Toni Valentine has always been a tomboy. She’d rather be monster hunting and having belching contests than shopping and getting manicures. Her best friends, her only friends, have been the same three boys for years. So when Toni finds herself at an all-girls’ school, she’s horrified. She’s prepared for senior year to suck. That changes when she meets Emma Elizabeth, who needs a boy to help her make her ex jealous, and Toni just so happens to have a few guys. Word spreads that Toni has connections and a business opportunity presents itself: selling fake dates with her guy friends to her classmates who need a dependable guy. Of course nothing seems to be going as planned for Toni this year and it’s just her luck that she starts falling for her business’s most popular guy.
This was a fast, light, and ultimately cute read. It was just over 300 pages and I ended up finishing it in one sitting.
Toni was an interesting character in the sense that I didn’t always like her, but I could understand where she was coming from. Even before she was forced to switch schools, Toni could sense things were changing between her group of friends and she was desperate to keep things the same. She could be judgmental of anything she thought was girly and the girls who did like those things. It was nice to see her learn that she can be friends with girls and that wearing a skirt didn’t suddenly make her a different person. It did feel at times like she was written in a way that was trying too hard to seem like she was one of the guys, overly immature or being gross, and because the three guys never really acted that way too much, it gave her the feeling of being younger than them.
The three guys were all very different. Cowboy was the quiet, shy one who could barely talk to the girl he liked; Ollie was brash, loud and I was probably not supposed to like him for most of the book since he could be mean to Toni but I always felt there was more to him; Loch was a dreamer, their leader, and Toni’s love interest. Even though the story was mainly about Toni, they all managed to stand out with their own personalities and their own growth through the book.
One thing I really liked was the tension in some of the relationships in the book. Toni and one of her guy friend’s, Ollie, had the most and I could see the point both sides had even though neither was fully in the right. The tension between Toni and her stepfather was the most understandable out of all the tensions. He tried but had no idea how to relate to Toni and she resented the new rules he brought to her life.
I would have liked to see the book have gone deeper into the friendships, both the ones Toni had before and the ones she made. We barely saw Toni and her boys as a group before she was sent to the new school and their dynamic was already changing by then. I didn’t really feel the whole epic friendship between them. They were friends and cared about each other but maybe if it had been built up more, I would have felt it. Toni’s friendships with the girls at her new school felt very sudden and besides Emma, we never really saw them develop.
Overall, it was a nice coming-of-age type story, growing up and changing friendships, and how it doesn’t have to be a bad thing.