Adorkable by Sarra Manning

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Adorkable by Sarra Manning

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: I found the instant romance between the two main characters a bit too quick, but this is still an interesting read with a strong dual narrative. Not Manning's best but well worth checking out.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: May 2012
Publisher: Atom
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781907411007

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Shortlisted for Romantic Novelists Association Award 2013: The Young Adult Romantic Novel

Jeane Smith has her own quirky fashion sense, half a million Twitter followers, and a place on the Guardian's '30 People Under 30 Who Are Changing The World' list. Michael Lee has good looks, designer clothes, and parents who push him to excel at everything. They have nothing in common - so why do they end up kissing so often?

Good question and Sarra Manning's novel doesn't quite answer it properly. This is something of a case of insta-love, and while the romance between the pair develops fairly well in the end, it irritated me quite a bit to start off with because they seem to get together ridiculously quickly. One moment they're finding out that their current boyfriend and girlfriend are spending rather too much time together for either Michael or Jeane's comfort, the next moment their tongues are stuck down each other's throats.

I should point out that as a massive fan of Sarra Manning's who loved the premise of this one from the moment I first heard of it, my expectations were rather sky-high. I can't help feeling disappointed - both in the insta-love mentioned, and in some rather strange dialogue - I felt like screaming by halfway through the book whenever someone repeated 'totes' for 'totally' or 'blates' for 'blatantly'. That said, despite the small annoyances, it does have a lot going for it. As ever, Manning's plotting is excellent and she captures the voice of both narrators really well - Michael is instantly likeable whereas Jeane is more of an acquired taste, but the narration from both is spot on. It's also intriguing to see the usual teen problems of love, family issues, and planning for the future collide with rather more unusual ones such as Jeane's growing fame. The families of the two main characters are also very well portrayed, and the way in which Michael's parents react to Jeane is sweet and tender.

It's definitely aimed at older teens - there's a sex scene which isn't massively explicit, and is possibly one of the best-written ones I've read in a YA book, but which might make parents of younger teens think twice before buying it for them.

Overall, I wouldn't say this was one of Manning's better books - but given that at her best she's superb, even off-form she's worth reading. I'd happily recommend it for older teens.

For another contemporary romance featuring older teens, Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson is one of my very favourites. Another contemporary romance with a fabulous dual narrative is Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt, a strong contender for book of the year so far for me. We also have a review of The Worst Girlfriend In The World by Sarra Manning.

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