Friday 25 June 2021

REVIEW: You're The One That I Want by Simon James Green

Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre:  Contemporary
Release Date: June 3rd 2021
Buy the Book: Book Depository

Freddie has a reputation as a ‘nice guy’ – inoffensive, sweet, kind – and therefore completely un-dateable.

As he starts sixth form, Freddie decides that this nice guy isn’t going to finish last any more. No more missing out on parties because he’s got to do his homework. No more saying no when he really wants to say yes. And most of all no more lusting after unobtainable straight boys who enjoy the attention but ultimately break his heart.

Freddie embarks on a series of changes designed to transform his social and romantic life, and suddenly he’s a drama darling, getting invited to all the popular kids’ parties, and hot new boy Zach is showing an interest. Life couldn’t be better!

But the path to love is never smooth – and Freddie’s about to learn that changing everything about yourself isn’t necessarily a foolproof way of finding the right person…

SAY HELLO TO MY NEW FAVOURITE OF 2021. It’s no secret that I absolutely adore any book written by Simon James Green, so I expected to love You’re the One That I Want before I delved in, but it still managed to go above and beyond. It’s exactly the wholesome read I needed this Pride Month.

The story focuses on teenager Freddie, the son of the producer for Cherries, a coming-age-show that deals with adolescent sexuality in all it’s awkwardness. After an unsavoury encounter with the actor playing the lead role, Freddie reaches the end of his tether. In a bid to stop being so invisible to everyone around him, he auditions for the school production of Grease.

Freddie, light of my life, owner of my heart. Bless his awkward, adorable soul. He’s such an entertaining and relatable protagonist, and the YA world needs more chaotic teenage boys like him. As well as being effortlessly funny, Freddie’s story also deals with genuine insecurities that young people find themselves increasingly feeling.

Zach and Jasper are both exciting in their separate ways and I loved getting to know each of them. I especially loved Freddie’s resentment towards Japser because it made for plenty of awkwardly hilarious moments between the two of them.

  • MUSICAL THEATRE. As a musical theatre nerd, I was all about the production of Grease in this story. I was also living for the drama amongst the school theatre kids. I was far too anxious to be part of that world in my own high school, so at least I get to live it vicariously through YA.     
  • T R O P E S. I love books that revolve around theatre. I also love books that revolve around the production of a show/film. I ALSO love books that have characters who ‘seemingly’ hate each other. So basically, this book ticks all the boxes and I’m absolutely in love with it.
  • ADDICTIVE READING. Literally did not want to put this down. As someone who is a diagnosed insomniac, I’m supposed to stick to a very strict bedtime routine. Needless to say, I broke that routine to continue reading this book into the small hours. Did I regret it in the morning? Yes. Was it worth it though? Absolutely yes.
  • CHARACTERS TO DIE FOR. Listen, I will gladly protect Freddie with my LIFE. I also really adored his little friendship group. Nothing has ever made me want to go back to school as much as this book. Which is saying a LOT.

This was easily one of my most anticipated books of the year, and it delivered in every way possible. It’s the perfect, cheerful pick-me-up that we all need after the stressful start to the year we’ve had. It’s been a rough few months for me personally, so I’m always grateful to authors like Simon who never fail to distract me with wonderful stories.  

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