how to get it: she’s going to start a how-to blog where people pay for answers to all of life’s questions from a “certified expert.” The only problems: 1) She doesn’t know how to do anything but long division and calculus. 2) She’s totally invisible to people at school. And not in a cool Gossip Girl kind of way.

So, she decides to learn to do . . . well . . . everything. When her anonymous blog shifts in a more scandalous direction and the questions (and money) start rolling in, she has to learn not just how to do waterfall braids and cat-eye makeup, but a few other things, like how to cure a hangover, how to flirt, and how to make out (something her very experienced, and very in-love-with-her neighbor, Drew, is more than willing to help with).

As her blog’s reputation skyrockets, so does “new and improved” Renley’s popularity. She’s not only nabbed the attention of the entire school, but also the eye of Seth Levine, the hot culinary wizard she’s admired from across the home-ec classroom all year.

Soon, caught up in the thrill of popularity both in and out of cyberspace, her secrets start to spiral, and she finds that she’s forgotten the most important how-to: how to be herself. When her online and real lives converge, Renley will have to make a choice: lose everything she loves in her new life, or everyone she loves in the life she left behind.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I was so close to DNFing How to Make Out. The only reasons I didn't were that it's a short book (only 240 pages) and the writing is simple enough to make it a very fast read. But I was not a fan at all. The premise is cute and could've been fun, but the characters are very flat and do everything I expected them to do. Renley is not a nice girl. She barely cares about April, her supposed BFF, and she uses her guy BFF, Drew, too. It's pretty much all about Renley in her world. And yeah, it stinks that, when her dad cheated on her mom, her mom left and doesn't care about her daughter anymore. But that doesn't excuse her making poor choices, too. (Although, to be honest, her parents have not set the best example.) Her dad is a YA stereotype, barely present in his daughter's life and hardly caring what she does.
The romance is nothing special. I knew how it was going to end, and I honestly wouldn't have liked it if Renley picked either guy. She needed some time to grow up and work on her relationships with her dad and April.
I don't really have anything positive to say, which is unfortunate because I normally love contemporary YA.

The Verdict: This one is a miss, y'all.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: Most definitely not.

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