Aug 16, 2016

Review: Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein

Title: Shuffle, Repeat
Author: Jen Klein
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date: May 2, 2016
Pages/Format: 336, Hardcover
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When Harry Met Sally for YA romance readers. This opposites-attract love story is perfect for fans of Huntley Fitzpatrick, Stephanie Perkins, and Jenny Han.
June wants high school to end and real life to begin. Oliver is soaking up senior year’s glory days. They could have coasted through high school, knowing about—but not really knowing—each other.
Except that their moms have arranged for Oliver to drive June to school. Every. Single. Day.
Suddenly these two opposites are fighting about music, life . . . pretty much everything. But love is unpredictable. When promises—and hearts—get broken, Oliver and June must figure out what really matters. And then fight for it.

Book in One Word: CUUUUUUUUUTE

When I got an email asking if I'd like a copy of Shuffle, Repeat for review, I was like, "Okay, hmm, this sounds like it could be nice and cute and fluffy," and sometimes I'm just really in a mood for a (good) book that's nice and cute and fluffy, you know? I love my fantasy and thrillers and paranormal novels, but sometimes I don't want a hamburger--I want sweet and sugary cotton candy that may be just a wee bit sticky. And Shuffle, Repeat? It's exactly that and just cuuuuute so THANK YOU, BOOK, FOR BEING CUTE.

Shuffle, Repeat is compared to When Harry Met Sally and that means nothing to me because the only thing I know about that movie is "I'll have what she's having." So, you know, in terms of Jen Klein: "I'll read what she's writing." The synopsis goes big with the comps, hitting up authors who've written some of the absolute best contemporary romances: Stephanie Perkins and Huntley Fitzpatrick. Those are really big shoes to fill, but I'd definitely play Shuffle, Repeat along the lines of Kasie West's contemporaries. It's got CUTE and it's got FLUFF but it's also got some depth, which is great. Honestly, if you're a fan of contemporaries in general hit play on this one and don't skip it.

Let's talk about JUNE and OLIVER, two names that are so adorably cute together like imagine two old people named Oliver and June how cute. Unfortunately for June, Oliver's mother is her mother's best friend--and their mothers decided it would be a great idea for Oliver to take June to school every morning. June is super not thrilled, because her and Oliver aren't exactly friends and, most importantly, Oliver is That Guy: he's a jock and he's nice and he's popular and he's got the girl and he's hot and he epitomizes everything Junes hates about high school. Because June? She doesn't believe anything that happens in high school will last; it's meant to be a blur on our timelines, a blip in our memories. But Oliver believes that high school is more than a blip or a blur, and the two--with their personal music choices as the prize--banter over who's right. They're total opposites, but OPPOSITES ATTRACT, OKAY.

June and Oliver are different in more than just their music choices and high school beliefs. June's group of friends is fun and full of diversity (seriously, I think every single one of her friends is diverse in some way); Oliver's girlfriend is a bitch (okay, maybe I just don't like her), and his best friend is just an ass. That's the other thing: both June and Oliver are already in relationships. OH NO, WHAT WONDERFUL SEXUAL TENSION THAT MUST MAKE. June isn't a Debbie Downer, but she's not a Peppy Patty, either. She doesn't go to football games, doesn't believe in prom, and thinks high school traditions in general--like the senior prank--are just plain stupid. Oliver on the other hand is so damn nice and cheery and amazing, but not so much that you want to hit him over the head with a bat to make him just stop and chill. Oliver is the best. He's a genuinely good guy. You just want him to dump his girlfriend and June to dump her boyfriend so the ship can collide. It's like Johnny and June but Oliver and June. It has such a lovely ring to it.

One thing I love in books is voice. A voice can make or break a book, and sometimes it can even save a book. Shuffle, Repeat was voice-centric right off the bat. But that didn't mean anything--I've read books that have a great first few pages, at least as far as voice goes, and then the voice weans off and whatever connection I had with that book breaks. Not with Shuffle, Repeat. The voice and writing were consistent throughout and just worked. It's not just that the writing fit the story and brought June and her great voice to life: it's the writing in general and in itself was good. Great voice and great writing? Write more books ASAP, please, Jen Klein. (And really, I just need more contemporaries like this in general. They're the best.)

Shuffle, Repeat is one of those books that would be in the pile of recommendations if someone asked me for a good contemporary. Let me tell you something: I'm a slow reader, okay? But I started this on a Sunday night and read until 12:30 a.m.--four hours before I have to leave to babysit. I babysit at 5:10 a.m. (barf, I know) and usually nap until 6:30 or a bit later since the kids are still sleeping. I forwent my nap and instead chose to read this book. While running on less than fours of sleep. If that doesn't tell you to read this book, then I don't know what will. Shuffle, Repeat is filled with cuteness and fluffiness and some depth, as well as strong voice, good writing, diverse characters, and, of course, romance. So I'll reiterate: "I'll read what she's writing."

Did I like it? Yesss!
Did I love it? Not quite, but it's a solid novel.
Would I reread it? I wouldn't say no.
Would I purchase it? I already own it, and I'm pleased that I do.
Who would I recommend it to? Everyone, really, but if we're being specific: if you like lighter, fluffier, and shippy contemporaries that are also good books THEN HERE, HAVE THIS ONE.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


  1. So glad you enjoyed this one! I’ve seen positive reviews for it all over the place so hopefully I get a copy soon. Looks super cute, and I’m happy that it has an adorable romance. Great review :D

  2. I really enjoyed this book too!! It was super cute and I loved June and Oliver's friendship & relationship. I'm a big fan of rereading favorite contemporaries, sort of like watching romantic comedies a bunch, and I think I would add this to my list! I've seen a few people review it lately and it makes me want to read it again. Glad you liked it :)

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