First, she’ll have to make amends with those she’s wronged, which leads her to Brendan, the guy she labelled with an unfortunate nickname back in the sixth grade. At first, Brendan isn’t all that receptive to Cameron’s ploy. But slowly, he warms up to her when they connect over the computer game he’s developing. Now if only Andrew would notice…
But the closer Cameron gets to Brendan, the more she sees he appreciates her personality—honesty and all—and wonders if she’s compromising who she is for the guy she doesn’t even want.
Synopsis from Goodreads
I'm a huge fan of retellings, especially when they included the original in the story! In this case, Cameron (an outspoken and honest-to-a-fault teen) is inspired by Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew and tries to "tame" herself. The fun part is that her story runs parallel to the play in a contemporary setting...and I love it! Also, let's all admit that the cover is gorgeous; that cool-girl look against the pink wall is so eye-catching and totally grabbed my attention.
Honesty: Harmful vs. Helpful
Something I took away from this book (and was very happy to read about) is that there is strength in kind honesty. By that, I mean that being honest with each other and yourself is so important, as long as the purpose is to be kind. Cameron takes a while to figure this out, but I really appreciated that the goal wasn't to completely keep her silent, but instead to understand when her honesty is harmful versus helpful. This seems like a such an obvious thing, but in the age of social media when we feel like all of our thoughts deserve to be shared with the world, it's easy to lose sight of that lesson. I really enjoyed reading about Cameron's journey and how she learns this, but still struggles with it! It's an honest portrayal of someone trying to change, but still making mistakes along the way.
"Being yourself isn't permission to be a terrible person"
Hells yeah! I absolutely loved this moment because it's both the climax of Cameron realizing the friends that she's been spending so much of her life with and because it absolutely true. I won't go on about honesty again, but this quote made me so happy because of it! It's also a great quote because it's such a growth moment for Cameron. For so long she's seen herself and her friends as being called "bitches" because of their honesty (side note: there's seriously no good reason to call someone that or any other name, regardless of situation. Let's be better than this people!), but there are a lot of moments when they truly are cruel under the guise of "honesty". While Cameron doesn't mean it that way, I really think Elle enjoys simply taking what she wants regardless of consequences, and I hated that about her. Hopefully she has her own growth opportunity in the future.
Unsurprising, but Still Heartwarming
I don't think anyone will be surprised that Cameron ultimately learns that the answer isn't to simply "tame" herself, but simply to find people who can both keep her grounded but also let her be herself. I never thought Andrew was that great, so I didn't love that he was the catalyst of her transformation, but I did love watching Cameron expand her friend group and open herself up to new people and experiences. The story moves exactly as anticipated and I was content with where it ended, both in terms of Cameron's relationships and Cameron herself.
This was a fun read and I've already gone on the hunt for Always Never Yours, the first book from these authors (especially after Cameron runs into the main characters from the book)! While the cover is what drew me to this book, the story kept me hooked. I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoy YA Contemporary, who likes Morgan Matson or Jenny Han, or simply someone who just wants to read a fast-paced story about someone changing themselves for the better.
FINAL RATING: 4/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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