You Have a Match is a young adult romance that follows a teenage girl discovering a secret older sister and opening herself up to love over the course of one summer. It’s a funny, dramatic and emotional read that covers a lot of ground, from found family and adoption to finding your path as a young adult.
Abby Day knows who she is: she’s the oldest of four, a photography fiend, best friend to Connie and Leo, and a bit of a screw-up. Since the death of her beloved grandfather, Abby hasn’t been getting the kind of grades you need to pass English, let alone to get into college. She’s also struggling with feelings for Leo, not wanting to ruin their lifelong friendship when
Abby knows he doesn’t like her back. Enter Savvy, eighteen years old, an Instagram phenom, and, somehow, Abby’s older sister.
Abby and Savvy only have a few weeks before Savvy goes to work as a camp counselor, so they work fast. Abby capitulates to her parents’ desire for her to go to SAT prep camp, coincidentally, the same program Savvy is a part of. This gives the two girls a whole month together, away from both sets of parents, to figure out how their parents know each other, what happened to drive them apart, and why neither knew about the other. At camp, Abby chaffes against the strict rules, and the girls’ personalities clash, though Abby is able to make new friends with her cabinmates and even bond with Savvy’s friends. Strangely enough, the same camp that Savvy has attended since childhood is Leo’s summer camp, and Abby isn’t expecting to see him when they meet at the ferry to the camp’s island location. Abby has to reckon with her feelings for Leo and her reluctance to resolve conflicts if she is going to find any closure before the end of the summer.
This book is deeply complex. It has a large cast of characters, both at camp and back home, and both Savvy and Abby have rich lives and interconnected problems. All of the secondary characters have their own issues to resolve and are well-defined as people. The story is paced very well and follows Abby’s emotional journey in a realistic and satisfying way.
Leo is a really great love interest; he’s kind, gentle and passionate about his interests. While I think the romantic gesture can be a bit overdone, Leo’s soft encouragement and the things he does for Abby are perfectly supportive without being overbearing. I really liked him; he has a journey of his own in the story, of coming to terms with being adopted himself, and connecting with his Filipino culture after being raised in a white family. The love story is high stakes, considering his and Abby’s lifelong friendship, but high reward, given the potential for the same kind of lifelong happiness.
The only thing I didn’t love about this book was the constant obstacles that were thrown between Abby and Savvy; it didn’t feel necessary to have them at each other’s throats over one perceived slight or another. Every time they make up and resolve their issues, another one crops up seemingly out of nowhere. The manufactured conflict wasn’t really necessary; the girls are different enough that they don’t need a botched prank to drive wedges between them.
Overall, I really loved reading You Have a Match. It’s the perfect read for anyone nostalgic for summer camp.
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