Jeane Smith has never been what you’d call a normal teenager. She dyes her hair weird colors (it’s currently gray, like an old lady’s), buys her clothes at jumble sales, and has a blog on youth culture that’s turned into a full-fledged brand. Jeane has no patience for the boring, vapid teenagers who go to her school, so she’s shocked when all-around golden boy Michael Lee approaches her and informs her that his girlfriend and Jeane’s boyfriend appear to have a thing for each other. At first Jeane is angry and suspicious, which causes her to turn her wrath on Michael. In turn, Michael is extremely put off by Jeane’s in-your-face attitude. But when one of their arguments inexplicably turns into a makeout session, Jeane and Michael begin spending more time together and growing closer to each other in the process.
I really liked Manning’s novel You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, so I was excited to read this one when it came out. I ended up devouring it in a single day — it may not be great literature, but it sucked me in! What I really like about these characters is that they’re not too good to be true. They have real flaws, to the extent that they’re downright unlikeable at times: Jeane is obnoxious, Michael is cocky, and they’re both extremely self-centered. But the beauty of the story is that it lets you see that they are both lovable despite their faults. I also liked that Jeane and Michael’s relationship is not the perfect, magical love that so often seems to appear in romance novels (both YA and adult). For example, Michael still has a deep attachment to his first love, and his relationship with Jeane doesn’t make that previous relationship any less significant. So I would definitely recommend this book to fans of YA romance.