When Amy, on her way to becoming valedictorian of her graduating class and getting accepted to her dream school, gets dumped by her long-term boyfriend, she takes a job at a record store to ease the pain. She needs a distraction, badly.
Oliver, Amy’s record store co-worker, isn’t so sure about Amy―his complete opposite―but what he is sure of is his decision not to go to college. He just can’t figure out how to tell his mother.
As they work late-night shifts at the record store, Amy and Oliver become friends and then confidantes and then something more, but when Amy has a hard time letting go of what she thought was her perfect future with her ex, she risks losing the future she didn’t even know she wanted with Oliver.
Tags: YA, Contemporary Romance, Flawed characters, POC, Mexican, Irish, Alcoholic parent
(I received a free digital copy of this book, thanks to Swoon Reads(a Macmillan imprint) and Edelweiss, in exchange for my honest review. This does not affect my opinions on the book.)
You guys already know I’m a huge fan of science fiction, but did you know that my other favorite genre’s YA contemporary romance? Come to think of it, romance makes any book I read just that more enjoyable, apart from a few exceptions(I’m looking at you Scythe). Particularly the slow-burn kind! I think it’s ’cause they seem more realistic.
Now, All Our Worst Ideas by Vicky Skinner isn’t 100% slow-burn because one of the character falls for the other quite fast. But! This did not detract me from enjoying this book, because boy, oh boy, did I love it! Told in dual POVs, we watch as two seemingly polar opposites gravitate closer together as they discover mutual interests and principles within each other. Music is an integral part of both Amy and Oliver’s characters, and it is this that causes their paths to cross.
This is not the fluffy kind of contemporary romance as we see both characters grapple with their own challenges in life. Amy is running on fumes trying to get a perfect score so that she can get into an Ivy League school, but her efforts are starting to take a toll on her mental state and relationships. While Oliver finds himself adrift in life, unsure about his future, keeping a secret from his mother, and picking up after his alcoholic father.
What I love about this book is how realistic the everything unfolds. Sometimes things go well but then you get a setback, where do you go from there? The characters aren’t completely sure of themselves, they make mistakes, or take risks that pull through in the end. No character is completely good or bad.
But I still love him. No matter what I do, I can’t stop.
There’s a love triangle but everyone’s clear where the other’s feelings are at. It was nice to see the ex not being painted as a total jerk, realistically portraying how you can still be hung up over your past lover, because they still possess the qualities you fell for and you remember all those lovely times the two of you had. Although Amy sometimes made me want to conk her on the head for not letting go after all that had happened!
The romance between Amy and Oliver was raw and sweet. The whole dance between them of not knowing each other’s feelings was exquisite torture. And that first kiss? OMG, I practically s-wooned! Hottest kiss ever. And it was just a kiss! I also loved seeing how Oliver was unknowingly jealous over Amy’s ex(not in a controlling way or anything).
“Who knows, maybe he’ll go to Missouri Baptist, and the two of you will be friends.”
Over my dead body.
However, I thought the plot turn 3/4th of the way into the story was a disappointing move on the author’s part. After all the realistic parts she had to go and do something just as a plot device that could’ve been avoided had one party talked things out with the other. It was hella frustrating. But I’ll concede that perhaps it was for the better because both of them needed to re-evaluate their views, and hey, better get that straight earlier than later, right?
As for the other characters, we didn’t get to know them well enough but whatever we do get to see I liked. Especially Brooke, who was the hip older friend of Oliver’s. I simply adored her! I loved her sense of humor and directness. I also liked and appreciated the direction in which things went between Petra and Amy.
All Our Worst Ideas balanced the cute moments that readers look for in a teenage romance novel and realistic troubles to give it more gravity, turning this into more than just a light summer read.
Parental Guidance: PG15+
Violence – None, but one of the parents is an alcoholic
Sex – Some sexual tension and touching, one sex scene off the pages
Religion – One of the characters goes to church
Profanity – Medium level