Hey guys, it’s Alexa! So have you ever found a book in a genre you’re wary of, yet something about the description just snags your interest and won’t let go? Well, that’s what happened to me with The Replacement Crush (I love good romance as a subplot, but I don’t always like the genre itself) and today, I am here to spew my opinions on this fantastic, Star-Trek-filled beauty.
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Publisher: Entangled TEEN
True love can’t be strategized.
After book blogger Vivian Galdi’s longtime crush pretends their secret summer kissing sessions never happened, Vivian creates a list of safe crushes, determined to protect her heart.
But nerd-hot Dallas, the sweet new guy in town, sends the mission and Vivian’s zing meter into chaos. While designing software for the bookstore where Vivian works, Dallas wages a counter-mission.
Operation Replacement Crush is in full effect. And Dallas is determined to take her heart off the shelf.
Even though I liked the book as a whole, I felt the beginning was a little cliché (random, embarrassing encounters early on, before they’re unceremoniously shoved together to work on a project), but I was willing to roll with it because, even before the end of the first chapter, my heart had already been grabbed by the amazing realness of these characters, the liveliness of the writing, and just how relatable the feel of the story was for me. There were a few tropes I thought were slightly overused (seriously Dallas do you have a Walk-In-At-The-Worst-Possible-Time superpower????), but for the most part, I was pretty pleased with the twists and takes on the plot.
Since it is a romance though, I must have at least one paragraph on that specifically: even though there is some instant attraction between Dallas and Vivian, I wouldn’t label this instalove. Instead, Dallas and Vivian have some immediate and interesting chemistry (though I do wonder what about those early eavesdropped-on conversations so appealed to him) and, as they grew to know each other, their feelings slowly progressed into something a little more serious than a crush. To me, that seemed a very fair and accurate way to portray a romance, and as a somewhat Spockish girl myself, I very much appreciated it.
Plot: 4 stars out of 5.
While the happenings that surround these characters are definitely pretty strong (honestly, I was riveted at the climax and my heart rate actually picked up, I was so desperate to know how the romance was gonna work out. I may have just lost my Vulcan card), the greatest appeal to me was the characters themselves. The entire cast is 3D and nuanced and beautiful; they are so much fun to follow and so complimentary to each other, and I genuinely loved almost every character (not-blind-to-their-teen’s-problems moms for the win!) for their own merits. But my favorites were Vivian, Amy, and Toff.
Vivian: Vivian is the character I’ve waited my entire life for, lol. Or at least my entire review career. She is one of us, a bookish connoisseur and book blogger; she has passionate discussions about characters, she gets the fictional boyfriend thing 😉 , and in addition to all that, she, like us, had a life outside of books that she also had to deal with. TBH, I loved the idea of the replacement crush, of Spockishly selecting one’s “target” with which to fall in love (if only it was that easy); but, while she did try to remain logical, hormones hit her as hard as they can hit anyone. She made a lot of mistakes—sometimes the same one repeatedly—yet she didn’t come off to me as one of those “silly romance heroines.” She was just… real, a normal teen girl, as well-intentioned and fallible as the rest of us. In so many ways, her story was like reading about me and that was something very unexpected and very special to find.
Also, the Spock quotes to her? Amazing in every way.
Amy: Amy is the other part of me, lol. The part that is honestly pretty sweet and quiet… until we get to talking about books at which point I BECOME A FIERCE MOTHER DRAGON YOU BETTER NOT HAVE JUST INSULTED MY FAVORITE THING. She was a little shy, yet strong, kind, passionate, and an amazing friend, a mix I’ve never seen done quite this way and, honestly, never related so strongly to.
Toff: Toff… <3 prideful surfer kid, yet so protective of Vivian—in a good way—and the friend she needed to have on her side, even when she didn’t want him there. He wasn’t what I would call sweet, but he was something near that in all of his brother-bear protectiveness, and I loved the addition of a best-friend-since-kids brother figure WITHOUT it turning into a love triangle.
Even though he didn’t make it into my top 3, it’s a romance, so I figure I oughtta mention Dallas. He was neither dark, brooding hero nor sweet and shy boy-next-door, but just a genuine boy who cared about a genuine girl and had lit no idea how to win her, but was doing his darnedest, lol. He was thoughtful, randomly buying Viv her favorite smoothie when he could see she was having a rough day, yet he wasn’t afraid to be her friend as well, to joke with her, tease a little, offer advice, rescue when necessary… I think that’s my favorite part about them, actually; even though it happened mostly because Vivian was dancing around their attraction, the two were friends first and, in my opinion, those are the sweetest romances of all.
Characters: 4 1/2 stars out of 5.
One thing I found interesting was that, unlike most contemporaries, only a very small portion of this story took place at their school. Most of it was actually at Vivian’s family bookstore, which I thought added a really neat, appropriate atmosphere to the book blogger idea.
Also, the culture was all very current. More so than just the mention of cell phones and internet, there’s a lot of pop culture references as well. I could tell that the author had done her research and gotten down to the specifics of who and what most teenagers love. That kind of dedication means a lot. 😀
Writing style/setting: 5 stars out of 5.
And so we come in at just above 4 1/2 stars out of 5. Guys, I absolutely loved The Replacement Crush; the ending was perfect and I was completely glued to it even though I already had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen. To use Vivian’s rating, I give The Replacement Crush: go-go boots perfection, (although personally I’d go for sandals, but that’s just me 😉 ). If you’d like to pick up a copy for yourself, you can check it out on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, or the giveaway below. 🙂
So what was the last romance you read? Something in a genre you don’t always like that totally blew your mind? Can’t wait to hear from you all, and don’t forget to check out the other stops in the tour!
~ Love, Alexa <3
About the Author of The Replacement Crush
Lisa Brown Roberts still hasn’t recovered from the teenage trauma of nearly tweezing off both eyebrows and having to pencil them in for an entire school year. This and other angst-filled memories inspire her to write YA books about navigating life’s painful and funny dramas, and falling in love along the way.
Her almost forever home is Colorado, though she occasionally pines for the days when she lived within walking distance of the Pacific Ocean. Her house is full of books, boys, four-legged prima donnas, and lots of laughter. You can find her on her Website, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.
Notes: I received a free ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Content: Some cursing and somewhat descriptive kissing.