Book: Can True Love Survive High School?

"Can True Love Survive High School?" by Natalie StandifordHolly, Madison, and Lina are looking for true love. But how can you tell when it’s real? What is true love anyway?

For the answers, open this book and read on…because Holly, Madison, and Lina are about to run smack into the truth about love!

So I picked this up from a book sale to do some light research on what teens these days like to read about. Wrong move. For one thing, I forgot to check the publication date: 2005. It’s already six years later, so I’m sure kids nowadays are way past the stories presented in this book. Though, I must admit, I did learn a few things from reading the book. Number one being: anyone can get published–so long as you know to ride the popularity wave.

No, I’m not saying the book was horrible. It was better than Twilight, at the very least. But it does read a bit like a very PG-rated version of Gossip Girl. Then again, this is the third book from the series. And I have no prior knowledge of what happened in the books before–and the books after. To be clear, I’m basing my reactions off just this one book.

Can True Love Survive High School? has three stories running alongside each other: an epic romance, an unrequited love, and jealousy. All of them were half-baked, and only the latter two actually tried to co-exist together. It’s not like the author didn’t know how to write–it was more like she was too lazy to actually flesh out the characters and their stories.

Let’s start with the epic romance. Our protagonist in this story, Holly, is not part of the romance at all. She’s a bystander. Between a geek girl who does an emotional 180 degrees at the start of the book, from not wanting to have a boyfriend to almost eloping with a boy she barely nows. Instead of focusing on the dangers of falling in love so deeply, with a stranger no less, we are treated to Holly’s pining of having an epic romance of her own–of her living vicariously through Britta. Instead of taking on the ramifications of such sweeping love, or seeing the actual love blossoming, it’s mostly Holly’s thoughts on Britta’s romance that we get treated to. Half the time, I was expecting Holly to find out that Ed, the guy Britta falls in love with, is actually a scammer after her parents’ money. Now that would’ve been a more interesting story.

For the unrequited love, we have Lina who is in love with her teacher Dan–but not as in love with him as Britta is with Ed. No, she’s just in love with him enough to pretend to be a twenty-something woman living in India who corresponds with Dan through e-mails. She has a perfectly good-looking boy who is obviously in love with her, doing everything he can for her to notice him, but she would rather hatch a plan on how to make said teacher fall in love with her. And what’s the plan? Go to the teacher’s house for a dinner party, hide in his bedroom after the even–and casually appear to offer her help in cleaning up after everyone. How romantic, right? Of course the plan gets shifted later on, during the actual party, to involve some kissing. From a teacher who is obviously straight-laced and is obviously not interested. Right.

And last but not the least, we have jealousy. Madison has a boyfriend. But that’s not stopping her from liking a swimmer from school. Who has a girlfriend. Who is promiscuous. And Madison’s plan is to tell the swimmer how promiscuous his girlfriend is, in hopes that he would cry on her shoulder–and ask her to be his girlfriend instead. Did I mention that Madison has a boyfriend? A boyfriend that another character describes as “sexy”? Oh, and later in the book, Madison kisses a guy who isn’t her boyfriend nor the swimmer. And she liked it. And she said that she wasn’t going to tell her boyfriend. Okay.

So, no. I did not like this book at all. I thought the characters were too self-centered, and I’ve already pointed out the things I didn’t like about the stories. And the fact that they’re half-baked. And I am actually regretting my decision to buy this. If only I could turn back time… But I can’t. So instead, I’ll just leave a warning for everyone: beware of the book, and read at your own risk.

Now I’m going to go and read something else–so I could get this book off my head.