Rating: 4.5 Sparkling Stars
Published: March 29, 2016 // Bloomsbury
ARC from publisher
Goodreads // Amazon
If Only . . . he was the boy she's been dreaming of. The If Only line continues in this fun high school theater-themed romance!
Drama girl Maddie Brooks has always had high standards for guys. But she has yet to find one who can live up to the romantic, classic Hollywood heartthrobs, especially the dreamy song-and-dance man Gene Kelly. When Maddie begins to carpool with Jesse Morales, her new neighbor and star pitcher of the baseball team, she's struck by his wit, good looks, and love for his family--but a guy so into sports is definitely not her style. Then Maddie discovers that Jesse was raised as a dancer and still practices in the community theater dance studio to keep in shape. Perhaps her perfect dream guy exists after all! But when it becomes clear that baseball--not dance--is Jessie's passion, can Maddie find a way to let her dream guy go and appreciate the charms of the amazing guy in front of her?
So. This review (if you even want to call it that) is going to be a little different. Mainly because this book is just so, I don’t know, high-schooly. And I’m in high school. SO RELATABLE. I like it a lot. A lot a lot. Some might even call it love. OKAY- back to the reviewing. This is going to be a little different because I’m mostly going to talk about Maddie and Jesse. And I’ll be talking about cake, and if they were cake what kind they would be (and neither of them match up with their favorite flavor!).
We’ll begin with Maddie; she’s a Chicago native who’s just moved to Texas with an affinity for all things Gene Kelly and theatric.
If Maddie was a flavor, she wouldn’t be her favorite yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I think she’d be a chocolate and rose Bundt cake topped with a chocolate ganache. Why is this you ask? This girl is totally sweet and incredibly unique. Her love for classic movies, and the way she weaves them into her everyday life (like the star on her check) are totally deserving of the classic kind of cake. When I think of a classy cake, I think of a Bundt cake. Something about them. You can dress them up or down. Maddie wants it all. And I think this is why I like her so much; she is a whole lot like me. She has a lists of wants in a guy (dance, Gene Kelly, singing, parental approval) and doesn’t really understand her attraction to Jesse- a dashing lad who she thinks is SO not her type. He plays baseball, which is not on her lists. But, he’s also incredibly sweet. These two struggle with growing up and living up to expectations, whether it is their own or someone else’s. As a chocolate and rose Bundt cake covered in chocolate ganache, Maddie a crowd-pleaser and gorgeous. Struggling to figure out who she is, and what she really wants, she embraces life with flair.
Jesse is Maddie’s next door neighbor and brother to Maddie’s first friend in Texas. He enjoys long walks on the beach, conversations about the stars, and movies that have a lot of explosions. Actually, I’m not sure about any of those, but he is a total sweetheart.
Jesse (hold on while I swoon all the swoons real quick. No really, I’m still swooning) has a long time adoration for vanilla cake. However, this boy is anything but vanilla. If he were a cake, he’d be a New York Chai Cheesecake. Let’s all just ignore the positively swoony baseball pants for a moment. Have I mentioned he plays baseball yet? He so does. *winks* He’s this cake because you know it’ll be good (it’s cheesecake- how can it not be yummy?) you don’t know just how yummy it’ll be. When you bite into the cheesecake it’s not just yummy and rich and cheesecakey; oh no, it’s yummy and rich and SPICY and cheesecakey. Like Jesse. There’s elements to this boy that you are expecting when you initially meet him, but it makes him who he is and I JUST I LOVE HIM. The relationship between Jesse and Maddie is just the cutest, but it’s also not without it’s mistakes and hardships and quick-to-judge moments. It’s not as easy as you’d think, just like a cheesecake is a little hard to make.
This book was so cute. It wasn’t on my to-read list before, but I seriously think it needs to be on everyone’s radar now. Cute characters sprinkled with growing up. Dancing and Gene Kelly. Bigger than life smiles and real issues that teens face. This book is darling.