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ReviewI have to say that I enjoy it when an author manages to write high school without turning it into an episode of Gossip Girl. (I have almost no problems if they want it to resemble Buffy: The Vampire-Slayer, but that's a subject for another post.) I read a lot of YA books wherein high school bears no resemblance to how life worked at my alma mater and sometimes, that's hilariously refreshing and sometimes it just annoys me that the author can't seem to grasp how teenagers think.
This book does not have that problem. Whether talking about a flaky group project partner, stains that won't come out of your Homecoming dress, or someone complaining about having bombed their French quiz, it felt like a very natural environment. The main characters meet in a summer school class that Emme is taking because the local newspaper rescinded her internship when they forgot to mention that she needed to be 16 and have her own car. On her birthday, she gets an awesome present that costs a ton (she's dating an It Guy after all), but he stops and makes them compare class schedules for the upcoming school year. All of the characters dress like normal teenagers and go to their parents for help paying for a special occasion.
The twist comes with the interactions with the eponymous It Guy, who doesn't seem to understand that he needs to have a better balance between having a good college application and having a good relationship with the girl he's dating. He skips an event that's very important to her to host a charity auction, which would annoy me, too. He's grown up as the son of a prominent politician, so is used to being a people-pleaser who doesn't always know when to have quality time one-on-one. It was a source of frustration to me that he kept missing this point, so I'm glad that there was character development talking about not only his response to the concern, but how Emme felt about the dynamic.
This is definitely a clean read overall, but the characters make frequent references to who is probably sleeping around and gold-digging and there is public intoxication involving high school students at one point.