Friday, May 16, 2014

7 Heart Review: Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols + Giveaway! (US only)

Brought to you by the fabulous Itching for Books Book Tours...

Biggest Flirts (Superlatives #1)
Jennifer Echols

Page Count: 336

Release Date: May 20th 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster)
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher via tour publicist in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, Simon & Schuster and Itching for Books!)
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

The yearbook votes have been cast.

Senior year is about to get interesting.

Tia just wants to have fun. She’s worked hard to earn her reputation as the life of the party, and she’s ready for a carefree senior year of hanging out with friends and hooking up with cute boys. And her first order of business? New guy Will. She can’t get enough of his Midwestern accent and laid-back swagger.

As the sparks start to fly, Will wants to get serious. Tia’s seen how caring too much has left her sisters heartbroken, and she isn’t interested in commitment. But pushing Will away drives him into the arms of another girl. Tia tells herself it’s no big deal... until the yearbook elections are announced. Getting voted Biggest Flirts with Will is, well, awkward. They may just be friends, but their chemistry is beginning to jeopardize Will’s new relationship—and causing Tia to reconsider her true feelings. What started as a lighthearted fling is about to get very complicated...
I didn't understand Will, but I knew enough that I didn't want to. He was so hot, and kissed so well, and that earring! He was the type of guy I could get really attached to if I wasn't careful. And though I might not seem like the most conscientious person most of the time, I was always careful about boys.

Having witnessed all of her older sisters fall in love and fall apart, the last thing Tia Cruz wants is a boyfriend, but senior year, when Will Matthews arrives at her school—the undeniably cool kid from the Midwest, and possible the cutest boy she has ever seen—her determination begins to falter. Will Matthews is the kind of boy who could make her forget.

Tia and Will's playful relationship is definitely fun to follow, especially watching both characters grow as they discover themselves within each other. I also love the portrayal of high school casual relationships—better known as "friends with benefits"—which seems like a racy topic for YA fiction, but is actually prevalent among teenagers, and thus, entirely relevant; Echols brings the experience to life maturely and memorably. What bothered me, however, was the progression of the relationship. The breakup, makeup, breakup-again sequence was too formulaic, too predictable. Given the synopsis of the book, there's nothing I couldn't have seen coming. Nothing about Tia and Will as a couple particularly surprised, devastated, or delighted me; it was nothing we've never seen before in YA romance. Once the two are paired as the school's Biggest Flirts (since when is that even a superlative?), the rest of the story just went along as expected.

I loved Tia as a character; she's unconventional, and not your typical bashful, romantic heroine. She's strong, but also has a thousand insecurities; brilliant, but intentionally an underachiever. I think she's a hit-or-miss character, though; I can definitely see some readers not liking her recklessness or her brash tone. Her chemistry with Will is spot-on, and the sexual tension and energy the two create will have your heart thumping and you remembering what teenage romance feels like again.

The secondary characters are both a strength and a weakness of Biggest Flirts. Most of them make very minor but very frequent appearances that I found sort of pointless, other than to keep confusing me with all the different names. Tia's best friends rarely show their faces, which made me feel like they aren't her friends at all. Will is a beautifully written character (Jennifer Echols creates another heartbreaker—surprise!) but I absolutely loved Sawyer, Tia's on-again-off-again "boyfriend," and can't wait for Book #3, because it's his story. Won't give too much away, but if you like tragic teen boys, be prepared to swoon!

Pros


Tia is an imperfect, but genuine character with lots of attitude! // Family backstory is important, not just the romance // Portrays the mindset of casual, rather than dating, relationships well // Hot hookups! (Nothing wildly explicit, but still for an older YA crowd) // Will and Sawyer ♥

Cons


Plot is predictably structured // The only real characters are Tia and Will, the rest seem to have come from YA character moulds // Flows well, but style is not remarkable

Love

"I would really like to get in trouble for touching you right now."

Verdict


Sexy and smart, Biggest Flirts is a thrilling escape of a contemporary young adult novel that captures the spirit and squalor of high school colorfully and entertainingly. I didn't find Tia and Will's relationship that special, and stylistically, it's not particularly clever, but Jennifer Echols's newest book is fun, flirty, and full of impressionable characters and a convincing romantic undertone Americanflag

7 hearts: Not perfect, but overall enjoyable; borrow, don't buy! (x)

Giveaway!

We are giving away three print copies of Biggest Flirts and one grand prize of print copies of Such a Rush, Dirty Little Secret, and The Only One That I Want as part of the virtual tour hosted by Itching for Books—that's four winners tour-wide. Yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below:
As a reminder, this is a generic tour-wide giveaway so I do not choose winners or prizes, and am merely a part of the promotional efforts.

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher—a huge thank you to Itching for Books and Simon Pulse!
Giveaway ends May 19th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US residents only. Sorry, rest of the world! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently-running giveaways that are open worldwide.
Void where prohibited.
As this is a tour-wide giveaway, I have no say in the selected winners and am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!