When I started reading the next book in my NetGalley queue (a list of books that doesn’t seem to be going down, no matter how many I read!), I had to laugh at how it had the same idea as the book I read last week, Roomies. THIS book, The Principles of Love by Emily Franklin, however, didn’t have anything to do with going away for university, but instead living on campus for high school. Is that a thing? I’ve never heard of living on campus for high school before, so it was kind of a strange idea for me.
This book wasn’t exactly about freedom, though, since the main character, Love, lives with her dad, the principal. Since it’s high school, there were strict rules when it came to cutting classes and leaving campus — even in your spare time. At any rate, it was hard to really absorb myself into the book with the characters only being 16 years old.
I’m not even really sure how to go about reviewing this book because while I loved the first half of it, the second half fell flat and the ending felt extremely rushed. In the beginning, I loved Love — the character — because she was kind of hilarious in her head and it was fun seeing her fall head over heels for random hot guys around campus. Towards the middle part, though, she started to get really, for lack of a better word, stupid and I don’t know if it was her or the writing, but I felt like I knew the ending of the story right there. Certain ideas were set up as mysterious, but were just way too obvious to me as the reader. And if Love is supposed to be a super smart girl with a good head on her shoulders, then I felt like she should have seen half of these things coming.
I also thought it was a little weird that part of the book surrounded Love emailing another musician, DrakeFan, but we never really saw their interaction except for a few things that Love would say about it. I wanted to see some of their emailings back and forth. I kind of felt that I was robbed as a reader that I was missing out on them!
This book did have some good potential, but I felt like some of the storylines introduced were done for effect, rushed, or not really explained in the end. At first I was really excited because Love was a musician, but a lot of her musical endeavours were just kind of thrown into the story (like her ad singing on the radio). HOWEVER, I did really enjoy the open mike parts. Being a musician myself, I felt like that brought back good memories of getting up on stage in front of a room full of strangers, feeling the anxiety and nervousness coarsing through my veins.
Maybe this book was just writting for a younger audience because I felt like it just didn’t translate well to me being an adult. In fact, being the adult — and a new parent — I kind of cringed at some of the “freedom” that Love got from her father. Trips to New York with a BOY? Spending the night with a boy and not getting the ultimate in grounding? I mean, she’s only 16 and this wasn’t a book about university or anything, so I kind of thought that some of the situations were a little too grown up for the characters. Even some of the dialogue and social situations were a little too grown up (while others were definitely spot on).
In the end, I feel like this book might work out better in some of the other books in the series. It’s the first in the series, so perhaps Love grows up a bit and the story evens out as the story goes on? I was a little miffed that the whole thing kind of ends on a cliffhanger — we get a great opportunity for a full ending (at which point I figured the next books must be companion novels), but then we’re thrown right into this crazy cliffhanger of life choices that Love has to make.
I can’t say that I’ll read the next books in the series, but at least this one did have some humour in it (a few laugh out loud moments, that’s for sure!) and a few likeable characters. There was also a lot of references to music throughout the story. I only wish that it had resonated more with me.
(Added: As I was finishing up this review, I flipped over to the synopsis on Goodreads to see that it was called to be “The Gilmore Girls meets The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” Thinking about this, I can see undertones of The Gilmore Girls, especially as Rory navigated dating, though I doubt I could compare the actual characters of Rory to Love since I felt like Love lost her common sense somewhere along the way.)
Thank you to Open Road Integrated Media and NetGalley for providing me a review copy of this book!
Do you feel like some YA books are too “grown up” for the audience they’re intended for? Have you ever felt miffed by a cliffhanger ending?