Jenny O’Connell gives us a sweet coming of age novel about the hardships of figuring out love, friendships, right and wrong, and most importantly, yourself.
Emily Abbott has always been considered the Girl Most Likely to Be Nice — but lately being nice hasn’t done her any good. Her parents have decided to move the family from Chicago back to their hometown of Boston in the middle of Emily’s senior year. Only Emily’s first real boyfriend, Sean, is in Chicago, and so is her shot at class valedictorian and early admission to the Ivy League. What’s a nice girl to do?
Then Sean dumps Emily on moving day and her father announces he’s staying behind in Chicago “to tie up loose ends,” and Emily decides that what a nice girl needs to do is to stop being nice.
She reconnects with her best friends in Boston, Josie and Lucy, only to discover that they too have been on the receiving end of some glaring Guy Don’ts. So when the girls have to come up with something to put in the senior class time capsule, they know exactly what to do. They’ll create a not-so-nice reference guide for future generations of guys — an instruction book that teaches them the right way to treat girls.
But when her friends draft Emily to test out their tips on Luke Preston — the hottest, most popular guy in school, who just broke up with Josie by email — Emily soon finds that Luke is the trickiest of test subjects . . . and that even a nice girl like Emily has a few things to learn about love.
“Hiding how you really feel and trying to make everyone happy doesn’t make you nice, it just makes you a liar.”
For Miss Manners Emily Abbott, conning a boy was something that she would never even consider doing… that is, until she meets her BFF Josie’s ex-boyfriend, Luke Preston. Luke Preston is is the epitome of crushworthy, if only his personality matched his looks. He broke up with Josie in an e-mail. Emily’s best friends Josie and Lucy take this opportunity to teach Luke a lesson with their Senior class time capsule. They create, non other than, The Book Of Luke. This is a book full of tips and tricks to corralling even the most devilish, wicked high school boys like Luke.
Emily has always been a wet blanket, having been raised by the country’s top etiquette columnist, Patricia Abbott. Her Senior year of highschool, she decides to change this huge part of herself, it’s ridiculous. She wants to stop being nice, and for once, just do something because it’s what she wants, not what’s polite. Her friends think that trying to change Luke with the guide that they have created is the perfect opportunity. I think that a lot of people feel this way, and that Emily is pretty relatable. She is in a fight with her father for the majority of the book, which makes her feel even more like someone I know. I don’t usually like books where the characters are relatable but I liked this one.
My favorite character was Luke. I liked him because he epitomized the classic high school boy, but what I thought was really nice, was how he and Emily were together. He completely disarmed her, and it felt really endearing. I want a real life Luke. He really pulled Emily out of her shell, he tried to do nice things for her, but he wasn’t extravagant at all, he was very average, in that respect, which, I think, it was made him pretty great. You could tell that he cared about her though, and she felt more comfortable with him, than with her own best friends. He got her to tell her about everything that was bothering him at home, and it just felt very honest and cute.
This book was pretty fun to read. I give it a four out of five stars. Despite the books majority taking place during winter, it is perfect for summer. It has a lighthearted feel, while also having a message about just telling the truth. I also thought that it was a little funny that the time capsule they were preparing for, it would have been for the graduating class of 2016