Cameron Bates (Cam) could have almost any girl at Franklin High School…except for the one he wants. Unfortunately Bebe seems to be immune to his flirty charm and good looks, which means one of two things: a) she’s completely oblivious to how he feels, or b) she’s just not into him. If that’s the case, declaring his love would be disastrous for their friendship.
Bianca Barnes (Bebe) has a huge problem: the universe hates her. Every time she admits feelings for a boy, he ends up falling for her sweet, popular, and beautiful sister Beth. To avoid a broken heart, Bebe has sworn herself to secrecy. Nobody can know how she feels about Cam…Ever!
Neither person wants to confess their feelings, but the universe has its own plan. Out of the blue, Bebe is courted by a secret admirer. Cam has to step up his game and Bebe has to make a choice. Play it safe and accept the affections of her mystery man or challenge fate and take a chance on the boy she loves.
Content Description: This is a stand-alone YA contemporary romance with companion novels to follow. It contains minor language, innuendo, crude humor and steamy tension but is generally very clean. No sex. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
3.5 stars — I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.
This was a wonderful debut, and a super cute YA. Honestly, if it hadn’t been for my personal tastes, I would have rated this book higher. As you can tell from the blurb, the entire premise of this book is based on not communicating…it’s what drives the plot. Cam is afraid to tell Bianca about his feelings for fear of losing the friendship and being rejected, and Bianca refuses to tell ANYONE about her feelings for Cam b/c of what boils down to self-esteem issues. Both are super valid feelings for teenagers, and it definitely felt realistic. But I still have a hard time reading it personally, b/c it can result in a really frustrating book. As far as books with “near misses” go, this one wasn’t horrible for me. I think I was OK with it up to about 70%, and then I started to get tired and want more. What it can provide is some great tension between the characters, and I thought that Cam and Bebe had that. But if I’m (personally) not given enough growth and development of the characters, then I tend to be left with more frustration than I can handle. I need something to balance it out, you know?
Now, with all that being said, I was honestly sucked in and hooked for a good portion of the book. I’m not sure if it was great characters, or just me loving the double unrequited love trope (where they both secretly love each other, but assume the other doesn’t feel the same), but I was invested in seeing how their story would unfold. I found both characters to be equally ADORABLE, CUTE, QUIRKY on one hand, and FRUSTRATING as all get out on the other. You have no idea how many times I huffed in annoyance when something would get in the way and delay my gratification. I know a lot of readers enjoy that, so I know not everyone will feel the same as me.
Bianca had a lot of traits that draw me to a heroine…I find it so easy to empathize with heroines that have self-esteem issues, and don’t see their own worth. What I enjoyed about her is that it wasn’t all that she was about. I LOVED how strong and confident she was in her basketball skills, and how sassy she could be with Cam and the other people she hangs out with. I thought the relationship with her sister, Beth, really added to Bianca’s depth…her feeling conflicted b/c Beth was her best friend, but also the source of her feelings of inferiority in some ways.
Cam could be soooooo freaking cute, and I ADORED what he did to show Bianca his feelings. Seriously, he gave me total tummy tingles, and I just wanted to hug him so many times!! I loved seeing what he would do next. And the pickup basketball game scene?? SWOON!! BUT. But. Sometimes when he was going overboard with his jealousy, I was a bit disappointed in him. I had to keep reminding myself he was a 16 year old boy… So he didn’t quite get put in my top book boyfriend lists, but he still made me smile.
There were some great secondary characters as well. I loved that there weren’t any stereotypical bad characters either, you could see hints of depth in a few of them (I’m intrigued by Michael, and even Angelica surprised me). So many times authors will cop out and make characters overly evil, so it was refreshing that Ms. Daniels did not go there in this novel. And of course Brady and Beth were fantastic additions. It would have been so easy to make both of those characters too good to be true, you know? But they weren’t. They had depth as well, they made mistakes (particularly Beth), and they both won me over. I loved how each of their little stories played out. Honestly the only characters I could have stood to see more of were parents…they were noticeably absent (both BeBe’s and Cam’s).
All in all a solid debut. If it hadn’t been for my personal aversion to lack of communication, it would have been an even bigger hit with me. Will definitely look forward to seeing more from this author.