Hi Virtually Readers! Confession: I sometimes love writing scathing reviews. This is an example.
Title: The Way to Game the Walk of Shame
Author: Jenn Nguyen
Genre: YA contemporary
Themes: romance, friendship, being a senior, academic success, bad boy with forgivable backstory, it totally makes sense to fake a relationship yes definitely brilliant idea yes.
Basic idea: When smart-girl Taylor wakes up in bad-boy Evan’s bed the morning after getting drunk at a party, she knows her reputation’s on the line. To save face, she draws up a Love Contract to make it seem like they’ve been dating all along. As one might imagine, this idea is *genius*
Do I detect similarities to To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before? Yes, yes I do.
Needless to say, the plot was entirely predictable. I was only surprised (and mildly at that) by the almost-love-triangle. Also, it was one of those situations where if everybody talked and hugged, nothing would happen.
I liked the characters, and they were perfectly good characters. But the dual-narration thing didn’t quite work for me. Even though the characters were so different, they still had really similar-sounding voices. Evan was really nice and cinnamon roll-y. I liked that he never apologized for or regretted his ‘playboy’ ways. But I thought the complete turnaround of his character as he started fake-dating wasn’t necessary or realistic. (side note: taylor is a very boring MC name)
I LOVED Carly, Taylor’s best friend, and wished her and Aaron, who is Evan’s best friend, were bigger parts of the story.
I would have been unsatisfied with this book if there wasn’t the ‘before’ section at the very end. While Taylor waking up in a boy’s room was a captivating beginning, the placement of that scene just didn’t work for me, tbh.
A few last thoughts: I did enjoy reading this. But I didn’t love it. I wish there was more (I mean ANY) diverse representation. It kind of confused me, because the author (based on her name) probably isn’t white, and her main characters didn’t have to be? Actually, there was one ‘diverse’ thing, if that counts: both Taylor and Evan lived in blended families/had stepfathers. However, their feeling about their stepfathers were super different. And Evan’s dad in the end is nice. I liked that the characters didn’t base their ENTIRE future on their bf/gf (because that’s a bit silly).
How do you feel about fake-relationship books? What about bad-boy-has-tragic-backstory books? What about how the main character ALWAYS gets into the Ivy League? Do you have different standards for different genres?