The Boyfriend Thief
By: Shana Norris
Published By: The Studio (Paper Lantern Imprint)
Publication Date: March 24, 2014
Page Count: 350
Source: Kindly Provided by Paper Lantern Lit
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary
Avery James isn't your average teenager. She is far more concerned with going to medical school and helping people in other countries than finding a prom date. In fact, she's so desperate to go on a trip to Costa Rica to work with doctors for the summer that she's willing to do practically anything to earn enough money to pay for her expenses. That is truly apparent as the novel opens with Avery dancing in a giant hot dog costume. I suppose one would have to be desperate for cash to subject oneself to such an embarrassing profession. Much to Avery's chagrin, her salary at the hot dog shop isn't going to be enough. She is $500 short of her dream summer, but things start to change when her former BFF, Hannah, approaches her with a proposition. Hannah wants Avery to somehow convince her boyfriend, Zac, to break up with her before prom. Avery is hesitant to get into a deal with Hannah, but the payoff is $500. Avery throws aside her doubts and launches a plot to separate Zac and Hannah.
Avery isn't sure how she is going to manage the breakup - especially because she looks at love in a scientific manner - but she decides that she has to resort to drastic measures. As the novel progresses, Avery begins to understand that love is about a lot more than just biology. I really enjoyed watching her mature and start to see the world differently.
I did have some trouble liking Avery at first. She's so sure of everything and analyzes every detail of life. I understood where she was coming from, but it made her seem abrasive at times. I also felt like she lacked maturity in some ways. Some of the dialogue and moments in this one felt more middle school than high school. Avery's social sphere is limited when the novel begins which could explain why she didn't always feel like a high school student to me. Her aspirations and work ethic were admirable and helped to offset some of the immaturity in the beginning.
On the other hand, I adored Zac. He was an intriguing character who always tries to find the fun in life. I think sometimes people like this can be seen as class clowns, but really he was running from some pretty serious issues. Zac personifies the notion that being happy and positive can give one a better outlook on life. I also think this attitude is what allows Zac to be such an understanding and forgiving character. He is certainly what kept me reading.
All in all, I really enjoyed this "cotton candy" read - it's sweet, wholesome, and easy to read. Novels like this one are just what I'm looking for to pass the time as the weather heats up and summer approaches.
One Last Gripe: I did finding the ending to be a bit too predictable.
My Favorite Thing About This Book: I like how Zac helps Avery reflect on her own life. He provides a mirror that helps her see who she really wants to be in many ways.
First Sentence: If there was one thing I hated more than anything else in the world, it was Giant Hot Dog Day.
Favorite Character: Zac
Least Favorite Character: Hannah
1 ill-fated hot dog costume. 2 former BFFs. 11 days to seduce a boy.
Avery James doesn’t believe in romance—she’s studied enough biology to know that love is nothing more than hormones and chemicals. Besides, she has more practical goals in mind, namely saving up for a summer humanitarian program in Costa Rica. But when her Diggity Dog House supervisor denies her a raise and Avery finds herself $500 short for the trip of a lifetime, Avery has no choice but to accept an unexpected offer. The deal? She must steal her arch nemesis Hannah’s boyfriend before prom, giving Avery eleven days to seduce Zac Greeley.
Avery is sure the job will be easy. But a few midnight comedy shows and spontaneous dance parties (not to mention one particularly intimate carwash) later, Avery finds herself questioning everything she’s ever thought about love. Could Zac’s signature cherry-lime Slurpees be causing brain freeze, or is Avery actually starting to fall for him?
Will Avery be able to steal Zac away from Hannah before he steals Avery’s heart?
Most days, Shana Norris still feels like she’s stuck at sixteen, which is probably why she enjoys writing about teens. Thankfully, she’s never had to work as a giant hot dog, but she did work at a locksmith shop making keys for six months. She currently lives in a small town in eastern North Carolina with her husband and small zoo of pets, which currently includes two dogs, five cats, and a flock of chickens.