Reviews

Review: What’s Not to Love by Wibberley & Siegemund-Broka … In BUZZWORDS 💕

Review What's Not to Love

An academic enemies-to-lovers YA.

Published: April 20, 2021 by Viking Books for Young Readers

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Since high school began, Alison Sanger and Ethan Molloy have competed on almost everything. AP classes, the school paper, community service, it never ends. If Alison could avoid Ethan until graduation, she would. Except, naturally, for two over-achieving seniors with their sights on valedictorian and Harvard, they share all the same classes and extracurriculars. So when their school’s principal assigns them the task of co-planning a previous class’s ten-year reunion, with the promise of a recommendation for Harvard if they do, Ethan and Alison are willing to endure one more activity together if it means beating the other out of the lead.

But with all this extra time spent in each other’s company, their rivalry begins to feel closer to friendship. And as tension between them builds, Alison fights the growing realization that the only thing she wants more than winning…is Ethan.

Info

CW’s: Toxic Relationship (between side characters), Academic Competition

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Review

Academic/Rivals Enemies to Lovers 😈💘

“Yes, Ethan. I told him we were getting married, because we’re just so in love. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you,” I deadpan. “Of course I didn’t say we were planning a wedding.”

Rivals to Lovers is one of my favorite tropes and the authors did it SO well!! This veers more into enemy territory than other books I have read and since I love that, I was even more excited. Allison’s nemesis at school is Ethan Molloy, an arrogant and aloof boy who competes with her on everything. They are constantly trying to one-up each other, to the annoyance of their teachers and fellow students. The tension and fire in their relationship came through really well, especially when it changed into attraction.This is a slowburn romance as Allison and Ethan realize that their obsession with each other is turning into something else. In my opinion, the authors did a great job showing their relationship progress without falling into the ‘Ethan only competed with her because he liked her’ trope. Instead, their crush develops slowly and they acknowledge their intense competition and how to go from there into a real relationship. Allison knows that their competition was often too explosive, immature, and intense, but also likes when Ethan challenges her and drives her to be better. The book is about trying to find a balance. I wish we had gotten Ethan’s POV as well, as we only got to know him behind his facade in the very end! If you like hate-kissing, unwanted crushes, and lots of tension, this is perfect for you 👀

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Smart, Driven Main Character 📝

With every win, I’m showing myself, and everyone around me, that I’m capable of anything I set my mind to.”

The book is told through the perspective of Allison Sanger, a competitive high school student who aspires to get into Harvard. ➽ I thought that Allison’s voice really came through and got me invested in her story. It was clear how smart, driven and ambitious she is, filling her entire day with work in order to achieve her dreams. She isn’t interested in the ‘normal’ high school experience and is instead focused on her endless to-do lists and studying to be the best. Allison could be unlikeable at times, as she doesn’t have patience for anyone who is struggling and doesn’t know exactly what they want – like her older sister who moved back home. The narrative confronts her sometimes superior attitude and shows her growing to realize that success looks different for other people. She learns to open up her world but still stays true to her beliefs.

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High School, College & The Future

“Hoping high school relationships won’t change isn’t realistic. But maintaining them while giving them room to grow could be. I want to be there, or even help, while Dylan finds her own way in college.”

A big theme in this book is the end of high school, college, and facing an uncertain future. ➽ As Allison and Ethan are forced to organize a high school reunion, she thinks about her own future and if she and her best friend Dylan will still be close. Initially, Allison doesn’t feel like high school is something she’d ever want to revisit, as she always strives to grow and doesn’t look back. I liked that the story also revolved around Allison’s friendship with Dylan and how their differences and Dylan’s toxic ex are influencing their relationship. Allison also clashes with her older sister Jamie, because they have such different views. Jamie is a kind, generous soul but after a bad breakup and losing he dream job, she is back at her parents to figure out her life. Allison cannot help but judge her lack of action, though it’s clear this is unfair and motivated by her own fear of failure. I like how all these relationships around Allison worked together with her character arc!

Recommended If You Liked …

  • Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon
  • You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman
  • Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

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Did you read What’s Not to Love? What is your favorite book with the academic rivals to lovers trope? 💘

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4 thoughts on “Review: What’s Not to Love by Wibberley & Siegemund-Broka … In BUZZWORDS 💕

  1. Ahh I love this review, Caro, so happy you enjoyed this book!! 🥰 I agree that having Ethan’s POV added to the story would have been fantastic, but I really loved Allison’s POV. such a great, fierce, ambitious and so very stubborn main character ahah, I loved her!

    Liked by 1 person

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