ARC Review: The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions) by Amy Spalding

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The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions)
by Amy Spalding
Genre: YA Contemporary, Romance
Publication: April 5th 2016 by Poppy
Series: n/a
Length: 320 pages
Source: ARC from publisher (thank you!!)

A ridiculously cute, formerly-famous new guy dropping into your life? It’s practically every girl’s dream. But not Jules McCallister-Morgan’s.

I realize that on paper I look like your standard type-A, neurotic, overachiever. And maybe I am. But I didn’t get to be the editor of my school’s long-revered newspaper by just showing up*.

I have one main goal for my senior year-early acceptance into my first choice Ivy League college-and I will not be deterred by best friends, moms who think I could stand to “live a little,” or boys. At least, that was the plan before I knew about Alex Powell**.

And before Alex Powell betrayed me***.

I know what you’re thinking: Calm down, Jules. But you don’t understand. This stuff matters. This is my life. And I’m not going down without a fight.

* Okay, I sort of did. But it’s a sore subject.

** I mean, I guess everyone knows about Alex Powell? Two years ago, you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about viral video boy band sensation Chaos 4 All. Two years ago, Alex Powell was famous.

***Some people think I’m overreacting. But this. Means. War.

Filled with romance, rivalry, and passive-aggressive dog walking, Amy Spalding delivers a hilariously relatable high school story that’s sure to have you falling for The New Guy.

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Thank you to Poppy/Little, Brown for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve heard of Amy Spalding’s works before around the blogging community, and I knew that a good majority really enjoyed her previous novel, KISSING TED CALLAHAN (AND OTHER GUYS), which I haven’t read, but I was intrigued by this new novel. Generally, I liked this book, but I felt as if it could use some more development.

The concept of this book was interesting, but ultimately fell a little flat for me. Alex Powell, a former popular boy band (Chaos 4 All) member, is the new kid at Jules’s school. On the side, the school newspaper, of which Jules is a member of, is getting some competition from TALON, another news outlet group. Hence, Jules has to figure out how to compete with TALON and how her relationship with Alex fits in with all of the drama of senior year.

The pacing of this novel was quick, which was good because I felt as if the novel needed a quick pacing for the plot to continue. A lot of the novel has to do with Jules and her discoveries regarding the rival news outlet of her school and her feelings for Alex. Having the pacing go at a moderate pace was good because it kept the novel interesting and didn’t drag on like many contemporary novels tend to do.

The characters were alright, but I felt as if they definitely need some more development. We first are introduced to Jules, who is a straight-A student, one of the editors of her school’s newspaper; I could really connect to her and her need to succeed. However, by the end of the novel, I felt as if she didn’t change, like she didn’t learn anything throughout the events surrounding TALON and Chaos 4 All. Moreover, I felt as if she wasn’t a senior because she acted so impulsively and immaturely. Despite that, I really enjoyed reading about the secondary characters in the novel. For example, Jules has such a great family; they’re supportive, kind and diverse—Jules has two moms! I adored reading about the great support system Jules had. I definitely enjoy reading about healthy familial relationships in contemporary novels, and this book did a good job of incorporating that seamlessly.

The romance was present, but it didn’t take up the whole story. Alex and Jules form a friendship/acquaintanceship on Alex’s first day and there was definite chemistry, which I liked. However, they only knew each other for, what, a few months before they professed their love for each other. I would have liked more development in their relationship and how Alex’s popularity may have affected Jules and her other friendships, which I didn’t feel was very present. Another thing I want to add is that I felt as if this was a very sex-positive novel. Despite how much on the down-low sex seemed to be, Jules was able to be open with talking about sex with her parents, and I loved how that was portrayed in this novel.

Overall, THE NEW GUY was a cute read that reminded me a lot of the many stories on Wattpad. There are ups and downs to this novel, and I was generally okay with it. If you’re looking for a sweet, summer read, pick this one up!

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Have you read Amy Spalding’s previous novel? Are you planning on reading this one? Let me know in the comments!







6 thoughts on “ARC Review: The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions) by Amy Spalding

  1. This book seems sweet and lighthearted, almost perfect for those cosy days. I love a book that incorporates family life and portrays parents in a positive light.

    Great review though! I know you didn’t love it, but I’m really interested in this book. I like reading these sort of books after serious, emotional books. Thank you!


  2. Great review! Totally agree re: Jules sometimes — she was definitely immature and impulsive at times. I also would have liked more relationship development — kind of just sprang out of nowhere and didn’t make sense even if it was cute

    my review


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