Hot British Boyfriend
Hot British Boyfriend is a bubbly little book that will likely delight younger teens with its romance-centered focus and girlish gushing. Older teens, however, will likely be bored by its simplistic themes.
Sixteen-year-old Ellie Nichols has one social goal this summer – becoming Andy Keating’s girlfriend. After all, they have a song, and he sent her an awfully sweet text, and she thinks he thinks she makes the best smoothies ever. Unfortunately for Ellie, he tells her he wants to ask out another girl at his birthday party where Ellie planned to declare her love. And the other girl is her best friend, Crystal. And this happens in front of all of their classmates. And the video of the incident makes it to Instagram, where it goes viral. Her classmates promptly ditch Ellie over the summer, and Crystal becomes absorbed in Andy’s orbit.
Ellie clearly needs to get away – and why not jump on a study program that will take her abroad for awhile? Her mom does everything she can to help Ellie get a place on a study program at a prestigious preparatory academy for the semester, and Ellie – her heart broken – gives up her car fund to pay for the extra expenses. Soon she finds herself jetting off to London. She immediately discovers that Crystal has pulled out of the trip to be with Andy and Ellie will be taking her place – and that Andy was using her to get Crystal’s attention. Knowing that Andy and Crystal will be together alone all year, Ellie becomes determined to find herself a boyfriend – a…well, see the title – to prove that she’s over Andy and getting on with her life.
Enter Will, the seemingly perfect, handsome Brit who promptly sweeps Ellie off of her feet with romantic proclamations and expensive dates right after the program’s opening day. There’s just one fly in Ellie’s ointment: she’s forcing herself to like Will’s interests to please him and she’s become more strongly acquainted with Dev on the trip, a guy she’d known vaguely from school but shared no classes with. He’s become her chemistry tutor – and he can’t stand Will and feels as if he’s a phony with ulterior motivations for seeing Ellie – and is the bare minimum of what she deserves in a man.
Ellie is left in a quandary as the semester ends and college plans loom. Maybe the right guy for her is Will – but maybe, just maybe, it’s Dev.
Hot British Boyfriend is a simple and sweet slice of relationship drama and self-affirmation. It plays like a teen movie and entertains, on a completely superficial level, but compared to much stronger, more complex books in the same field it’s a pile of cotton candy.
Ellie plays like several years younger than the almost-seventeen year old she is for the majority of the book, her flighty reactions and responses belying her actual age. Boys are her solution and key for many things in her life, and yet she’s cognizant of her own (super girly) interests, which the book doesn’t shame her for, and that to grow up is to value herself for herself – but she needs Dev to push her into doing it, which is disappointing. She’s a fairly superficial character; there’s not a lot of shades of grey or dark in her.
Similarly, Will is funny but unsophisticated, and Dev is the classic impassioned best friend who wants to get into the heroine’s good graces. I liked best of all the somewhat brusque Sage, Ellie’s new roommate, who becomes her best friend. The romances are light and fun.
Hot British Boyfriend’s picture of life in England is very simplistic, with formal teas and cricket games and pubs. The kids – as is appropriate for their age group – are obsessed with Quidditch, although I imagine British readers are likely to wince at the picture of Brits in America.
But the book is lighthearted and charming, which is really why it won favor with me. Some teenagers are going to adore whiling away an hour or two with this book, but I’d guess anyone over the age of fifteen won’t find it a satisfying meal. But the eleven-to-fourteens will gobble up Hot British Boyfriend like crumpets and clotted cream.
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Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by Firefox.org and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at http://thatbouviergirl.blogspot.com/, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thatbouviergirl or contribute to her Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/MissyvsEvilDead or her Ko-Fi at ko-fi.com/missmelbouvier