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

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

My Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

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 tons of 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.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I had heard about this book through Netgalley. It sounded interesting and I requested it. After some time had passed I completely forgot that I requested it. When I went into my Netgalley account I saw that I was denied for this book. That’s when I remembered this book even existed. I decided to give it a go because I liked Jules. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

The book begins with Jules as she is given information on the new student. Must to her shock and surprise the new student is famous pop star Alex Powell. Jules assumes she’s imagining things until she shows the picture to her best friend Sadie. Sadie is just as surprised as Jules. After having a brief conversation with Sadie, Jules goes to meet Alex and give him a tour.

When Jules meets the student she realizes that it really is Alex Powell. Deciding to pretend not to know about his former music career, she introduces herself and begins the tour. While giving Alex a tour Jules finds out that Alex is quite nice. He didn’t make fun of her when her skirt got caught in the door. In fact he seems to like her. Jules manages to get through the tour without too many hitches and the two of them go their separate ways.

By the time lunch arrives everyone’s heard about Alex. Much to Jules surprise and her friends Alex ends up sitting with them at lunch. Sadie and Em (Jules friend’s) are convinced that Alex likes Jules. Over the course of a few weeks Alex and Jules become close and Jules starts developing feelings towards Alex.

Of course this completely goes against all of Jules plans. She wanted to start dating boys when she was in college not in her senior year. Luckily some of her goals are achieved. Mr. Wheeler chooses her to be editor of the school newspaper. Something that Jules has always wanted. And while Alex wasn’t apart of the plan she doesn’t mind.

For weeks now there’s been a flyer in all of the students lockers talking about TALON. Jules assumes that it must be a club but is still surprised that she hasn’t heard about it. Then on a faithful Friday TALON is revealed. It’s a news channel for the school. And the one who founded TALON is none other than Natalie, who Jules was competing for the editor of the newspaper. Much to Jules shock TALON is reporting what the newspaper team is supposed to put on the newspaper. And on top of that Alex has joined. Jules cuts off all ties with Alex and vows to restore the newspaper to it’s former glory.

I was actually surprised that I liked The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions)! When I read the synopsis on Netgalley I thought it sounded odd. The synopsis didn’t make sense to me. I didn’t get why Jules disliked Alex and whatnot. Of course all that came together once I started reading. The book is written in first person in Jules point of view. The chapters are very short so it’s pretty easy to fly through this book. I liked the writing style! It had the right about of emotion in the right places. There’s a large focus on school and journalism which was nice! You don’t really read about journalism in most YA books.

I really liked Jules character! It was nice to read about a girl who knew what she wants and has goals set. In a way she reminded me of Harper from Rebel Belle. Also she has two moms! And the relationship with them was awesome! Very rarely I have read in YA a female character close to her mothers. The truly were an awesome support system. The friendships were nice! I liked the newspaper friends and Sadie and Em! As was the determination that Jules had to save the newspaper. All in all Jules was a nice character who did most things with good intentions. I also liked Natalie’s character. She was complex and smart.

I had three problems with this book. When Alex is first introduced I did like him. He was sweet and his interactions with Jules was funny. Once he joined TALON I started to lose interest in him. Then when he started coming in again I started to like him again. But then he and Jules had a secret relationship, which I did not get. I understood why Jules wanted to keep them a secret but I was surprised that Alex went along with it. Their interactions lacked substance. I never felt anything when I read about them.

This is a revenge story. There are some sabotages pulled on both ends. While I usually don’t enjoy revenge stories I was looking forward to seeing what each group came up with. Honestly I found most of it to be lame. Towards the end of the book it started to get interesting.

The book did end on a good note and Jules apologized to Natalie. Then the two of decide to collaborate on a project. While I liked the ending I didn’t like the miscommunication. Had the characters started communicating with each other the conclusion would’ve come much faster.  

Note most of the book is spent on taking down TALON. So Jules ends up forgetting to get back to her friends and starts to talk to them less. Then when she secretly started dating Alex she also forgets to spend time with her friends. And was unsympathetic towards their problems. She was so caught up in a boyfriend and balancing school that she forgot to balance her friends. Now this didn’t bother me because Jules wasn’t trying to do it on purpose and she was new to dating as well as coming up with revenge strategies. I’m mentioning this because I know it bothered other readers. So maybe now that you know it might not bother you.

Overall this was a good book! I will definitely keep a lookout for this author. I recommend it to fans of contemporary books, and fans of the author. 

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3 thoughts on “Review: The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions)

  1. Pingback: Monthly Wrap-Up: April 2016 | Fafa's Book Corner

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