My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it
She's the coach's brilliant daughter, clueless about love.
He's the dethroned football star, ready to teach Romance 101.
When dark secrets and sparks collide, there's no playbook for what happens next.
If life were a nerd parade, sixteen-year-old Harper O'Malley would be its grand marshal. This trumpet player's got a laundry list of accomplishments to her credit, but none of them include snagging a boyfriend. When a new guy finally catches Harper's eye, she'll stop at nothing to win his heart, even if it means asking for assistance from an unlikely source.
High school senior Ridley Estes's future depends on playing football for the University of Southern Kentucky. When his past catches up with him, Ridley will need more than just a scholarship to get his ticket to college. He needs the kind of help only a brainiac like Harper can provide.
Harper knows she's insane to agree to tutor Ridley in exchange for love lessons, but these are desperate times. Just when she sees promise with her crush, a national scandal rocks the SEC, and no one is safe from the fallout. Harper's family implodes from the aftershocks, dredging up devastating memories she'd rather keep buried.
Harper suddenly has everything to lose--her family, friends, and even her heart. Who can she trust? When the dust of the scandal settles, nothing will be the same. Including the girl who asked the most popular jock to teach her about love.
Award-winning author Jenny B. Jones returns to YA with a sweet, funny novel about first love and the power of letting go.
I don't read as much YA as I used to, but there are a few authors whose new books I don't miss, and this one one of them. I love the first person POV of Harper, who is completely overwhelmed by the circumstances of her family life. I thought her character's background of being a foster child adopted into her family as an older child was so interesting, and it explained how vulnerable she is and how that insecurity manifests itself. She definitely is a study in contrasts since she does have a confident persona, especially when standing up for her family and friends... and rescuing random abused dogs and animals. The unusual mannerisms and details of Harper made me completely immersed in the book. The slow revelation that Ridley is not as he seems was brilliant and shifted the dynamics of their friendship throughout the story. They challenged and supported each other in facing fears and overcoming struggles, but it is their fragile hearts that have the biggest obstacle to overcome- trust.
(Thank you to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)