The majority of this review was first posted on November 3, 2015
--Hey, exactly one year ago today, how about that!?
"Here's something a lot of people don't realize. The number one, biggest fear people have isn't death--which is what you'd guess, right? It's public speaking.When you're friends because of who you were and not who you are, it's hard not to find the common thread that stitches you together."
~Katie, RED GIRL, BLUE BOY
Next week is Election Day in the USA, and say what you will about either candidate, but...we're about to have a new president! Do you like reading "atmospheric" or "timely" books as they take place in society? I do! Last year, I reviewed RED GIRL, BLUE BOY by Lauren Baratz-Logsted, and this year, I wanted to review another book that takes place during the political season...so I dragged out this review since you may not have heard of the book when it debuted! If you're a mood reader or want something to read this political season because you're planning to stay off the ugliness of social media until this election cycle is over, the newest addition to Bloomsbury's If Only Line might be the book for you!
Katie has always run in political circles. She's been with her dad on the campaign trail since she was four, when she received her first clipboard. She's never been able to fully live like a normal teen, even though her dad's campaign manager has tried to get her to do so. She doesn't make time for friends and is so focused on the future, she's already dreaming about what china to have at the White House.
Drew wasn't always into politics. Actually, he still isn't. His family recently came into money, and his mother decided to indulge her dream of political success. He wants out of the limelight as much as possible, away from all the political BS. When Katie Willfield calls him out for being a wimp on national TV, it's ON.
When Katie and Drew meet, sparks fly. Neither of them knows it, ubt they both met and had an instant connection as children, a connection that comes back in full force now that they're older. Katie is looking for a friend, and maybe Drew can be her first one. Drew thinks Katie is hot, and he wants to protect her from the media hounds, for some strange reason. Right as they have a falling out, their Republican and Democratic parents find out about their relationship and tell them to start faking it, not to break up, because it will get polls up. Can they sort out their issues before the Election, when they'll once more be out of one another's social circles?
This book was a little up and down for me. It's definitely more geared toward tweens and will hold their attention. They'll be rooting for this Romeo and Juliet-style couple, and the book is squeaky clean and perfect for that age.
So....let's talk about characters. I REALLY liked Drew. His chapters were my favorites to read. He's a genuinely good guy, and the public sees that right away. Girls are fawning all over him after the way he protects Katie during an intrusive on-air interview. At the same time, he's not good with girls. He doesn't want to go out with any of his classmates, and his idea of a date is bringing a girl over to sit and chat in the garage while he works on his car. Poor clueless guy! ^.~ But he also gets brownie points for indulging Katie in her eccentricities, such as singing along when she thinks dates should be like a scene out of High School Musical.
Katie, on the other hand, was a lot harder to love. For example, she LOVES exclamation points! She loves them so much!! She's always using them! And saying things like Yippee! ...It got a little old fast. She reminds me of those girls from the teen movies who is ignored because she has glasses and braces and juvenile interests, keeping her outside popular social circles. Only, Katie is actually very pretty! She's just SUPER into politics and doesn't care about making friends. Katie is super naive and reads very young, but she's also never allowed herself to have a life outside of politics. She has no friends at school and thinks the way to get one is to go on national TV--yippee! But that doesn't work out for her. She doesn't start experiencing life until she becomes friends with Drew, and that's when her character development starts to change and become more interesting, even though she's still pretty self-absorbed.
I like that there wasn't mudslinging and that both families could get along, despite being major political opponents in the run for presidency. It's promising for a future should Katie and Drew decide to be in a real relationship; you can tell that the parental units will support them. At the same time, it sucks that they both thought it was a good idea to manipulate their children for poll results. Katie's father does this much more frequently than Drew's mother, and on the terms of how they act and how idealistic they are for a better future, I want Drew's mother to win the election. Though Katie would certainly explode if that were to happen. Drew could survive his family losing because he doesn't want a future in the White House, but it would destroy Katie. But going on their PARENTS...I think Drew's mother would make a better president. ...And maybe be the first female in the Oval Office?
If you're looking for a fast read that has romance with a great premise, give RED GIRL, BLUE BOY a chance. It wasn't executed as well as I would have liked because I didn't super love most of the characters, but it's still fun, especially during this time of year. And it's PERFECT if you're looking for good clean reads for teens!