While I don’t typically read a lot of romances, every now and again one comes along that I find pretty enjoyable. When I first picked up The Way to Game the Walk of Shame, I wasn’t sure what to expect – it was essentially a “fake-boyfriend-turned-real-boyfriend” kind of story, and it was predictable in that aspect, but the entire story was just swoon-worthy. It was the kind of story that not only gave me the warm and fuzzies, but it was an overall nice reading experience that makes me think that I should give more YA romances a chance.
Taylor Simmons is a good girl – she hangs out with the right people, gets good grades, is involved with a lot of things in her school, and already knows where she plans on going to college. Her mom and stepdad (who she refers to as her real dad because he treats her like his daughter) have never had any complaints about Taylor. She is focused and driven and plans to excel in college and become a lawyer (following in her stepdad’s footsteps). So imagine the surprise on Taylor’s face when she wakes up next to the school’s “bad boy” Evan McKinley – a surfer who has had so many girls that he probably can’t even remember. Since Taylor has been dubbed “the Ice Queen,” everyone is shocked when they learn about it – and no one wastes any time in making remarks about Taylor now that her good-girl reputation has been tarnished.
In order to save herself from ridicule, she comes up with a contract for Evan – one that if he signs, it means he will pretend to be Taylor’s boyfriend so that the gossip will stop. There’s only one catch for Evan – he can’t hook up with any other girls if he signs the contract. While Taylor insists that it will give him a better reputation, since everyone will see that Evan can actually commit to a relationship, Evan is dreading the next few weeks, but he signs the contract anyway.
While their “relationship” feels forced at first, eventually Taylor finds herself starting to actually fall for Evan, and he finds himself starting to fall for her. As their relationship goes from fake to potentially real, the two of them have to decide if they are ready to take the plunge and acknowledge their feelings, creating something more than just an illusion of being a couple.
Okay, this plot seems pretty predictable, but at the same time, it was such a good story. I’ll admit that I was honestly wondering what was going to happen a few times…both Evan and Taylor were just so darn stubborn it was hard to tell where things were going to go for them.
Then there was the whole thing with Evan’s parents – how his stepfather treated him like he couldn’t stand him, and Evan’s mother kind of just let it happen…that was kind of annoying, and I found myself losing a lot of respect for Evan’s mother because of it. I know for a fact that I would never let anyone make my children feel unwanted. Evan didn’t take that nonsense though – in fact, he was pretty outspoken towards his stepfather, and I applauded him for that.
Both characters had some family issues, which added a little extra depth to the story. The author tried to add a little bit of realistic, emotional elements to the book, and she did a really great job with that. Both of the main characters’ families were also really involved in the story – there wasn’t any case of the disappearing parents like there are in a lot of YA novels. The fact that there was a lot of focus on their families as well was nice.
The romance in this book wasn’t the kind of romance that needs a rated R label smacked on it – it was the nice, sweet kind that you find yourself swooning over. For example, the book includes a Valentine’s Day date that Evan planned for them, which was pretty unique and adorable, and you could tell that Evan really had feelings for Taylor. Also, no need to worry about insta-love in this one, either. It takes a little bit for both characters to discover their feelings for each other – it builds up to it nice and slow.
If you’re big on character development, like I am, it’s nice to see how both Taylor and Evan change from the start of the book to the finish. The book is told in alternating chapters from Taylor’s point of view as well as Evans, so we really get a good look into how both of these characters are feeling about each other, college, etc.
Definitely pick this one up if you like romances – it makes such a great summer read!
About the Author
Jenn Nguyen fell in love with books in third grade and spent the rest of her school years reading through lunchtime and giving up recess to organize the school library. She has a degree in business administration from the University of New Orleans and still lives in the city with her husband. Jenn spends her days reading, dreaming up YA romances, and binge watching Korean dramas all in the name of ‘research’. The Way to Game the Walk of Shame is her debut novel.
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