Ayla Hawkins is ready to stand up for change in her high school. But winning the election for class president against popular Jenna Lee will be impossible without a miracle. When she stumbles upon Mr. Perfect Luke Pressler defacing public property and catches it on camera: cue miracle. Ayla’s got the dirt she needs to get Luke on Team Ayla—in the form of her new fake boyfriend.
One mistake. All Luke wanted was a night to goof off, to blow off steam. The pressure of maintaining the perfect facade when his reality was crumbling around him had become too much, and next thing he knew, he was pretending to date Ayla Hawkins. But his little blackmailer turns out to be kind. Honorable. Opinionated. And just the breath of fresh air he didn’t even realize he was suffocating for. But Luke and Ayla come from different worlds, and once the election is over, their fauxmance will be, too.
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book features adult language, sexual situations, and plenty of girl power. Reading may result in swooning, laughing, and looking for a Luke of your own.
3.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.
I’m…not sure…exactly what I thought. I enjoyed myself thoroughly. It was what I was looking for, something a bit lighter with swoony moments. But it did have some other depth that I hadn’t been expecting but still found very intriguing and gut-wrenching. But at the same time there were a few things that bugged me, and it was a bit more obviously predictable. I mean, it’s not that I don’t often pick up these books knowing that they will be predictable, because that also means that I get those predictable good feelings. But there was just something a bit more that didn’t work for me…or maybe it’s that there were a few things that went off book that didn’t necessarily fit for me. Huh, so did I find it too cliché or not predictable enough? I don’t even know.
OK, good stuff. In general I really enjoyed both our MCs. At the core of Ayla, she was a sassy personality who believes in noble things and desires fairness and opportunities for everyone. I enjoyed that while she was a curvier girl, she was OK with who she was most of the time…I actually liked that it wasn’t 100% of the time, b/c it’s something I think people have to work at and takes time. Even I try to accept myself, but it’s not that sometimes things people say can’t still get to me. So I felt like that was very real, and so she was a good role model. And I didn’t even mind that what we got with her was the typical nerdy girl who hates judgement, but does a bit of her own judgement about the popular kids/jocks. It’s a good lesson to learn, to give EVERYONE the benefit of the doubt, not just the ones like you. And I didn’t even mind that she resorted to blackmail, though I wish I felt the desperation more to justify it. It seems like she only just decided in one day to run, and suddenly she’s resorting to shady means to win. It was OK, but could have been fleshed out better.
Luke was even more interesting in some ways. Because we end up with a guy who is afraid to upset his current status by being himself, and who’s both vandalized and either called people names (according to Ayla’s friends), or at minimum stood by while his friends were dicks. I felt like these things weren’t given enough time or thought in the book though, and that was kind of a shame. Did he really never feel bad about Jack being such a dick to other people in school? What led him to the vandalism? I mean, we kind of get some of it, but I would have really appreciated a bit more growth there. It was kind of swept under the rug (except for that one part with Isaac). It was an opportunity missed in my opinion. And I get why, there was just so much else going on with him. But it’s not an excuse you know? So did he honestly just have so little compassion? Or was he just not aware? I don’t know…
But on the other side of the coin, I (like Ayla) really fell for the “real” Luke that we got to see outside of school. Landon’s big brother. He was really rather sweet, and it almost seemed like maybe he was just coasting, and needed someone to give him a reason to stand up for something. And that someone was Ayla. And he really was dealing with soooo much at home. The twists were a bit unexpected, and honestly I’m still not sure how happy I am with the realism of them. Like they live in one town, and he never saw or encountered those people (trying to be vague)? That’s kind of unrealistic, isn’t it?
As for secondary characters, they were occasionally a mixed bag. I wanted to see more of the friendships with Brady and Chloe. Because I think they could have added even more. I wanted them to, from what I saw of them. But for Chloe, I wasn’t sure what brought her and Ayla together…what they were like together. We didn’t really get to see them hang out, she was just kind of ancillary to the plot. I got a bit more from Brady, but I kind of wanted him to be more involved with Luke. Like he lived on Mansion Hill, did he not notice those people?
Landon and Ayla’s parents were awesome though. Awesome awesome awesome. Added good stuff, made me happy. Awesome.
I was a bit bummed with the way the whole Jenna thing worked out too. I saw it coming from a mile away, but it would have been cool to have been surprised, you know?
So yeah, it was a solid cliché YA. They’re good to have. I just felt like it could have given me a bit more and I would have been a bit more satisfied.