Having witnessed all of her older sisters fall in love and fall apart, the last thing Tia Cruz wants is a boyfriend, but senior year, when Will Matthews arrives at her schoolÃ??Ã?Â¢??the undeniably cool kid from the Midwest, and possible the cutest boy she has ever seenÃ??Ã?Â¢??her determination begins to falter. Will Matthews is the kind of boy who could make her forget.
Tia and Will's playful relationship is definitely fun to follow, especially watching both characters grow as they discover themselves within each other. I also love the portrayal of high school casual relationshipsÃ??Ã?Â¢??better known as "friends with benefits"Ã??Ã?Â¢??which seems like a racy topic for YA fiction, but is actually prevalent among teenagers, and thus, entirely relevant; Echols brings the experience to life maturely and memorably. What bothered me, however, was the progression of the relationship. The breakup, makeup, breakup-again sequence was too formulaic, too predictable. Given the synopsis of the book, there's nothing I couldn't have seen coming. Nothing about Tia and Will as a couple particularly surprised, devastated, or delighted me; it was nothing we've never seen before in YA romance. Once the two are paired as the school's Biggest Flirts (since when is that even a superlative?), the rest of the story just went along as expected.
I loved Tia as a character; she's unconventional, and not your typical bashful, romantic heroine. She's strong, but also has a thousand insecurities; brilliant, but intentionally an underachiever. I think she's a hit-or-miss character, though; I can definitely see some readers not liking her recklessness or her brash tone. Her chemistry with Will is spot-on, and the sexual tension and energy the two create will have your heart thumping and you remembering what teenage romance feels like again.
The secondary characters are both a strength and a weakness of Biggest Flirts. Most of them make very minor but very frequent appearances that I found sort of pointless, other than to keep confusing me with all the different names. Tia's best friends rarely show their faces, which made me feel like they aren't her friends at all. Will is a beautifully written character (Jennifer Echols creates another heartbreakerÃ??Ã?Â¢??surprise!) but I absolutely loved Sawyer, Tia's on-again-off-again "boyfriend," and can't wait for Book #3, because it's his story. Won't give too much away, but if you like tragic teen boys, be prepared to swoon!
Pros: Tia is an imperfect, but genuine character with lots of attitude! // Family backstory is important, not just the romance // Portrays the mindset of casual, rather than dating, relationships well // Hot hookups! (Nothing wildly explicit, but still for an older YA crowd) // Will and Sawyer Ã??Ã?Â¢?Ã??Ã?Â¥
Cons: Plot is predictably structured // The only real characters are Tia and Will, the rest seem to have come from YA character moulds // Flows well, but style is not remarkable
Verdict: Sexy and smart, Biggest Flirts is a thrilling escape of a contemporary young adult novel that captures the spirit and squalor of high school colorfully and entertainingly. I didn't find Tia and Will's relationship that special, and stylistically, it's not particularly clever, but Jennifer Echols's newest book is fun, flirty, and full of impressionable characters and a convincing romantic undertone.
Rating: 7 out of 10 hearts (4 stars): Not perfect, but overall enjoyable; borrow, don't buy!
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher via tour publicist in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, Simon & Schuster and Itching for Books!).show more