Solving For Ex
by Leigh Ann Kopans
Publication Date: February 11, 2014
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Cover Designed By: Hafsah Laziaf of Icey Designs
1 crush on your best friend +
1 gorgeous, scheming new girl +
1 Mathletics competition =
1 big mess
Ashley Price doesn’t have much in life after being bullied so hard she had to leave her old school to live with her aunt and uncle in Pittsburgh. But the camera she borrowed from her best friend and secret crush Brendan, and her off the charts math abilities, make things a lot more bearable. Plus, since Brendan is the captain, making the school Mathletes team should be easy.
But when gorgeous new girl Sofia rolls in and steals Brendan, Ashley's place on the team, and her fragile foothold on the Mansfield Park Prep social totem pole, it’s on. Sofia is everything Ashley left her old school to escape. The only thing Ashley didn’t count on is Sofia’s sexy twin brother Vincent.
Vincent is not only the hottest boy in school, he’s charming, sweet, and he’s got his eye on Ashley. He’s also not taking no for an answer. There's no real reason Ashley shouldn't like Vincent, but with the
battle lines being drawn between her and Sofia, Ashley’s not sure which side he’s on. Or which side she wants him to be on.
She does know Sofia is trouble with a capital T, and she’s determined to make Brendan see it.
SOLVING FOR EX is a YA contemporary romance that remixes Mansfield Park as Clueless meets Mean Girls in a crazy mix of high school society, mathletic competition, and teenage romance.
Me + Math = Mortal Enemies.... Usually. But despite that, when I read what Solving for Ex was about and saw the adorable cover, I knew I wanted to read it. Also FYI I'm not a Jane Austen girl. I know a lot of you are obsessed, but it's just not my thing. So I haven't read Mansfield Park (on which this book is loosely based), but Clueless is easily one of my fav movies ever, so there's that!!
So Ashley has this big monster crush on her next door neighbor and BFF Brendan. He is the only person when she moved to Pittsburgh last year who made an effort to get to know her. They both have the same passion for school and Math especially, and Brendan always seems to know when Ashley needs a breakfast at the diner to cheer her up. She wants this to be the year where she tells Brendan how she feels, but she's so scared of losing him as a friend that it's holding her back. Enter Sophia and Vincent. Gorgeous, rich, smart, twins who turn all heads at school. It seems Sophia already knows Brendan from a summer cruise and instantly sets her sights on him. And Vincent sets his on Ashley. Even when it's pretty clear that she's not all that interested. Through all of Sophia's passive-aggressiveness and snide comments, Ashley tries to maintain her friendship with Brendan, but it gets harder and harder.
This is a fun book. It's like an ABCFamily movie. Things keep happening and happening and just when you think it's going over-the-top, it has this spectacular ending.
I'm beginning to think that maybe I'm too serious of a person to really enjoy books like these. I mean I know I used to love reading these fun romance stories all the time... but somewhere along the way, I started thinking they were just okay. This book is totally entertaining and fun and I wondered throughout who the hell Ashley was going to end up with... and I loved that. But a lot of it just had me rolling my eyes thinking that this stuff could and would NEVER happen IRL. The character I could have most lived without was Vincent. He was creepy, annoying, trying too hard-weird. He was always making these public declarations in front of large groups at school that seemed so out of place. Like when he first met a big group of the most popular crew at school he says: "So which one of you lucky bastards is Ashley's boyfriend?" and is greeted to... crickets. Who would say that? I literally wanted to punch him in the face every time he showed up. He also stalks Ashley and shows up at her mother's house 3 hours away uninvited, which she somehow found sweet?? Hell to the NO! Some guy hunts me down and shows up uninvited when I'm trying to visit my family?? They're getting hit with a restraining order. Sophia wasn't much better, but Brendan's douchery made her actions make a little more sense. Although I could have lived without the description "drop dead gorgeous" every time she entered a scene. And her flowery scent... gag me.
I did love that this was set in Pittsburgh!! Squirrel Hill is a city neighborhood where my high school best friend lived. I love it there. It has a large Jewish community including a big Orthodox sect. There is also a huge park called Frick Park where I made SO many memories. Another thing really cool about Squirrel Hill is that it is really economically diverse. There are mega-huge mansions, to middle class houses, to tiny little apartments, and houses that look like they need bulldozed. I think it makes this neighborhood really unique and super special. It really is a great place to live if you are looking for city-living with a neighborhood feel. Although Mt. Washington is quite a hike (the book makes it seem like it's just a mile down the road).
What I'm saying about this book is that it's cute and sweet and totally high school. It's meant to be read for fun and entertainment. Like I said earlier, I think I'm just getting too old and serious to really get into books like these anymore (and I really really want to love this stuff). This book is meant to have fun with and it's meant for actual Young Adults. I've noticed recently that some YA is definitely being written for that high school set and not for us adults who read and love YA. And I totally get that. The audience for YA should be Young Adults. But I can't help but prefer a book that can appeal to all ages and not just the younger audience.
OVERALL: A sweet, fun book about a girl's crush on her BFF and all the things that get in the way of her telling him how she feels. I enjoyed reading it, but couldn't help but become frustrated at times with some of the characters and some of the plausibility of the story. If you are looking for something entertaining and something that appeals to actual teenagers, this is your book. Also it's based on Mansfield Park, for all you Austen-lovers out there!!
Leigh Ann Kopans
- (1) Mathlete Tee- US only
- (1) "Maths: Tee from Threadless- US only
- (1) Signed paperback of Solving For Ex- US only
- (1) of (3) e-copies of Solving For Ex- INT
- (1) Reading is sexy Tee- US only