The Book of Luke (Jenny O'Connell)

Rating: [rate 2.0]

The Book of Luke (Jenny O'Connell)Emily Abbott has always been considered the Girl Most Likely to Be Nice — but lately being nice hasn’t done her any good. Her parents have decided to move the family from Chicago back to their hometown of Boston in the middle of Emily’s senior year. Only Emily’s first real boyfriend, Sean, is in Chicago, and so is her shot at class valedictorian and early admission to the Ivy League. What’s a nice girl to do?

Then Sean dumps Emily on moving day and her father announces he’s staying behind in Chicago “to tie up loose ends,” and Emily decides that what a nice girl needs to do is to stop being nice.

She reconnects with her best friends in Boston, Josie and Lucy, only to discover that they too have been on the receiving end of some glaring Guy Don’ts. So when the girls have to come up with something to put in the senior class time capsule, they know exactly what to do. They’ll create a not-so-nice reference guide for future generations of guys — an instruction book that teaches them the right way to treat girls.

But when her friends draft Emily to test out their tips on Luke Preston — the hottest, most popular guy in school, who just broke up with Josie by email — Emily soon finds that Luke is the trickiest of test subjects . . . and that even a nice girl like Emily has a few things to learn about love.

(Spoilers in the review)

I was curious about this book because Amazon recommended it to me while I was checking out Sarah Dessen books on the website. I’ve been on the lookout for YA fiction for a while now and this seemed quite interesting so I picked it up.

The premise is quite interesting: Super nice girl Emily’s life is torn apart when she learns that she has to move back to Boston in the middle of her senior year in Chicago. She’s “super nice” because she’s supposed to be, being the daughter of the etiquette queen. When things go all wrong for her, she decides she’s done being nice.

Emily and her friends take the hottest guy in school, Luke, who is also a jerk who broke up with Emily’s friend Josie through email, as their guinea pig for their school time capsule contribution, which is a list of do’s and don’ts for guys. After that, things went downhill: obviously Emily would fall for Luke as she tests their theories on him, and he would find out about all of it. I’m surprised I managed to read it all until the end, which frankly, was getting a lot boring.

The Emily character was interesting at first, but somewhere along the way she became flat and uninteresting. She decided not to be nice because being nice didn’t make things work out for her, yes, but I kind of expected her to be more mature and all, being an intelligent high school senior running for valedictorian and wanting to go into Brown. Somehow being un-nice wasn’t for “revenge” on her family isn’t that believable. Luke was a bit more interesting than she is, because he had this weird vibe all throughout the book. Josie and Lucy were the stereotype friends, and honestly, there were too little interesting characters in the background. Oh, and the sex in the story didn’t really help the plot, except to probably make things worse for Emily and Josie in the end.

It would have been in an interesting book, but it fell short on the character and plot development factor. I’d have to agree with what one reviewer said, though. Despite the characters being slightly flat, the scenes between Luke and Emily were well-written. I just kind of wish there was something more about their characters.