[REVIEW] How (Not) to Find a Boyfriend

Series: N/A
 Allyson Valentine
 young adult, contemporary, romance, realistic fiction, chick lit, humor
 June 12, 2014 (first published June 6th, 2013)
Publisher: Speak
Purchase: Amazon

With the perfect plan to get the guy, what could possibly go wrong? 
Nora Fulbright is the most talented new cheerleader at Riverbend High. She may have been a friendless overachiever in the past, but this year Nora is determined to transform from social larva to full-blown butterfly. Even if it means dumbing herself down. But when Adam moves to town and steals Nora's heart with his ultra-smarts, she devises a plan to wow him with her intellect. Every move she makes getting closer to Adam is move complicated, and she quickly loses control of her strategy. Can Nora prove that she's not a complete airhead while keeping her image in check? 

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Admittedly I bought this book because of that attention grabbing title. I mean, just look at it, read it. It's so catchy!

ANYWAY, here's a quick rundown on the story. Let's say that this is my revised blurb:
Nora's smart BUT she wants to be popular. So when she moved schools, her plan: never admit to anyone that she's actually smart, dumb down her subjects from AP classes to regular ones, join the cheer squad, and date the hottest, most popular, and possibly one of the dumbest guy in school, Jake. But when Adam enters the equation, her plans changed OR has to change.
In all honesty, there's nothing this book can do that can make me love it, add it to my fave list, or plainly stop the rage that grew inside me while reading this. Admittedly, this book just isn't for me. It's got stereotyping, an annoying protagonist that's in desperate need of popularity, a protagonist who tries to please every people she meets and is highly insecure of her standing in the popularity list.

Surely, it's okay no be insecure and feel the need to have a good reputation. Valentine was able to successfully pull off a good development for Nora. This is nothing but a cliche story, if you ask me. Nora is in desperate need to get everything she wants. She finds her self in so many 'swaps' because of trying to achieve her a goal which is to get as close as possible to Adam.

The book mostly focus on Nora's struggle in keeping up with her social life, her swaps, her relationship with her family and her best friend, and her position in Adam's life. Romance, while is the driving force of the story, is basically a decent part of it although not exactly overtaking Nora's struggle. There is, of course, enough time to develop Nora and make her realize several things which is being yourself.

"I guess life really is a lot like chess," I say. "Once you've made your move, you can't change your mind. What's done is done and you need to just play your game the best you can from that point on." -p260

What I particularly like here is Nora's relationship with her father. Nothing really hit me in here other than this. I really love how she stresses her dislike for her father - why he left them for his career, her love for chess. The conclusion for his side of the story basically made me go 'aww'. The time in which Nora is finally opening up to her father again, is of course the best part of the novel. Nothing cheesy about it. Just a father and a daughter, playing chess and getting closer to each other all over again. It's a really wonderful thing.

This book is at its core, an inspirational story. It tells you that there's no one else you should be but yourself. It's an encouragement for those who tries to please people or try to fit in. It's a call to embrace yourself. This book defies stereotyping as Nora is a cheerleader and she's not dumb or stupid. She's, in fact, smart.

OVERALL, How (Not) to Find a Boyfriend is a young adult contemporary that encourages its readers to be who they are. It's got a well developed protagonist and a decent romance. I like Nora's relationship with her father and her brother, Joshie (definitely the best guy in this novel!). It's recommended for YA contemporary romance readers although not for those like me who dislikes protagonist are that desperate to the core (will do anything and everything to achieve something, even the stupid things).

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What I Like: (1) Joshie, Phil, and Nora's dad (my fave people in the novel!!), (2) Nora's development (admittedly, it's good but I did not ended up liking her), (3) how it breaks stereotyping (definitely a great thing!)

What I Didn’t Like: (1) how Nora initially was - her desperation for popularity, social acceptance (biggest turn off for me), (2) the things Nora did in order to achieve her goal, (3) Adam is not a swoon worthy guy (in fact, he's oddly oblivious of Nora's actions - last time I check this is a novel, NOT an anime)


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