I received this for the publisher in exchange for a review. This does not affect my review which is unbiased and honest.
Okay so I really enjoyed Wibbroka’s first book and after reading this one I read their second book as well and enjoyed that but this one oH MY GOODNESS. WOW. This was peak rivals to lovers energy and so perfectly executed my mind was blown!
Basically this book is about Alison and Ethan competing for valedictorian. They’ve been taking the same classes all four years of high school and this is the final stretch. Except the principal forces them to work together on a high school reunion… chaos ensues!
Right away, the tension between the two main leads was palpable off the page. It was so fun to see their academic rivalry especially because Alison stated in multiple times how everyone around them absolutely hated their rivalry and could see how toxic of an environment they had created for each other!
I’m a big sucker for character development so seeing Alison and Ethan grow up throughout the book was just phenomenal for me. I loved hearing the internal monologue range from ‘I’m going to DESTROY THIS MAN’ to ‘dang it but he’s kinda hot though’. It was truly so much fun to read.
This doesn’t affect my rating, but it’s just really funny to me when I read YA and the characters think that high school is supposed to be the best time of their lives and the time for them to make the most of it because growing up I always heard that that was university (which I agree with). So in this book, seeing all these high schoolers talk about the four years of high school as if that was their peak and determined their entire life was really funny.
Going off that point though, I thought it was really cool to see this extremely judgemental character (Alison) think about this exact thing in relation to her older sister who is stuck at home after college and to Alison, it seems like her sister is just wasting her life and is missing out on life. I actually related to the older sister a lot (Don’t know how I feel about that whoops).
This is one of the most well done rivals to lovers books I’ve read because of the nature of the characters’ relationship and how perfectly it was executed where it didn’t feel too rushed or convenient. I loved the inner turmoil and the tension and oof, the banter and their RIVALRY was just phenomenal!
I would recommend this to anyone who loves to read about rivals to lovers, sabotage, being forced to work together when you most definitely hate each other, the school newspaper, and unintentional lessons learned through your driver’s ed teacher. I would recommend this to anyone who loves really stubborn and hilarious characters, interesting family and friendship dynamics, bonfires and volunteering, and being mistaken for a couple when you hate each other!