February 10, 2015

Review: One of the Guys by Lisa Aldin

One of the Guys by Lisa Aldin
Publication date: Feb. 10, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary Fiction
Source: Received ARC via Netgalley (Thanks!)
Summary: Tomboy to the core, Toni Valentine understands guys. So Toni is horrified when she's sent to the Winston Academy for Girls, where she has to wear a skirt and learn to be a lady while the guys move on without her. Then Toni meets Emma Elizabeth, a girl at school with boy troubles, and she volunteers one of her friends as a pretend date. Word spreads of Toni’s connections with boys, and she discovers that her new wealthy female classmates will pay big money for fake dates. Looking for a way to connect her old best friends with her new life at school, Toni and Emma start up a Rent-A-Gent Service. But the business meets a scandal when Toni falls for one of her friends--the same guy who happens to be the most sought-after date. With everything she's built on the line, Toni has to decide if she wants to save the business and her old life, or let go of being one of the guys for a chance at love. (Adapted goodreads.com)

The good
You know these books where the girl only has guy friends and looks at other girls as being this strange breed she doesn't know how to hang out with? They always make me chuckle because I was and wasn't that girl. My constant companions while growing up were my four boy cousins and the three boys who lived across the street. I was happily roped into playing sports and video games. But I could just as happily turn to my Barbies and books and put on a pretty dress. Likewise at school, I sought out female friendships because I had more than enough testosterone around me at home. This is a bit of a tangent but my point is, books like this always intrigue me (and sometimes put me off) because I never felt like I had to choose to between being girly or a tomboy. But I have to say that One of the Guys is definitely one of the better books I've read on this very topic.

Toni Valentine's three best friends are Loch, Ollie and Cowboy and she's just one of the guys. She enjoys horror movies, monster hunts and constantly drinks Mountain Dew (a girl after my own heart!). She hates all things pink and feminine and has never once lost her mind over a boy. But when she and her friends pull a silly prank, Toni's parents force her to enroll at Windsor Academy for Girls, which is basically her worst nightmare. She ends up making one friend, Emma Elizabeth, when Toni offers one of the guys to pretend to be Emma's date to make her ex jealous. Word spreads and soon enough, Toni and Emma have created a Rent-A-Gent service which serves two purposes: it lets Toni hold onto the guys and they get to earn money. But, of course, hijinks and drama and romance ensues and they can only sustain this for so long before it blows up in their faces.

Truthfully, the Rent-A-Gent thing didn't interest me much but I will tell you what did stand out to me. I loved how the author handled what Toni was going through with Loch, Ollie and Cowboy. It didn't feel like this girl didn't want to lose her guy friends and have girl friends instead. It felt like a person who didn't want their lifelong friendships to change or grow apart and anybody can relate to that. That's a common feeling to have right before going to college. You don't want change but you know it's inevitable and as a result, you sometimes hold on tighter. I also loved how positive the author was about femininity and female friendships. Sure, we see the cattier side of girls we all know and hate because let's face it, that's a reality. But there's this great moment where Emma tells Toni that being feminine or girlie doesn't equal less and that she should embrace her womanhood. It's a big moment for Toni that made me want to stand up and yell "Yes!" in agreement. The friendship these two girls build - which is based on honesty and support - was a joy to see.

(Minor) Reservations
Like I said, the Rent-A-Gent service had its funny moment but also felt a bit much? It's a plot device which moves things along but it interested me the least. Then Toni starts to develop feelings for one of her guy friends. I saw it coming. I rooted for it. But it was missing something. I can't quite put my finger on it but I felt like the buildup was somehow lacking.

Do I recommend?
It's a cute book and a really quick read so I'd recommend checking it out!

2 comments:

  1. I totally agree with your statement: "books like this always intrigue me (and sometimes put me off) because I never felt like I had to choose to between being girly or a tomboy"

    I usually don't gravitate towards books like this because it bugs me when things are portrayed as one way or the other. Anything involving super traditional gender roles puts me off. BUT, most books (by the end) show how it isn't true. Being a tomboy and girly girl aren't exclusive. You can be both, as both you and I know haha.

    I did add this one to my TBR and am glad to hear you liked it! I was on the fence.

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  2. One of the Guys sounds super cute! I had the complete opposite experience growing up, as I was surrounded mostly by girls. But that's actually a huge part of the reason I adore reading books like this one! It gives me a different perspective ;)

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