Seventeen-year-old Amalia Yaabez and Ezra Holtz couldn’t be more different. They’ve known (and avoided) each other their whole lives; she unable to stand his buttoned-up, arrogant, perfect disposition, and he unwilling to deal with her slacker, rule-breaking way of moving through the world. When they are unhappily paired on an AP Psychology project, they come across an old psychological study that posits that anyone can fall in love with anyone, if you put them through the right scientific, psychological steps. They decide to put that theory to the test for their project, matching couples from different walks of high school life to see if science really can create love. As they go through the whirlwind of the experiment, Ezra and Amalia realize that maybe it’s not just the couples they matched who are falling for each other . . .
I adored The Art Of French Kissing, which I talk about all the time haha. I was so happy when the author announced she had another book coming out that was going to have the enemies-to-lovers trope and deal with figuring out what you want to do in life. It sounded so cute and really, really good.
Brianna R. Shrum seems to write about a little piece of my soul in each book. I saw myself so well with the anxiety rep in The Art Of French Kissing, and while this book deals with a different aspect of mental health, it was something I truly related to. Amalia deals with the fear of failure. She puts on a front to hide her feelings, because she doesn’t quite know what her feelings are. She avoids what she’s scared of and she’s terrified that she doesn’t know what she wants to do. It’s so real and I thought it was really, really well done.
Amalia is an extrovert. She loves being around people, going to parties, and going out to live her life. I, however, am an intense introvert. It was weird to read about someone who thinks so differently than me and likes things that are so different than I what like, and relate to them so fully. I understood her on a deep level, even though we are two completely different people. It’s cool too because this book is about two different people coming together even though they couldn’t be less alike. The parallel is amazing haha.
This book is messy. Amalia is messy. Ezra is messy. Conversations are messy. And it’s so true to real life. Situations are awkward and things have to be said over and over again, just in different ways. That’s just how life is. It’s not perfect and it’s frustrating and sometimes you don’t know what to say. It was so realistic and I appreciated it so much. Not everything needed to be figured out right away. Amalia thoughts flow so true to real life.
There are also so many amazing characters. There’s POC, a disabled character who uses a wheelchair and a cane, a non-binary character, Jewish characters, bi characters, gay characters, and a trans character. Some of them are very small side characters, but I really loved how casual it was. They just exist and I thought it was awesome. While the main romance is f/m, there are a lot of queer romances and Amaila is bi. She kisses another girl on page and it’s said she has had lots of relationships with people of different genders.
On top of everything else, the story is really amazing. I loved watching the two main characters come together and figure out where they stand. The enemies-to-lovers was done really well. It’s so cute and I loved how their relationship grew. I loved watching them work together. Their experiment was super cool and it was interesting to watch how they executed it and how it played into their lives.
The ending did seem kind of abrupt to me. I would have liked a little more wrap up, but what did happen was really cute and really sweet. It definitely reflects what the story was going for. I think the emotional plotline could have had another chapter to thoroughly flesh everything out.
I just really loved this book. It’s about letting go and self-doubt and love and science. It’s messy and it’s real. I really, really loved it.
Thank you for reading!