Book Review: Dear Aubrey, The Crush Dilemma

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Spoiler alert: this book is kind of adorable. And silly fun.

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The Crush Dilemma
(Dear Aubrey
#1, apparently?) 

Susan Hatler

Published 2016

Format: Kindle ebook
GenreYoung Adult, Romance
Ratingmoosemoosemoose 3.5/5 Moose

Synopsis 

Poppy Pinkleton (YUP), the quintessential high school geek/nerd  decides to start an anonymous advice column for her high school paper in order to get extra credit for school [Goodreads says 3 units of college credit but um… I don’t see how that’s going to happen], help her relieve some stress from her inner turmoil and SAY WHAT SHE WANTS, and help her work on psychology, her dream career field.

Suddenly Aubrey, her alter ego, has become one of the most popular girls in school, the one all the “It girls” go to for advice.  But the pressure gets worse as Poppy begins to gain more of a social standing, and potentially even a first boyfriend?

Characters

Poppy (Rose) Pinkleton, the protagonist – A typical geeky girl in high school, whose number one priority is her GPA and getting in to Stanford. She decides to write an advice column because she doesn’t feel she can voice her own opinion or break free of her Geek Girl mold. She has a younger brother (Stephen) and a single mom who is always pushing her to her breaking point.

Beth (Ann), the best friend – The geeky best friend who wants to be part of the It Crowd. Poppy and Beth’s friendship is strained and put through tests throughout the book as Beth becomes friends with the most popular girl in school. (Oh yeah there is Mason, their third best friend, but he and Poppy rarely interact for best friends.)

Daniel, the love interest – New kid in school, basketball superstar. Takes an interest in Poppy (and thankfully never says “you aren’t like the other girls!”) Can he be the only one to see into her soul?

Trisha, the antagonist – Think your typical mean girl from all high school stories.

Rants, Raves and General Thoughts

I’ve been having a little bit of trouble focusing on books — I get into a bit of a slump sometimes. This book was light and adorable enough to help me get out of the slump.

First, I had some real issues with this book. The beginning seems rushed, the characters are almost cliches of their tropes, and the book could have done with another pass of editing. For example, there is a section where Poppy and Daniel are working on their English essays — writing about who the admire (really? at 16? and only 2 pages?) and it’s a huge dilemma because Daniel can’t figure out who he admires. And with Poppy’s help, he does! …..Except we the readers never find out who that person is.

Second, there are next to no descriptions of anybody physically, except that Poppy has D sized breast, and Jake and Daniel are muscular (and Daniel has “unique” green eyes). Maybe the author did this so that anyone can imagine their own friends in the group, but I couldn’t tell you one thing about Beth or Mason, except that Beth owns shiny shoes. Heck, I couldn’t tell you what color Poppy’s hair is, but she does have bangs.

Despite Poppy’s extreme innocence and naivety (I’ve liked him forever surely he isn’t an asshole!), this book was cute. I always wanted to write my own anonymous advice column, and it was fun to live through another character doing it.

Final Verdict

While writing this review, I realized I had more negative feelings about the book than I initially thought. But the truth is, this book left me feeling happy at the end of the book. I am not sure if I will continue the series, but it was definitely the light fluffy book I needed today. If you like YA romance, give this a shot.

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