Super-smart, somewhat geeky Audrey McCarthy can’t wait to get out of high school. Her father’s death and the transformation of her one-time BFF, Blake Dawkins, into her worst nightmare have her longing for the new start college will bring.
But college takes money. So Audrey decides she has to win the competition for the best app designed by a high schooler—and the $200,000 that comes with it. She develops something she calls the Boyfriend App, and suddenly she’s the talk of the school and getting kissed by the hottest boys around. But can the Boyfriend App bring Audrey true love?
SPUNKY outcast Audrey McCarthy is literally counting the seconds until she can be free of high school and her arch nemesis mean girl Blake Dawkins. But there’s a hitch in order to get into the college of her dreams, Notre Dame, Audrey needs cash, enter The App Contest put on by Public (basically Apple) and its $200,000 prize. Audrey may be your average teenage girl, with self esteem issues, and a crush on fellow nerd Aidan, but she’s also got brains to spare and is a bona fide hacker! I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to read a YA book where the female lead uses not her looks (I mean yawn, how many times can you read about a girl described as willowy with long brown hair and soulful brown eyes) but her considerable intellect to get things done. I felt like this was a book I would immediately recommend to my teenage nieces because it promoted a positive female lead.
That’s not to say there wasn’t some bad stereotypes, hello rich bitch Blake and her crew of mean girl clones, there was some serious bullying going on in this book. However, that was balanced by Audrey’s easy explanations of technical terms (breaking down how to hack things never came off boring) and promotion of social media, which were both well integrated into the story. In addition, the secondary cast of characters were a great enhancement to the story I especially loved Audrey’s fashion obsessed cousin. But what really carried this story was Audrey who was not only a great friend but was filled with a ton of heart.
The book was conveniently broken into two halves (1.0 and 2.0) but I found that the second half got a little convoluted as it went into its big reveal and conspiracy. This led to the pace getting a little frenzied leaving me feeling that the ending was a bit rushed. I wish that a bit more time was spent wrapping up things with Blake and that we got a a few more scenes with Audrey and Aidan after we waited the whole book for them to get together. Was I the only one left wondering how this relationship was going to work with them going to different colleges? Also, how Audrey manipulated the Boyfriend App in the second half of the book kind of left a bad taste in my mouth, forcing people to make-out is a little disconcerting.
However, Sise’s breezy writing style and fun, quick witted narrative, made this ultimately an enjoyable read. For some reason the entire time when I was reading this I kept seeing it as a movie, it really reminded me of an early 2000 teen comedy like Bring it On or She’s All That. I think that Sise is going to be an author to watch and look forward to her next release.