Wednesday, August 5, 2015
ARC Review: The Boy Most Likely To
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Dial Books/Penguin Teen
Publication Date: August 18, 2015
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"Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To find the liquor cabinet blind folded, need a liver transplant, and drive his car into a house. Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To...well, not date her brother's baggage-burdened best friend, for starters. For Tim, it wouldn't be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the "smart" choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard. Then the unexpected consequences of Tim's wild days come back to shock him. He finds himself in a situation that isn't all it appears to be, that he never could have predicted...but maybe should have. And Alice is caught in the middle."
The Boy Most Likely to is the sequel to My Life Next Door, which I adored for all of its contemporary glory. This follow up feels slightly more serious, as everyone deals with the repercussions of the events in My Life Next Door. If you haven't read My Life Next Door, you can still read this review...there are no spoilers for either books.
One of my favorite things about The Boy Most Likely To is that we return to the Garrett family and see how they're all faring. I adore little George, he's hands-down my favorite character. Seeing how their family functions with so many children is such a fascinating part of these books, and every sibling still very much has their own identify and unique relationships. But the best part of The Boy Most Likely To is that it's split POV of two characters that were portrayed in a rather limited way in the first book: Tim and Alice. Tim is Sam and Jase's alcoholic friend who was kicked out of school and has to get his life back on track. Alice is Jase's older sister who's trying to balance nursing school with the needs of her family. These two characters provided such brilliant voices from which to hear this story. I don't think the dual POV would have worked nearly as well in My Life Next Door, but with the characters and stories in The Boy Most Likely To, it was a great choice.
Seeing Alice struggle in this book is so heart breaking. She's trying to keep everything together for her parents - her siblings, mounting bills, and nursing school, but to do so she puts her own life on hold. I felt so much compassion for Alice and appreciated what a strong character she is. Tim's perspective was really enlightening, and I enjoyed seeing how snarky and self-deprecating his voice came across. The relationship that develops between Alice and Tim was nothing like Sam and Jase - not all sweetness and rooftops. Alice and Tim really have to fight throughout this novel, and I feel like that was a good representation of their characters.
I have to say that the "unexpected consequences of Tim's wild days" weren't so unexpected for me. Less than 50 pages in I knew what was going to happen, and it honestly felt a bit too obvious. But at the same time, it produced results. I ultimately thought the book ended the right way - I know some people may disagree with me on this, but I think the alternative would be too unrealistic and cliche. The Boy Most Likely To was a wonderful sequel to My Life Next Door, and brought two of the most complex characters in this cast to the forefront. The interactions between Tim and Alice and their respective families, and with each other, really leave an impact on the reader. But at the end of the day (and book), both Alice and Tim find such personal strength along the way, and that's why I enjoyed this book so much. If you enjoy contemporary, especially if you're a fan of Sarah Dessen, then you need to check out Huntley Fitzpatrick's novels.
Rating: 3.5 stars
*I received an eARC from Penguin via their First to Read program in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Penguin for this advance copy!