Written by: Lily Anderson
Published: May 17, 2016 by St. Martin's Griffin (Macmillan)
(Amazon / Goodreads)
Synopsis: Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West--and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing--down to number four.
Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben's, including give up sleep and comic books--well, maybe not comic books--but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it's time to declare a champion once and for all.
The war is Trixie's for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben's best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben's cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie's best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they're on--and they might not pick the same side.
*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not change my opinion. ***
I did not expect to be able to read this book any time soon but I had a small window in my reading schedule after finishing something earlier than planned so I squeezed this in and am really glad I did. It was seriously fantastic.
In one respect this is a really fun modern rebelling of Much Ado About Nothing. I'm realizing more and more that I love these Shakespeare retelling and this was no exception. It was an interesting and modern spin on the classic, one of my favorites. I like the comedies so much more than the dramas. But even if you don't know the original story you will appreciate this book. The author does a great job of taking the basics of the original story and not only bringing it into the current period, but putting her own spin on it. It's not a shot for shot retelling but it's pretty close in the best possible way.
The real heart of this book, and let's face it Much Ado About Anything, is in the relationships. If you're familiar with that play then you know the infamous Beatrice and Benedick relationship. Here we have Ben and Trixie. Like their classic counterparts this is a fantastic hate to love romance, a trope that is one of my all-time favorites and I will almost always get behind. Because oh the banter, you guys! When they were competing and fighting I absolutely loved the snarky digs and verbal jabs between them. But then when the love part clicked in, it was so freaking fluffy and adorable I could barely handle it in the best possible way.
But in general I really loved these characters. Part of the modern spin is that the book takes place in a school for geniuses, which worked so well with the quick-witted characters of the original. But they were also fantastic nerdy type characters talking and arguing about pop culture and geeky references that had me seriously fangirling. Trixie and Ben were fun but they also had a great group of friends around them. I loved that Trixie's friends Harper and Meg called her out for being too mean. And while Ben's friends did kind of blend together in my mind, it was great to see a solid group of nerds with shared and varying interests supporting one another. And another great thing about this books was the parents. Not only were they involved but they added something positive to the plot. It's sad that that is refreshing. But I honestly like Trixie's parents, they were fun in a realistic kind of way.
Plus on top of all of that, there was a fun mystery to the book. I wasn't able to predict who the culprit was hear and so I really love this book for keeping me guessing and the subtle clues that it unraveled. But the mystery is also my main criticism. The synopsis kind of gives away a bit too much (you may have noticed that I hid a portion of it, that's intentional) and the actual mystery elements didn't kick in until two-thirds of the book. I honestly thought that there would be more to this aspect of the story but I was perfectly fine with the contemporary romance aspect of the story then suddenly the mystery changed the plot completely. It's not that I didn't like the mystery, because I did, it just felt a little too late. I think more of it throughout the book or just rework the synopsis so it doesn't give away so much.
On the whole I absolutely melted for this book. I flew through it, laughing, fangirling, and swooning along the way. It's an amazing modern Shakespeare retelling with great geeky characters that I think everyone will love.
Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. I really loved this book and I would totally recommend it to basically anyone. If you are a big contemporary fan then definitely get your hands on it. If you are a Shakespeare fan grab it for that aspect. But even if you just want something quick and fluffy then check this out.