Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Young Adult Review: Hot British Boyfriend by Kristy Boyce

Hot British Boyfriend by Kristy Boyce
Published: February 9th, 2021

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary Young Adult

# of pages: 336

My rating: 4 stars

Acquired this book: From the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for honest consideration

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Buy: Amazon Canada || Amazon US || Indigo

After a horrifying public rejection by her crush, Ellie Nichols does what any girl would do: she flees the country. To be more precise, she joins her high school’s study abroad trip to England. While most of her classmates are there to take honors courses and pad their college applications, Ellie is on a quest to rebuild her reputation and self-confidence. And nothing is more of a confidence booster than getting a hot British boyfriend.

When Ellie meets Will, a gorgeous and charming Brit, she vows to avoid making the same mistakes as she did with the last guy she liked. Which is why she strikes up a bargain with Dev, an overachieving classmate who she’s never clicked with, but who does seem to know a lot about the things Will is interested in—if he helps her win over her crush, then she’ll help him win over his.

But even as Ellie embarks on a whirlwind romance, one that takes her on adventures to some of England’s most beautiful places, she still needs to figure out if this is actually the answer to all her problems…and whether the perfect boyfriend is actually the perfect boy for her.

I feel like I should preface my review by saying Hot British Boyfriend had so many of the things I love most about YA, but it also reminded me how far past my own YA days I am. I’m not the intended audience for books like this, and I’m fully aware of that, so I always try to also be aware that my thoughts and feelings could likely be very different from the book’s actual target audience. I see so many adults reading YA and getting mad that the teenagers in the book…*gasp!*...had the audacity to act like teenagers. Like, what did you expect? If you wanted to read about people making mature decisions or not being driven by hormones, maybe you should have picked up a different book. So I always know going into a young adult book that I will likely want to shake the characters at some point (or many points), as well as sit them down and talk to them, and probably hug them really tight. I wanted to do all those things with this book and there was a lot of internal ‘Ugh, come on, Ellie, do better!’, but honestly, I feel like that’s the sign of a good YA book that will likely really speak to its intended audience of teens.

Okay, that was a long preface, but I thought it should be said. I feel like Teenage Marie would have loved this book with her whole heart, so it’s Teen Me I tried to channel while reading.

Hot British Boyfriend was adorable and entertaining. I enjoyed the characters, plus the setting made me go all heart-eyes on multiple occasions. Ellie didn’t have many friends before going to England, and she was stinging from the rejection of the one person she thought was her friend. Between the very public humiliation that led her to leave DC, and the fact the program she was part of was meant for honour students - which she wasn’t - she felt she had a lot to prove, both to herself and to others. She was wary of people and their motives, but quickly befriended her roommate Sage, along with two other students from back home, Dev and Huan.

When I said this book had so many of the things I love most about YA, one of those things was the friend group. These four seemed like such unlikely friends, but they worked together. Their interactions were amusing and sometimes heartwarming, and I wanted to be part of their group. I also really appreciated Ellie’s growth and how she slowly found her way, figured things out, made mistakes, sorted her priorities, and learned to be herself and unashamedly love the things she loved. Teenage Marie would definitely have been friends with her and we would have rocked our matching unicorn hoodies and made some amazing faerie gardens together.

If you’re looking for a light, sweet, feel-good YA book, look no further (unless you’re an adult who hates when teens act like teens - if that’s the case, maybe give this one a pass and leave it to the actual teens). Pack your bags and prepare for a fun cross-Atlantic vacation with a group of friends you’ll wish you were part of.

Have you read Hot British Boyfriend? Have you done much armchair travel yet this year? 

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