Aug 12, 2015

Review: The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick

TitleThe Boy Most Likely To
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Dial Books
Publishing Date: August 18, 2015
Pages/Format: 432, ARC
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A surprising, utterly romantic companion to My Life Next Door—great for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han. 

Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To find the liquor cabinet blindfolded, need a liver transplant, and drive his car into a house

Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To . . . well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters.

For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard.

Then the unexpected consequences of Tim’s wild days come back to shock him. He finds himself in a situation that isn’t all it appears to be, that he never could have predicted . . . but maybe should have.

And Alice is caught in the middle.

Told in Tim’s and Alice’s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this novel is for readers of The Spectacular NowNick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and Paper Towns.

Book in One Word: Surprising

The Boy Most Likely To's synopsis calls the book two things: "surprising" and "utterly romantic." Is it surprising? I would say yes. Definitely yes. Is it utterly romantic? I would have to say no. As a companion novel to--hell, just by being a book from the same author as--My Life Next Door (which I loooved), I can't help but compare the two. And while I didn't want My Life Next Door to be beat, I was at least hoping--expecting?--The Boy Most Likely To would at least reach that level. And so, now that I've read The Boy Most Likely To, and had some time to ponder it, I wouldn't say that it was a disappointment, really; it just wasn't what I had expected. (Which seems fitting, since it has to do with Tim Mason.)

The thing about The Boy Most Likely To is that it's about The Boy Most Likely To, Tim Mason, who was one of my favorite characters in My Life Next Door, and who's a favorite secondary character of all time in general. With My Life Next Door, the title hinted that it would be about the main character and her life next door. But with The Boy Most Likely To, despite its dual POV (Alice Garrett along with Tim), the title is pretty straightforward: it's all about Tim. Which leads back to what I said about this book just not being what I had expected. I was expecting a book with a large focus on romance and that was swoony and sweet and just so good. But Tim Mason really isn't any of those things: he's a screw-up. He's been kicked out of numerous schools, goes to AA meetings, has had drug problems, and so on and so forth--and he's only seventeen. And so the point of this book is about Tim as a whole: he's the boy most likely to do what? It's not supposed to be about him and Alice (no matter how much we want it to be all that). It's about whether or not Tim Mason will be a drunken, dead body in a ditch. And because that's the basis for the novel, there's a very big plot point that's kind of the center at which the story pivots around--and because of that, I have to be vague with the book as a whole, I think, because if I weren't I would be hardcore spoiling this book for you, and I won't do that.

So. Tim Mason. If you've read My Life Next Door, you probably know and (hopefully) love him. He's got one foul, smartass mouth, and has a partial infatuation with "Hot Alice," his best friend Jase Garrett's older sister. Tim isn't really the kind for relationships, and Alice isn't really the kind for serious relationships. She tolerates Tim, but he's the exact opposite of anything and everything she needs in her life right now as she plays substitute Mama Garrett. (The book takes place only a few months after My Life Next Door.) But of course, that means a romance is imminent, right? Maaaybe, but I never really felt the romance like I felt it in My Life Next Door. (I can't help but compare, sorry!) It's a part of the story, sure, but again, the point of this story isn't the romance, and I think that's why--even though I definitely shipped it and have wanted Tim to get Alice since the book's predecessor--I never really felt it. And I guess I just expected otherwise?

What's nice about The Boy Most Likely To is returning to a world we already know and love. (Though I really want more from Jase and Sam, of course.) We get to see the Garrett's--who I love, love, love, though they didn't seem as....fleshed out? they did in My Life Next Door (like, if I wouldn't have already known them, I don't know that I would love them as/so much?), and I think this time Patsy stole the show. (But I love all the Garretts they're the best why aren't they real.) There are other characters, too--again, I have to be vague--and there's one I really liked in particular. And then there's Tim and Alice: one pining after the other (nearly drooling, probably), and one trying their darnedest to stay away from the other.

I don't really know what else to say about The Boy Most Likely To, at least without spoiling it. I really liked being inside Tim's head, and it was interesting to be inside Alice's, too, though I think it would've worked if it was just Tim's, too. (Not that I minded Alice's.) (But was using different fonts for each POV really necessary?) Despite this book differing from my expectations, and even though I didn't love it, and though some things didn't seem...believable? was still a good book. It was nice to follow Tim on this part of his journey (for I'm sure he'll have many), and to see these different aspects and sides of him--do we really know who Tim Mason is?--even though it didn't end quite like how I wanted it to for him. (I don't think that's a spoiler?) The Boy Most Likely To had an element to it that I realllyyy liked and want to see more of in YA--again, the vagueness--but in the end, I certainly liked it. Tim Mason is The Boy Most Likely To--well, you'll have to read about him and find out for yourself.

Did I like it? Yes.
Did I love it? No.
Would I reread it? Possibly?
Would I purchase it? I would, but I don't think I'm in any rush to have it on my shelves (though I have it pre-ordered...).
Who would I recommend it to? For sure fans of Huntley Fitzpatrick and My Life Next Door, and people who like contemporaries with male POVs, that are a bit more serious than fluffy, and that have unexpected elements.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, and that in no way sways my opinion of the book.

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