Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on May 12, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, contemporary, Romance
Source: eARC from Publisher
As a devotee of classic novels, Mary Porter-Malcolm knows all about Mistakes That Have Been Made, especially by impressionable young women.\
So when a girl at her new high school nearly succumbs to the wiles of a notorious cad, Mary starts compiling the Scoundrel Survival Guide, a rundown of literary types to be avoided at all costs.
Unfortunately, Mary is better at dishing out advice than taking it—and the number one bad boy on her list is terribly debonair. As her best intentions go up in flames, Mary discovers life doesn’t follow the same rules as fiction. If she wants a happy ending IRL, she’ll have to write it herself.
By the Book is a young adult contemporary romance standalone by Amanda Sellet. I loved this fun, quirky romance story that is just as much about friendships as it was about the ultimate romance. I loved the cast of characters, I love the storyline and I loved the writing in this novel. I can’t wait to read more from Amanda Sellet, and even though this book works perfectly well as a standalone, I would love to see romances for our main characters friends- Arden, Terry and Lydia.
In By the Book, we meet out main character Mary as she enters public high school as a sophomore for the first time. Both of her parents are professors at their town’s local college and Mary was in the college’s experimental schooling program from kindergarten – ninth grade. But when the school does not get funding for the next year, Mary has to move over to the public high school. I hated that her parents waited until the week before school started to tell her when they knew for months. In fact, her parents were my least favorite aspect of the story. They seemed completely self absorbed in themselves and their fields of study and not interested in being actual parents. And beyond that, when Mary started making new friends (who were fabulous friends) her parents acted like it was a bad thing. (more on this later) Mary goes to school on the first day in search of her friend from her last school, only to be completely and rudely snubbed by her at lunch. But good riddance to her because later that same day Mary meets Arden Terry and Lydia when they come in to a bookstore after school, and they become fast friends.
I loved the friendship between Mary and the the three girls. They seemed like much more genuine friends than Anjuli did from her previous school, and I enjoyed how much of the book was focused on their hangouts. Don’t get me wrong- I loved the romance as well, but the friendship aspect was just as sweet. They took Mary under their wings, determined to give her all of the typical high school experiences, and Mary brought her vast knowledge of classic novels to the group. I thought it was hilarious to watch her compare modern high school guys to classic rogue characters from her books. Overall, once you get past the family that didn’t really ever seem to be interested in getting to know who Mary actually was, the story was super cute. I loved the friendship and the romance was swoony and fantastic. I am not going to say too much about it because I don’t want to give anything away, but it was heartwarming and a bit predictable in the best way. If you are looking for a fun story about high school friendships and high school romance with a quirky book nerd spin, By the Book is a must read. I loved it and I think you will too!
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2020 New Release Challenge
- Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge 2020