Goodreads plot synopsis:
When the principal announces that every senior must participate in a mandatory year-long Marriage Education program, Fiona Sheehan believes that her life can't get any worse. Then she marries her “husband”: jerky jock Todd, whose cheerleader girlfriend, Amanda, has had it in for Fiona since day one of second grade. Even worse? Amanda is paired with Fiona's long-term crush, Gabe. At least Fiona is doing better than her best friend, Marcie, who is paired up with the very quiet, very mysterious Johnny Mercer. Pranks, fights, misunderstandings, and reconciliations ensue in an almost Shakespearean comedy of errors about mistaken first impressions, convoluted coupling, and hidden crushes.
This book was horrifyingly painful to read for me, but it was at least 80% personal, and reflected barely at all on the quality of the writing. This was because the book, and especially the narrator Fiona, immediately plopped me back into high school. And it wasn't with that nostalgic, warm fuzzy feeling that you (and I) sometimes think back on high school with. It was the cold, mind-ravaging remembrance of every horrible event and embarrassing misstep; the nightmare-ish wondering of "what is this had happened when I was in high school?" Seriously, the plot of this book constantly made me cringe in deep sympathy with Fiona and her friends (and enemies!). I mean, if I and my circle had had to go through a Marriage Education program, some of us would have died, some of us would be in mental institutions (definitely me) and the rest would end up completely dysfunctional. I can only imagine the barest glimpse of the horrifying things my awkward teenage self would end up doing in a program like that.
Anyway, wow I'm self-centered!
If I look at the book objectively without spiraling into nightmare, it was quite good. The story was solid, Fiona's character arc is satisfying (her self-pity and arrogance again reminded me of me....I was happy to see her learn her lesson), and it was fun to see the various stereotypes slowly get stripped off to the Real People underneath. Well, Real Fictional People, but you know what I mean.
And, like I probably implied, this book is very true to high school, which I appreciated. Sometimes high school sit-com lit gets a little too Hollywood and neatly arranges all of the events and characters into boxes. Johnny Mercer? I TOTALLY knew guys like him. I knew kids like Fiona and Marcie and Todd and Amanda. And Fiona's family was endearingly realistic and fun.
There is a lot of humor in this book, too. I giggled many times, when I wasn't wide-eyed with terrifying memories and imaginings, lol. Fiona's voice is very honest and helps us understand her even when we want to hit her on the head with Sensitivity Stick.
I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. It definitely gives you what it advertises: high school, romance, comedy, and plenty of teenage silliness. It won't be a re-read for me personally, but if it's your flavor of ice-cream, you'll probably want to, er, eat many times. Yay awkward metaphors!