In The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise, 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?
4 1/2 stars
Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperCollins Children for this eARC! This book is now available.
First all, we all need to admit something. Some times it is just SO FANTASTIC to have a book that is utter mind candy in our hands. I really needed one of those, and this book jumped right up to fill that gap SO perfectly. If you require that your books be completely believable…you may want to step away. If you think this is a contemporary romance that won’t have scifi elements jumping up and screaming GOTCHA, then you are wrong. Now you have been warned.
The Boyfriend App opens up in a pretty cliche place. Proud geek Audrey is hanging with her geeky friends, staring longingly at the popular table where her ex-best friend Blake sits with Xander, the handsome lacrosse player that Audrey is convinced that Blake only dates because she knows that Audrey liked him. Audrey is also completely immune to the obvious wanting of friend and fellow geek Aiden, who is almost pretty enough to make her forget Xander. Almost. Blake makes a scene and Audrey ends up having to go to the counselor, in whose office she hears about an app contest worth her college scholarship. Since her dad died, she and her mother have very little money, and this could be the ticket to her dream school: Notre Dame. Audrey comes up with the best idea: Why not create an app that finds your perfect boyfriend?
I will be the first person to admit that I found this premise completely cheesy and ridiculous. I honestly don’t even remember why I requested it. But as I read on, I fell in love with Sise’s quirky characters and storytelling ability. The pace was fast, the dialogue was funny, and the characters had enough quirks to stay mostly out of the realm of cliche. There was actually a lot of serious tech speak in this book that I wasn’t expecting, but it both flowed naturally into the story while also convincing me that Sise really knew what she was talking about. The amount of tech speak that happened could have drowned this cute and fluffy story, but it didn’t, and I’m impressed by that.
So there I am, zooming through the pages, and suddenly in the middle of the book it seems like everything’s going to pot. The App isn’t working correctly, her friends are getting hurt. This is usually the point where the real boy she’s supposed to be with swoops in and tells her that winning isn’t everything and friendship is the real prize and blah blah blah. But it’s the MIDDLE of the BOOK. Is this book going to drag out the emotional touchy feely stuff? Am I going to have to learn moral stories for 50% of this thing? The answer is no. What’s really happening is:
THE STORY IS GOING CRAZY.
All of the sudden, Audrey breaks her phone and realizes what’s so special about the technology in her phone. (I can’t tell you or it’d be spoilers, so run with the vagueness for a second.) She hacks in, steals the technology, and uses it to create a new and improved Boyfriend App. I am not kidding about the crazy part. Her new app causes legit worldwide riots of love. The cute and the quirky are suddenly put on acid and start freewheeling across the pages.
I’ll be honest. If you want to look at it critically, then the second half of this story are pretty unbelievable. The logical part of your brain will without a doubt be standing and shouting SHENANIGANS! But the great thing is, I was having so much fun I wasn’t listening. (Plus, even the love triangle gets almost sidelined because there are RIOTS OF LOVE HAPPENING, PEOPLE!) It’s completely crazy and ridiculous, but the entire charm of the book is just that.
Like I said before, if you want a contemporary romance of completely believability, I’d suggest you look elsewhere. If you’re looking for a crazy, cute ride that’s more scifi then it appears, then GIVE THIS A GO. This is a super fast and fun read that might be the perfect option if you’re looking for a little mind candy to amuse you for a while.