The Boyfriend Thief by Shana Norris
Number of pages: 188
My copy: ebook, review copy from the author
Avery James has her life planned out: this summer she’ll work with a humanitarian program in Costa Rica, next year she’ll graduate at the top of her class, and after that, college and medical school. Perfect, planned, total order.
The only problem: getting the rest of the money she needs for the trip before the deadline. Hannah Cohen, her biggest competition for the valedictorian title, makes an unexpected offer: If Avery can win over Zac Greeley and make him break up with Hannah before the end of the school year, a check for five hundred dollars is all hers. Faced with the prospect of spending yet another summer working as a giant hot dog, it’s an offer Avery can’t refuse.
Zac is nothing like Avery expected. Within his chaotic world of midnight slushie runs and spontaneous dance parties, her total order is quickly falling apart while Hannah seems poised to get everything she wants. But just how much is Avery willing to give up for the perfect, planned life?
* * *
Avery has her eyes set on her life plan: she plans to attend a summer program in Costa Rica, graduate the top of her class during senior year and then head for medical school. She wasn’t going to let anything get in her way…except her dreams hang on a very critical issue: she needed more money to get into the program in Costa Rica. Then her biggest rival for the valedictorian position and ex-best friend Hannah gives her an offer: she will pay Avery five hundred dollars if she can make Zac Greeley break up with Hannah. Avery accepts the offer, only to be surprised that Zac is nothing like she expected.
I read The Boyfriend Thief by Shana Norris expecting that there would be two girls trying to steal a guy, or at least a girl falling for a guy who has a girlfriend and the girl trying to steal him. You know, the kind you watch on TV shows that make you curse whoever you don’t like and wish for the guy to end up with the girl you most identified with? Well, it wasn’t at all like that, and I know I should have read the summary more so I wouldn’t bethat surprised.
But it’s not a bad surprise anyway. The Boyfriend Thief is a fun, independently published contemporary YA novel about a girl who likes being in control. Avery is a girl who needs to have everything in control, but not really without good reason. When Avery’s mom left them, she took control of their household, thinking that if she has everything under her control, then no one would leave anymore. I used to be/still am a control freak so I know how that feels, but I also know how hard it is when things do not go the way I want to. In a way I sympathized with Avery with this, and I was really worried at what could happen with the fallout.
Here’s the thing, though — as much as I can relate to Avery, I don’t think I really like her. I don’t think I would be good friends with her because she can be so uptight! I’d like to believe that I’m not like that anymore (dear friends, I’m not, right? :D) and I figure that if I met Avery, I wouldn’t really want to be friends with her. :-s That doesn’t mean that she’s a bad character though — I think this reaction is kind of a testament that she was well-written that I get this reaction. On the upside, her growth in the book felt real, and I found myself cheering for her when she finally loosened up.
The other characters that needs to be noted are Zac and Hannah. Zac seemed like such a darling. I liked him and his craziness, even if his spontaneity would probably drive me nuts, too. I liked his intensity and his chemistry with Avery. I wished there was more to Hannah, though, like a bit more dimension in her character? She was mean and calculating, but I wished there was some kind of redemption for her in the end, instead of being a “scorned woman” character.
Overall, I liked The Boyfriend Thief enough. It was a fun read (although not so quick, because I think I was reading Fellowship of the Ring while I was also reading this), and it’s also quite well written. I learned several things in this — not about stealing boyfriends, but how sometimes, we just have to let go of control and let life happen because sometimes it just works better that way. :)