Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary.
Publication Date: January 5th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Format: eARC from St. Martin’s Griffin via Netgalley
Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.
Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.
When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process.
This is a fantastically written book with a unique and powerful storyline and although I didn’t like the main character that much (I still haven’t made my mind up whether I like her or not) I loved this book.
I’ll start with Mercedes, it seems right, seeing as I can’t make my mind up about her. At some points during the story I really felt sympathy for her, and I quite liked her character. Yet at other points she came across as a complete bitch who thinks she’s better than everyone else. Hence, I couldn’t make my mind up about her. I feel as though I liked her more than I disliked her though.
I loved the storyline to this book, it was so unique and original and I couldn’t stop reading. It was fast-paced, which I wasn’t expecting it to be for some reason, but it kept me hooked. Also, so much more happened than what I was anticipating from the synopsis and honestly I didn’t see what happened about halfway through coming at all. It was a complete surprise.
Another thing, I adored the side characters. Faye, Zach and Angela were all so unique and lovely and I’d happily have a group of friends like them. They were all so different from one another and they worked. Flynn didn’t try to make them a certain way to fit with what’s expected of YA, she made the characters into unique (fictional) beings and I greatly appreciated this. (As I said in a previous post, there will be a post coming up soon about standard characters in YA). All of the characters were so normal too, they were real, and I think good side characters are a sign of a good writer. (I say this because I normally don’t enjoy books where I don’t really like the main character, and I enjoyed this one immensely).
The change in Mercedes was really interesting as the novel progressed. She starts off, in my opinion, as arrogant (though arguably this is a facade), but her personality changes as events unfold and by the end she had morphed into a decent human being. This change wasn’t spontaneous or unrealistic, it made sense in the context of the story and it was clear how the events could and did change her. Everything just worked, and had obviously been well planned.
If you want a cute and unique romance then I would definitely recommend this book. I liked that it wasn’t solely focused on the romantic side and that it focused on the psychological impacts certain events can have, but not in a way that makes it tedious. This was definitely a lot more fun, even when everything seemed to be going wrong. I love contemporaries, and this one is no different and yet it is, because it’s unlike any other contemporary I’ve read, as I haven’t seen another plot like it.
It was fresh, new and made me laugh. I detracted a star because I couldn’t make my mind up about Mercedes; she really was a bitch at times. But overall I was very impressed with this book and I loved the writing. If Laurie Elizabeth Flynn writes anything else, I’ll be picking it up straight away.
Rating: 4 / 5 stars.