My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’m a big fan of T.M. Franklin, so when I heard that she was writing a new YA book back in January, I was very excited. But then I read the summary…and went from excited to DESPERATE. It reminded me of all the awesome 80s/90s teen films I love, like Can’t Buy Me Love and Can’t Hardly Wait. And with a main character named Oliver Wendell Holmes, I was pretty sure T.M. had created something entertaining. When I finally got ahold of my copy, I was not disappointed. I devoured this book in about 8 hours–once I started, I couldn’t put it down. But as I got closer to the end, I was dying to savor every moment for as long as possible.
How to Get Ainsley Bishop to Fall in Love With You is a brilliant example of why Young Adult literature (rightly) has such a broad appeal. This story is well-written with relatable characters who experience life’s challenges in ways that are realistic and quite compelling. I adore this book and give it all 5 stars!
Oliver Wendell Holmes (YES, LOL–named after the poet…or maybe the Supreme Court Justice) is a man with a plan! Well, to be honest, Oliver has several plans (like maintaining his 4.0 GPA and getting into MIT). But as he begins his junior year in high school, there’s one thing in particular Oliver wants to achieve: he wants to get Ainsley Bishop to fall in love with him. Oliver has liked Ainsley since they first met in 5th grade, and now that high school is rounding up, there’s no better time to make things happen.
With help from his best friend Viney and advice from his parents and Hank (a friend from the Senior Center where he volunteers), Oliver puts together detailed list of steps for convincing Ainsley that he’s the one for her. And it all starts with joining the Drama Club, which is in the process of putting on one of Ainsley’s original plays. As Oliver carries out his list, he gets to know Ainsley and is even more sure of his affection for her. However, there are several obstacles Oliver has to overcome and hard lessons to learn–getting Ainsley to love him may be more difficult than he initially thinks…
I LOVE Oliver! He’s incredibly sweet, considerate, and generous. Oliver knows exactly who he is and is unapologetic about it. He’s a self-proclaimed nerd who loves video games and computers. He loves his family–even though his mom sometimes makes him watch RomComs against his will (*cough* Pretty Woman*cough*) and his little brother Sherlock (YES!) carries around a notebook, solves mysteries, and says things like “Elementary!”.
I thoroughly enjoy that we get to hear this story from Oliver’s perspective, and T.M. does a great job of articulating his voice. It reads and sounds like a teenage boy who’s crushing on a girl in school. There are several “awwwwwwwww” moments where I just want to give Oliver a big hug–like every time he talks to Ainsley and gets so nervous that he can’t really form a coherent sentence and stumbles into things; or when he asks his Mom and Dad how they fell in love so he can get some tips…
This story also has fantastic secondary characters. It’s great to see Oliver’s parents rekindle their love. And one of my favorite LOL moments is when Sherlock (incorrectly) deduces that Oliver is gay.
Viney and Hank are great wing-men. And I really like Ainsley, too! She and Oliver are quite similar in terms of their selflessness and generosity. I’d actually LOVE to get into Ainsley’s head–perhaps some sort of outtake or futuretake from her POV…just saying!
Mostly, I love how Oliver pursues Ainsley–he’s so caring and thoughtful about learning who she is and what she likes. Oliver believes that Ainsley deserves the world, and he’s determined to prove it to her. In fact, this leads to some of my favorite scenes:
–Oliver tutoring Ainsley in algebra and discovering her love of boybands
–Oliver helping Ainsley improve her play
–Oliver’s exhaustive pursuit of the perfect birthday present for Ainsley
But the best thing is watching Ainsley start to fall for Oliver too…
–Ainsley giving Oliver a haircut (BTW Aunt Dora is HILARIOUS!)
–Oliver and Ainsley’s paint-fight
As I said in the beginning, both Oliver and Ainsley have to overcome obstacles, including issues with self-esteem…but when they do…
This book is such a MUSTREAD, especially for those who like YA and romantic comedies. I’ll be purchasing my paperback ASAP and begging T.M. for an autograph! So go ahead and get your copy too; I promise you’ll love it!
*Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book!