I received this book for free from ALAAC17 in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin
Published by Swoon Reads on August 29th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Amazon • Barnes and Noble • Book Depository
Danielle effed up. Big time.
Danielle’s plans for the future were all figured out…until she failed senior English and her single college application was rejected. Suddenly she’s in hot water with very few options, because, honestly, who applies to a safety school when your mom is a semi-famous “college psychic”?!
Determined to get her life back on track, Danielle enrolls in her hometown community college with a plan: pass her English class and get back into Ohio State—and her mother’s good graces. Romance isn’t on her radar. That is, until she reconnects with her childhood crush and golden boy next door, Luke.
Between family drama, first love, and finding her own way, Danielle can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed. Thankfully she has her friendship with the snarky and frustratingly attractive Porter, her coworker at the campus bookstore, to push her to experience new things and help keep her afloat.
One thing’s for sure: This time, failure is not an option.
This one was just a little difficult to rate because there were several things that I really enjoyed in this book but also several that really bugged me. And unfortunately, those few things that bugged me really pulled me out of the book and kept me from thoroughly enjoying the story.
First of all, I had a really hard time getting behind the whole premise of the book. The idea that you could be kicked out of OSU based on one AP course is ridiculous. They might not let you go straight into that major but ungrads don’t even need to declare majors right away. Plus, OSU would just send you to a regional campus rather than the main campus right away and then let you transfer to the main campus after making up the class. That’s why they have so many regional campuses, because they don’t really kick people out like that. Also, it actually is THE Ohio State University and any correspondence someone gets from the University will have that on the letterhead and underneath their name. It isn’t just some weird alumni thing, it’s actually the name of the school. And lastly, community colleges in Ohio don’t have sports teams. We just don’t. So to have someone attending a CC on a full scholarship to play football is unheard of here. Which is fine in a book, I suppose, except when you’re also mentioning real places and other real colleges. Either everything should be made up or nothing. But that’s just an unfortunate side-effect of living where a book takes place. You really can’t help but notice the things that are off and while I try not be to be so nitpicky, it was also super distracting to see these things when a little bit of research could have fixed them.
Now that that’s out of the way, the book was actually kind of cute and enjoyable. It was a super fast read and the characters felt pretty real. Once Danielle got settled at Denton, it was easier to ignore those other items from the book’s setup. I like that Danielle started taking responsibility for her future and started working toward it for herself when so much of her life seemed to revolve around what her parents wanted for her and what she thought she should want. I also liked that while there is a love-triangle here, it didn’t feel like a typical YA triangle. It actually felt realistic. And I hate love triangles and almost never say that so you know it’s okay. It just felt like the feelings developed naturally and over time. There wasn’t any instalove, which is usually the downfall for so many love triangles. And this one didn’t end up taking over the plot either. You could still tell it was a story about Danielle trying to grow up and figure out the new world she was living in and learning more about herself along the way. All of those aspects are what I really liked about the book. So once I was able to get past the really horrible set up for the book and just let myself read Danielle’s story at Denton, it really worked. And if those school things won’t bother you at all, then I think you’ll really enjoy this YA romance. Plus, one of my absolute favorite characters from this book is Zoe, Danielle’s best friend from high school. She really steals her scenes and is a great friend. And if you’ve followed me at all then you know I love books with great best friends.
So overall, I’d recommend this book but with a few reservations. If you can get past how unrealistic the beginning is and have no personal experiences with OSU and the importance of the THE in their name, then you’ll probably enjoy the entire book much more than I did.