Saturday, January 22, 2011

Crash Test Love by Ted Michael

Crash Test Love in some ways falls victim to teen cliches but still finds a way in the end to stand out and not fall prey to the predictable.

Henry is the ultimate playboy. He's good with girls - able to read them and figure out who will be an easy hook-up - and has no interest in relationships. All he wants to do is crash Sweet Sixteen parties and find girls. Then he meets one who has him questioning if that's really what he wants out of life. Garrett just moved to town and is done with boys after a recent break-up. As she tries to fit in, the "J-Squad" or the cool girls in school, proposition her with the promise of friendship if she lures Henry into falling in love with her and then publicly breaking his heart. At first she's hesitant but after hearing Henry started a rumor about her, she feels a little payback never hurt anyone. The plan is soon in motion but, of course, they both fall in love and Garrett begins to have second thoughts until it all spirals out of control and they're both left hurt. Will they have a happily ever after or are things just not meant to be for these two characters struggling to figure out how the opposite sex fits into their lives?

Much of the novel seemed to be typical teen cliches - the devious cool girls (we all know about Mean Girls), the bet to break some unsuspecting person's heart, the inevitable falling in love between the predator and prey. That said, it all still worked and I think that the ending saved it from being too cliched by throwing in a touch of reality. One thing I liked was how the author created the main characters' personalities in the way their chapters were written. Henry was into movies so dialogue was written like a script. The author used this format to even show a shift in the character and the way he interacted with the world. However, I didn't really like how he wrote Garrett and her interest in music as randomly the last words would be a song title and the artist in quotes. It was completely random and somewhat annoying. Or else there were "Top three *artist* songs going through my head in relation to *some topic*. I think that it'll really date the book and I wasn't sure if I needed to know the song to get the purpose of the connection or why it was happening. Henry explained why he saw things as a script and I didn't feel Garrett's style was really explained so it was a bit irritating.

This book was a quick read and enjoyable. Despite the cliches it gave a nice dose of reality with regards to relationships.

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