Tyler Schumann has always been known as Nelson High’s goofy clown, the guy with the big mouth. But there’s something people don’t know: he’s tired of being in the shadows of his Raiders’ buddies, and he’s ready to do whatever it takes to get the one girl in school he wants to finally notice him: Roxanne Carmichael.
Sammy Carmichael is just one of the guys, known for her mad boarding skills and her razor-sharp wit. But she has a secret, too—a crush on her best friend. It’s a relationship she’s not willing to risk damaging by getting all romantic about it.
When Tyler asks for Sammy’s help, she’s stoked to be able to spend a little one-on-one time with him. Their secret mission will bring them closer together…until she realizes what he’s really after—her sister. Tired of being in the shadows herself, Sammy sets out on a mission of her own to prove that she’s the Carmichael girl he really wants.
But the secrets and lies she discovers as she embarks on her quest could tear her relationship with Tyler to shreds, and Sammy must decide which lies are worth exposing and how much damage the truth will cause.
4.5 stars — I received a free copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.
OK, I’ll have to read The Playmaker again, but I think this is my favourite of the series!! Sammy and Tyler’s story was exactly everything I was hoping for. Not only did it answer all the questions I had, but it tied up the overarching plotline that was running in the background for most of the series in a satisfying way for me.
You know one of the strange things I love about this series? For most of the main characters, we actually get a glimpse of the parents — and they run the gamut, some great examples of good parents, and some great examples of dysfunctional families and (sort of) bad parents. So it really gives a lot of teens someone to vibe with in the family department. So many times in young adult novels I find the parental figures to be just missing altogether. It’s not that they take up a lot of time in any of these stories, but they exist, and they’ve shaped who the heroes and heroines are. Tyler has a great set of parents that I admired as much as Sammy (though I will admit I’m confused and curious about Tyler’s family sibling-wise, b/c we’d get occasional mentions of older siblings, and so I was curious about the make up even if it wasn’t really relevant to the story). Sammy, on the other hand, comes from a more dysfunctional family with parents that fight and bring those children into the fights. And while her parents aren’t *bad* per se, they aren’t ideal and she struggles with them (in particular her Mother). But I did appreciate that her Mother wasn’t just an evil character, but a misguided one moreso.
Tyler was hella interesting as a book boy for me, b/c we saw him have lustful feelings for lots of girls, but it didn’t take away from his feelings for Sammy (once he finally started to realize them). It was a nicely realistic guy perspective in my opinion. He was a little heartbreaking in his own right b/c he just had such skewed priorities, and so it prevented him from seeing what was important in life. I also loved how his experiences didn’t match up with his boasting, as we’d sort of seen hints of in the previous books. I thought his growth was really realistic and I really believed in how he fell for Sammy, and how confused he was by all that he was feeling.
Sammy was the star for me. I don’t have a lot in common with her, but I fell for her regardless. I loved how strong she was in wanting to be who she was inside, regardless of the pressures she felt from family to be something else (more girly). But my heart also broke for her, b/c while she wasn’t willing to compromise herself, it didn’t mean that it didn’t still hurt that it didn’t feel like anyone wanted her for *her*. I can vibe with that — wanting to be liked/loved, but not willing to change myself to achieve that. So in that way she totally spoke to me. Yeah, I don’t really know what more to say, other than I really loved who she was and totally have a girl crush on her. I don’t tend to get a lot of book girl crushes, so she’s in a bit of an elite club.
The romance was definitely pretty slowburning b/c Tyler had to get his head out of his butt, but I loved what we did get, and I really felt like it was realistic and authentic. And woo boy, the kisses were pretty sweet. I definitely had some mega-grinning going on.
It was FANTASTIC to see all the characters from the series coming together in this book. It was honestly the perfect wrap up in that way.
I was feeling a little up and down with the whole Roxy situation. On one hand I started thinking the way Sammy was feeling and reacting didn’t fit her, but then when I really thought about it (and as the story continued at the end) I supposed I could see it. So basically I’m conflicted. There were parts of me that liked it, but parts that wished there was a more satisfying explanation or something.
I’m sad to see this series end, but I think it was the perfect end at the same time. I can’t wait to find out what the next series is for Ms. Ford, I will definitely be on board for checking it out.