I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
I requested this book when I saw it on NetGalley because I thought it sounded like a fluffy piece of mindless reading in which a high school girl dates her way through the boys of classic literature. Instead, what I got was a brilliant and feminist piece of fiction that, while still fluffy and sweet, kept me seriously entertained.
For the first time in many years, Merri is attending a co-ed school. Her friends are always teasing her about having her nose constantly stuck in a book and how trashy all of her “book boyfriends” are. As she gets settled in the school, she is met with condescension from upperclassmen students from the get go but slowly makes her way into a social circle she feels welcome in.
And then she means Monroe, a popular boy who actually wants to date her! Merri is over the moon, but Monroe is not at all who she thought I was.
Merri is basically most of the book lover community in high school. She’s so sweet and is constantly getting herself completely lost in her books, but it also gives her a naivety about the world as she thinks ever romance should be like it is in fiction.
Eliza is Merri’s best friend, a super genius with famous super genius parents, she acts as the rational side of Merri’s life. She is severe and a little cold, but it’s because she is someone who won’t tolerate anyone’s nonsense. Eliza is what makes things feminist as she reminds Merri about what relationships are and reminds her that her body and her life belong to no one else but her.
I would really love to discuss Monroe but I don’t want to spoil anything in this fantastic novel, so I’m not going to. Just know that the way he is written is absolutely perfect.
The Issues [ spoilers ]
Once again this is a book I have no issues with. It surprisingly dealt with a number of issues I wish I had known when I started dating seriously. Monroe is the perfect example of a guy who seems super sweet and romantic but is honestly an egomaniac with control issues. Merri obviously falls head-over-heels for him and ignores the doubts she has – as well as doubts her friends have – about the kind of person Monroe is. With the help of Eliza, she begins to re-realize that her choices matter too and her boundaries should be respected just as she respects Monroe’s boundaries when it comes to not discussing his family. He’s someone who has no regard for the girls he is interested in – note that I’m fairly certain Monroe is in 12th grade while Merri is only in 10th – and his lack of respecting boundaries is incredibly uncomfortable which is why he is such a well written villain.
This is a book that I can see as being “under-rated” while also hoping it does very well. It’s cute, funny, and quick to read, but also has the potential to help young girls (or boys if they read this genre of story) how to spot a potentially dangerous or toxic relationship. It’s a great hidden-retelling and I can’t wait for Tiffany to release the sequel in the next year or so. I highly recommend this book.
When I received this ARC in February the title was simply Bookish Boyfriends and had a completely different cover! I just want to add that now that the book is Bookish Boyfriends Book 1: A Date With Darcy. I personally preferred the original title, but either way, this is still a very cute read and I still look forward to the sequel.
Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Published: May 1st 2018
Publisher: Amulet Paperbacks
Synopsis: The first of two books in an intended paperback original series about a girl whose classic literary crushes manifest in real life. Merrilee Campbell, 16, thinks boys are better in books, chivalry is dead, and there’d be nothing more romantic than having just one guy woo her like the heroes in classic stories. She’s about to get the chance to test these daydreams when she, her best friend, Eliza, and her younger sister, Rory, transfer into Reginald R. Hero High, where all their fantasies come true—often with surprising consequences.