Friday, January 30, 2015

ARC Review: One of the Guys

I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion or my review of the book in any way. Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with this eARC!

One of the Guys
by Lisa Aldin

Publication date: February 10, 2015
Published by: Spencer Hill Press
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
My rating: 4/5 ★

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.

One of the Guys was a fun and light read but our main character also deals with some more difficult things. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read the whole thing in a day because I couldn't put it down. The story really surprised me. It focuses on friendship and also family besides the (obvious) romance. All of these themes were equally as prominent and I really liked that.

The friendships in One of the Guys are perfect and felt very real. Toni has always been a part of a group of four friends and she starts to realize that they are growing apart a little. Her fear of losing her friends came across really well in my opinion and I could relate to Toni a lot because of it. She didn't always deal with it in the best way, but who does? Overall she seemed like a pretty straight-forward person and I really liked that. She does have major problems with telling people how she feels and, even though as a reader it was a little annoying at times, it showed her character development perfectly throughout the book.

Character development. Toni goes through a lot of that and it was wonderful to watch. In the beginning she really is tomboy to the core but with time and especially with befriending Emma, she realizes that she wants to 'embrace her womanhood', as she puts it. This went really well together with the other things she's discovering about herself and coming to terms with.

The romance was also really well done in my opinion. No instalove but a friendship that slowly grows into something more and I just really enjoyed to read about it and see it develop. I will say, though, that Toni has absolutely no clue when it comes to love and feelings and just doesn't see things that are completely obvious to the reader. But since it really fit her character, it didn't bother me for the most part.

Whereas I liked the story a lot overall, I also had some minor problems with it. Toni seemed like a pretty reasonable character most of the time. She even realizes at times that her problems might not be the biggest ones out there and those are the scenes that positively surprised me (because, really, what YA character ever does that?). But she also has those moments when I just wanted to shake her and scream at her that what she's doing is STUPID. The business she starts being one of them. That whole aspect of the story really wasn't my favorite. It just screamed trouble from the very beginning and those kinds of things really annoy me in books. But gladly, the story had a lot of other focuses too and it all balanced out very well.

I would recommend One of the Guys to anyone who likes contemporary but is looking for something a little different. There is romance but it doesn't overshadow the other aspects of the story and I really liked that. Also, the book is very well written and you'll just fly through it.

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