Scotty Williams is the nerdiest 17-year old at Havensdale College – and proud of it. However, being a nerd can have its downsides, particularly when you’re constantly being targeted by Taylor Raven and his cronies. As Scotty tries to navigate his college years with the help of his best friend, Olive, he finds himself on the radar of the mysterious and intimidating Vincent Hunter, the toughest guy on campus. Is Vincent really as bad as he seems? Will Scotty’s darkest secret ever be revealed? Can he just finish college in peace? But most importantly, will any guy ever find a reason to love a nerd like him?
I’m going to start this review out by mentioning that this book is 500+ pages – it’s a long novel – but, I have to say that it hooked me from the first paragraph and kept me interested from start to finish!
The story is told from Scotty’s POV. Scotty is one of the smartest students on campus. Despite “hanging out” in the athletic closet waiting for his best friend Olive to rescue him, Scotty is out and proud. A total nerd, he spends his spare time playing games with the Dungeon Adventure Club, surrounded by others (nerds) like him. His only fear is walking between buildings and being confronted by Taylor Raven and his cronies who have made it their life’s mission to bully Scotty. In an attempt to go out of his way to avoid Taylor and his crew, Scotty walks right into the school psychopath, Vincent Hunter.
Vincent has some anger control issues. After an incident where Vincent broke another student’s nose, pretty much everyone gives him a wide berth. A musician, he spends most of his time practicing with Alexis, his best friend, bandmate, and former girlfriend. When he starts stepping in and protecting Scotty, Scotty gets his hopes up that maybe someone like Vincent could like a nerd like him…except Vincent is straight, isn’t he? The romance between these two was sweet and sexy all rolled into one!
Taylor plays a big role in this story as the bully. Taylor is the son of the college’s prime benefactor, dating the most popular girl at the college, a tennis star, and always surrounded by twin henchmen, Billy and Bobby, who are willing to do his dirty work for him. He’s made it his life’s mission to bully Scotty, despite the fact that at one time they were close. While I didn’t like Taylor throughout much of the story, I will say that he does manage to redeem himself – though I wasn’t a fan of how he went about it.
Ollie/Olive is Scotty’s best friend and the head girl at the college – which I will admit I didn’t know what that was. (It’s a British thing where a student is chosen by either their peers or a faculty member to represent the school at events, take on the day to day management of the students, and create a link between students and faculty.) While I adored the relationship between Ollie and Scotty, at times she acted way too mature to be a 17-18 year old student.
Rounding out the main characters in the story is Alexis. Alexis grew up in the school of hard knocks and formed a bond with Vincent – the only person who’s ever been there for her. Their relationship is complicated, and while they no longer are dating, she is intent on watching his back and doing whatever is necessary to protect him from getting hurt. While ordinarily she is the type of character I don’t particularly care for, I will admit that I really liked her and wished I’d had someone like her watching my back for me.
When I had read the blurb on this book, I expected it to be the same run of the mill “bad boy meets geek” storyline. Instead, what I got was a book with quite a few twists and turns that kept me thoroughly engaged from start to finish! As the story unfolds, Scotty and Vincent find themselves attracted to one another, but it seems as if everyone is intent on pulling them apart. It doesn’t help that Scotty is keeping secrets, not only from Vincent, but from his best friend Ollie. When Scotty’s secret is revealed, he has to begin picking up the pieces of his relationships.
What surprised me the most about this story was the fact that there was a lot of humor in it. Considering it is told in the POV of the person being bullied, he doesn’t let the bullies win.
My only complaint about this book was that I wished the author had included something for non-UK readers on how the educational system worked and the terms used. Sixth year, seventh year, head girl, and then British slang thrown in made it difficult for the non-UK reader to figure out whether we were talking high school or college.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story – despite my lack of UK knowledge about the educational system. If you love a good young adult story, you’ve got to check this one out! Highly recommend!