eARC REVIEW: It Had to Be You by Lizzy Charles

Title34530550: It Had to Be You (Brokemore Academy, #1)

Author: Lizzy Charles

Publication date: May 15th, 2017

Publisher: Entangled Teen Crush

Rating: ★★★★/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary YA (fake dating trope)

James Parson has a problem. His military dad is going to yank him out of his expensive boarding school if James doesn’t prove he’s no longer hooking up, pulling pranks, and charming his way out of consequences. What better way to show he’s now responsible than becoming the committed boyfriend of a U.S. diplomat’s daughter?

Level-headed, book-smart Edelweiss may have traveled the world thanks to her dad’s job, but when it comes to friends and boys, she knows exactly nothing. Newly enrolled in boarding school, Edel is now on a mission to learn it all. James says he’ll help her experience the ultimate high school life—if she’ll be his fake girlfriend. And fake is perfect, because he’s exactly the kind of player she’d never date.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains red-hot romance, all the feels, and a soul-mate bad boy.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

I picked this up because I just loved the cover. It is so bright and colorful and I loved that there is a black boy on the cover. God knows we need more diversity in contemporary young adult books especially ones with healthy relationships.

The book has dual point of views which is lovely because we get to see what goes on in Edel and James’ minds concerning the little romance they have. I always enjoy romance books from dual point of views because UGH, pining, amazing stuff, which this book had plenty of!

The book starts off with Edel joining the boarding school. She’s excited and is refreshing to read because I love me an honestly kind and determined girl. Edel wanted to get as involved as possible seeing as she spent all of her life being home schooled by her mom. Don’t be fooled by the blurb, Edel isn’t entirely all into the whole boyfriend experience, she simply gets into the fake relationship (which she suggests) so she can go through the first months without being hounded by somewhat creepy boys. Let’s admit it, we all wish we could be somewhat protected from creeps. I liked Edel’s straightforward nature. She was inexperienced with people but in no way was she disrespectful.

James on the other hand is sort of a reformed bad boy. Be aware that he is the softest, smartest and cutest boy despite his label as a bad boy. He’s guilty of loving to prank the headmistress, and they’re harmless jokes. I actually had several “Oh wow,” moments in which I fell for James. He’s afraid of horror films, talks about his feelings toward his dad and can analyze Russian novels without breaking into a sweat.

Also: he’s a jock. He’s quite far from the stereotype of a jock. He is so aware of the weird rules of society and I liked that he also had a great relationship with his aunt. See, James is biracial and gets his melanin from his mother side. His Aunt Julie teaches him not to wear his hoodie at night, and not to seem dangerous, which are lessons he didn’t get from his white Irish dad despite his dad being a military man. I liked that James didn’t fit into any bad stereotypes of how black boys are portrayed in media. He was honest and earnest in making his dad proud. Also: he was so soft on Edel and truly worked hard to take care of her while they were ‘fake’ dating.

The plot moved at a really nice pace that gave you an insight at Edel and James as well as the friendships they have. There are antagonists like Emma (who is James’ ex-girlfriend and cheats on him) and this creepy guy John who tries his best to get into Edel’s orbit but my girl blocks him fairly amazingly.

The writing flows nicely enough and makes the whole book very easy to read and get into. The characters are relatable despite one minute where Edel thinks light lip gloss and eyeliner is “too much makeup” *looks into the camera with my full makeup look* that made me laugh a lot.

There are also many friends. Edel has not one but three girl friends and I just loved the female solidarity. There is Tuti who is Indian and a youtuber with a crush. There is Charlotte who comes from a poor background and talks about her drunk mom. There is Ainsley who is tough as nails and has her own secret which she reveals once she’s comfortable enough.

I liked that this didn’t have the somewhat excessive focus on sex that some other books have. It was fairly PG13 and I know it might sound unrealistic but believe me: not all teens are thinking of sex all the damn time. Asexuals (and Aromatic) teens exist. Not that there are any asexuals in this book as far as I know.

I also like that when James and Edel meet, he doesn’t touch her before asking for her consent. Hallelujah for the zero times the word “crazy” was used in joking. Lack of usage of food to refer to James’ brown skin: amazing. I know, it’s the minimum that I could ask of but I really didn’t find a reason to dislike this book or not give it five stars besides just one thing and I don’t think I need to fuss over too much.

I liked that James is already a changed boy by the time he’s introduced so Edel was not going to “fix” him or anything like that. But it got on my nerve that Edel, at times later in the book, would doubt James. She’d think he’s being draped by girls when he told her that he was not interested in being with girls since he was focused on school in his senior year. I felt like she should have trusted him more but that doesn’t mean that her misconceptions of him turn into scorn, she simply feels this way because she’s hurting and I could understand. She soon enough thinks otherwise.

This book had the perfect mixture of fluff and situational angst that got me rooting for the couple to get things in order. They just had so much cute energy together and it was really fun to read it. Plus, it’s really short and the pacing is great for a good pick-me-up book that’ll get anyone out of a reading slump!

I definitely recommend this book for anyone who loves contemporary young adult books with characters that are likeable and kind.

You can purchase this book at these links:

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

About the Author

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Lizzy Charles writes young adult contemporary romance. She’s a tea fanatic, guacamole expert, and sushi lover. When she’s fixing lunches, dressing kids, or wiping pizza sauce off sticky hands, she escapes to La La Land and imagines all sorts of little love stories. Lizzy loves her daily dose of fitness and is also a RN so she can triage any symptom you send her way. Her best friend from high school is also her husband. Oh and she has a little pup named Professor Lupin who is pretty much the glue to the whole writing operation.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


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