Love and Other Theories, by Alexis Bass

18480081I’ve been reading a lot of books in the last month and I’ve really liked a lot of them. But Love and Other Theories, by Alexis Bass, stands out in particular. The back of the books makes the story sound like it’s going to be perfectly straight-forward YA contemporary romance. Seventeen-year-old Aubrey and her friends have figured out the secret to dating in high school. Not dating. Hooking up. Seeming un-interested and unavailable. Sticking to a mutually agreed upon set of rules. Sharpening their cynicism like it’s a sword their about to go into battle with. And that works until earnest, new boy Nathan throws Aubrey off her game.

It sounds like a book I’ve read at least ten times before. It also sounds like a book I’d like, which is why I bought it. But honestly, it’s more than a girl meets boy, girl likes boy, girl loses bitterness kind of story. Way more. 

The story wades into the stickiness of hook up culture more than any other book I’ve ever read. The way girls, even friends, compete over the same boys. The ways inconvenient feelings, both romantic and those of friendship, arise.  Sometimes feelings for more than one person. And the gap between what a person feels like and what they act like. It all felt very real … although as someone who spent most of her time in high school watching the Disney Channel with her little sister and writing short stories I’m obviously not the best judge of if the portrayal is real or not.

From the cover, the book seems like everything stays focused on just Aubrey and Nathan. But without giving away too many spoilers, there is also a really interesting friendship storyline with Shelby, the hottest girl in senior class and Aubrey’s best friend. Also, there’s Trip the popular college boy Aubrey was hooking up with last year who needs help because he’s failing out of school. And Chiffon, the friend Aubrey and Shelby dropped two years ago and bullied. Lots of material for drama.

So yeah, there’s a lot going on in this book. There’s all the fast heartbeats and smooching and swooning that you want in a romance. But as I wrote about there is also more and I hope, if you haven’t read it, you give the more a try.

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