Title: Trouble from the Start
Author: Rachel Hawthorne
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: April 28, 2015
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Some boys should come with a warning label.
Meet Avery: six-foot-tall college-bound brainiac (just don't call her that to her face), and daughter of a cop—which is not helping her dating life. Currently playing third wheel to Kendall, her best friend, and Kendall's boyfriend.
Meet Fletcher: six-foot-three motorcycle-riding bad boy, who is one class shy of a diploma. He can ruin a girl's reputation just by saying hi, but one flash of his grin and they usually don't mind.
Coming from such different circles, it's no surprise that Avery and Fletcher don't cross paths until the end of senior year. But once they do, neither of them can ignore the tug they feel.
On paper, they make no sense, but sometimes you have to throw out the rule book and let your heart lead the way . . . even if it's flirting with disaster.
It was one of those days - I wanted something fun, something light, more importantly, to read. I've somehow come to the conclusion that I had no such book at home (I'm pretty sure I'm mistaken on this note, though, but I was on A MOOD that day) so I went to the nearest bookstore, browsed around, and found Trouble from the Start. Off the bat, I KNEW that it was just what I was looking for. I mean come on, a nerd and a bad boy falling in love? YES PLEASE. Also... this book is set during the summer before college. Hey, if you've been following my blog, you know how much I love summer-themed books, and that only means one thing...
SIGN ME UP.
So I went ahead and bought the book, rushed home, and quickly prepared to lose myself into Avery and Fletcher's world. I was expecting your age-old cliche bad boy and good girl fall in love story - sweet, entertaining, something that can make me grin uncontrollably, but at the end of day, nothing really mind-blowing. A few chapters in, however, I realized that my expectations were once again exceeded. (This is what happens when I set expectations with regards to books I'm about to read - they're always, always exceeded. There must be some kind of weird voodoo magic going on, but hey, I'm not complaining!) This is NOT your ordinary cliche love story - it has relateable and likeable characters, an interesting storyline, and most importantly, a remarkable heroine. It still had just the right amount of fluff and lightness, but that was mixed with depth, and as a result, here we have a wonderful story!
And since we're talking about my expectations, let's just make it clear that this wasn't really your typical summer-themed book (the characters stay at home, no jetting off to some summer house)... but I'm surprisingly okay with that.
Yes, that's how much I enjoyed this book.
The story starts pretty simple enough - high school is practically over, and with graduation around the corner, so are parties. Avery decides to attend one with her friends Kendall and Jeremy, and in trying to loosen up and actually have some fun, she ends up drunk. Enter Fletcher, whose reputation is... rough, to say the least. He gets into fights, shows up in school with bruises, sleeps around... you know, the works. Fletcher takes care of Avery and takes her home, and Avery thinks that maybe, just maybe, all the rumors floating around about Fletcher are wrong. Things get even more complicated when Avery's dad announces that Fletcher is this summer's project - the (older) kid from the wrong side of the tracks who will be living with them for the next few months.
What surprised me the most about this book is how involved Avery's parents are throughout the story - this isn't something you see that much in YA. They aren't in the story for conflict or anything like that - rather, they actually care for Avery, her brother Tyler, and even Fletcher, and they love them unconditionally. They're not the central focus of the story, but they're important enough, and Hawthorne managed to effectively show that. This may seem like such a trivial aspect, but I love how realistically portrayed all the family scenes were. There were family dinners, family nights, mother-daughter conversations, father-daughter conversations... I don't know, I just can't remember the last time I read about such a well-rounded and loving family, and I really enjoyed it.
I talked about how a wonderful heroine Avery was early on, and that she really is. She's so open, so so honest, and she always, always speaks what's on her mind. She's not afraid to stand firm about the things she believes in, and she fights for what she wants - she doesn't just give up easily. This is a young woman who knows and loves who she is. I also love she handled the whole do-we-or-we-not with Fletcher - she didn't believe that she should settle for something less than she feels she deserves, and she didn't. Sure, she still had moments wherein she made the wrong decisions, but that just gave more authenticity to her character. Strong and well-developed, Avery is a character that I just loved reading about.
I particularly loved that the concept of reputations had so much to do with the book's plot. And no, it wasn't just a one big plot device - it was actually meticulously explored. Hawthorne did so carefully and thoroughly - she let us see what happens when a person's reputation is tainted; and alternatively, she also made us privy to how a person can actually fabricate his or her own reputation. I don't think I've yet to read a YA book that candidly discusses reputations and how everyone places so much regard on them, and I'm definitely impressed at how Hawthorne tackled it.
While I did love this book, one thing that didn't really impress me that much was the dual POVs (I have a feeling that I'm in the minority here though...). I usually like dual POVs as I feel that they bring much more to the table, but for don't think that was the case this time around. Don't get me wrong - I liked Fletcher, and did think that his character was wonderfully developed. It's just that I would have preferred to read more about Avery's thoughts, feelings, and perceptions - it's probably because I felt like I really connected with Avery, and I don't know, I guess I just wanted more of her.
All in all, this was a pretty good book that I'll most probably read again sometime soon. I'm ecstatic that I got so much more that what I expected with Trouble from the Start, and I can't wait to read more books from Hawthorne!
Rating: 4 Stars