Review: The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions) by Amy Spalding

April 14, 2016 Review 22 ★★

Review: The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions) by Amy Spalding
The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions) by Amy Spalding
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Netgalley
Pages: 320
Release Date: April 5th 2016
Genres: Dating & Relationships, Friendship, Girls & Women, Humorous Stories, Love & Romance, Social Themes, Young Adult
A ridiculously cute, formerly-famous new guy dropping into your life? It's practically every girl's dream.

But not Jules McCallister-Morgan's.

I realize that on paper I look like your standard type-A, neurotic, overachiever. And maybe I am. But I didn't get to be the editor of my school's long-revered newspaper by just showing up*. I have one main goal for my senior year-early acceptance into my first choice Ivy League college-and I will not be deterred by best friends, moms who think I could stand to "live a little," or boys.

At least, that was the plan before I knew about Alex Powell**.

And before Alex Powell betrayed me***.

I know what you're thinking: Calm down, Jules. But you don't understand. This stuff matters. This is my life. And I'm not going down without a fight.


* Okay, I sort of did. But it's a sore subject.

** I mean, I guess everyone knows about Alex Powell? Two years ago, you couldn't go anywhere without hearing about viral video boy band sensation Chaos 4 All. Two years ago, Alex Powell was famous.

***Some people think I'm overreacting. But this. Means. War.

Filled with romance, rivalry, and passive-aggressive dog walking, Amy Spalding delivers a hilariously relatable high school story that's sure to have you falling for The New Guy.

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The thing with THE NEW GUY is that it sounds hilarious, and while I can’t deny it had its funny moments, most of them were just too cheesy or unbelievable, making me cringe instead of laugh. I actually felt secondhand embarrassment for the dialogue and characters’ actions.

 Secondhand embarrassment

The actual plot of the novel revolves around the main character, Jules, and her former-star-sometimes-boyfriend, Alex, and how they sort of end up on opposite sides of a newspaper vs. new media war. Unfortunately this aspect doesn’t even come into play until about 30%, meaning that up until that point, the book focuses on the romance between the two characters.

Speaking of the romance, what was that romance. From the very first meeting, it’s obvious that the characters are into each other. While I wouldn’t quite call it insta-love, it was definitely random and had no basis. So that 30% was full of awkward moments and almost every single person around the main character saying that he’s totally into her. Not to mention they were on and off again enough times to make your head spin, and broke up for really stupid reasons.

bad romance

While I do enjoy contemporary novels, the one thing I don’t miss is the drama and angst, especially in a high school setting. I would almost consider this a Middle Grade novel if not for a few random moments like when the character mentions that one particular day would be a good day to have sex. What? What?

Jules makes it easy to understand the reasoning behind her actions and her motives, but I felt totally disconnected from her. As a character, she lacks a background and story, although she has a unique voice that is easy to relate to. She is also one of those naive, inexperienced characters that can’t understand why a guy would like her. Actually, no explanation was ever really given why a former star would like her.  The side characters have even less depth, and very little backstory.

I would recommend this book to contemporary lovers that don’t mind revisiting the dramatic antics of high school with a few jokes in between.

Rating Report
Overall: 2

22 Responses to “Review: The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions) by Amy Spalding”

  1. Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books

    Oh NO!! I almost hate secondhand embarrassment worse than if it was me being embarrassed. When something like that happens on TV, I usually have to turn the channel! Bummer that you didn’t like this though… I have high hopes because I LOVED Kissing Ted Callahan. I am hoping for LOL moments like I had in that one.
    Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books recently posted…Defender by Graham McNamee

  2. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    The Second-Hand Embarrassment thing is something I experience VERY often so I’m cringing just thinking about this book. Bleh! The romance sounds meh and the characters don’t sound all that appealing to me either. I know I’m not big on contemporaries but seeing how you didn’t enjoy this one much either – I know I won’t be reading it! Thanks for sharing your thoughts here all the same :)
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: The House of Hades

    • Alise

      It just makes me feel so uncomfortable even though it’s not real, haha. Yeah… I was kind of hoping this would be similar to a Kasie West or Jennifer E Smith novel but it just fell flat. Sure!

  3. czai

    if I’ve never come across your review, I probably have picked this up because of the fancy title.. just because why not? lol. but setting that aside, I do not like the sound of the romance being random or no basis. and feeling disconnected with the main character? nope. but most likely, this book just isn’t for me because I’m not one to enjoy high school drama.
    czai recently posted…[REVIEW] Brooklyn on Fire

    • Alise

      High school drama is tough to pull off without being annoying or over-dramatic, two things the drama in this book suffers from. I did have high expectations though.

  4. ShootingStarsMag

    To be honest, I wasn’t interested in this one, but I’m definitely thinking that’s a good thing after reading your review. I LOVE contemporary novels, but I feel like so many people equate contemporary with books like these…and this type isn’t what I’m all that fond of because it’s full of unneeded drama, etc. The romance does not sound good and it’s a bummer it’s not even good funny. I hate feeling embarrassed for characters , and it DOES happen.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…How to Dress for a Music Fest

    • Alise

      I’ve read some absolutely amazing contemporary novels, both with high school drama and without, but this one was just a let-down for me. And yeah, due to books like these it kind of gives the wrong impression about the genre.

    • Alise

      It definitely was. Seriously, not only that but some of the stuff she did didn’t even make sense. Sure!

    • Alise

      Right? I hated my time in high school. College is much better. If this one didn’t have so much drama I think it could have been a good read.

  5. peach @ rebelle reads

    I thought Amy Spalding’s second novel, Kissing Ted Callahan, kinda sucked. It was cringe-funny, but the romance was pointless and it was really kiddish, which I noticed is recurring in this novel. I was almost looking forward to this, too. omg. haha. I laughed a little at the definition of “secondhand embarrassment” doth relate too much.
    peach @ rebelle reads recently posted…Gettin’ Real: Do You Still Lend Out Your Books?

    • Alise

      I’ve heard of that book but didn’t know it was by the same author, doesn’t that one have a pretty low average on Goodreads? But yeah, if you didn’t like that one I might avoid this because it sounds like it shares a lot of the same elements.

    • Alise

      Yep, exactly. I’m always up for a good contemporary romance but I did not get that out of this, sadly.

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