Despite the fact that I vehemently believe math is the devil’s work, I 2(25 + 25) percent enjoyed SolvingFor Ex by Leigh Ann Kopans.
Ashley Price, former victim of bullying and current best friend to all-around nice guy Brendan, is a math nerd and otherwise friendless. But that’s okay with her. She has the Mathletes, which she knows she’ll dominate because, you know, she’s a genius. And she has Brendan, who she’s madly in unrequited love with.
Enter bombshell Sofia, who sinks her perfectly manicured claws into Brendan from the moment she and her hot brother Vincent walk into school. Ashley seems to be the only student who isn’t charmed by the siblings’ ritzy lifestyle and killer good looks. But when Brendan falls for Sofia—and puts his friendship with Ashley on hold to be with his new girlfriend—Ashely's small world crumbles. Lonely and upset, she gives in to Vincent’s flirtations. Chaos ensues.
Solving For Ex is a lighthearted, fun read that still manages to take on the aftereffects of bullying (though this isn’t what I’d consider a bullying “issue book”) without coming off as flippant. I loved being thrown into the world of Mathletes, who in this book are the cool kids in school, despite the fact that much of the math they perform looks like hieroglyphics to me. Like I said, I don’t partake in the devil’s work.
The romance was the perfect kind of sweet, but if I say any more I’ll accidentally give away which boy she ends up with. And that’s part of the fun—not so much guessing which guy Ashley will date, but determining whether Vincent is genuine or hiding nefarious goals.
One of my favorite aspects of the book, though, are the little notes Ashley writes with Vincent and Brendan, which sometimes appear at the end of a chapter. The brilliant way in which Kopans used math for laughs is so authentically teen (and, again, over my head). For example:
Adorable, right? Overall, if you’re looking for a fun YA contemporary (or a reimagining of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park), definitely preorder a copy of Solving For Ex. It releases Feb. 11, 2014.
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