Love at First Fight Review
Take everything you think you know about the geek-and-jock-fall-in-love trope and throw it away because this book does not follow the expected patterns of those stories.
In "Love at First Fight," we have Margo, Suzie, and Matt, the self-proclaimed geeks and outcasts of Grover High. They don't fit in, but they don't care. They're enjoying life and looking forward to finishing high school so they can move on. When their back-to-school "party" gets crashed by the popular kids, and the hashtag #GeeksGoneWild goes viral, it's war.
Jason is the quarterback of the football team and all around popular guy, but he's not the stereotypical jock. He is the nicest person, who genuinely cares about his friends, and happens to be neighbors with Margo. They were friends growing up, but they've drifted apart over the years. With the war between their two cliques, they decide to call a truce and be friends in hopes that it will spread to the other students. They just hope it works before someone takes things too far.
I love this book! I didn't really know what to expect, but it wasn't this. The characters challenge stereotypes, and I think that's one of the things I love most. It was refreshing to have a jock be nice from the start. He doesn't have this hidden persona behind a mask--he's always nice and everyone knows that's who he is. There's an equally nice cheerleader, Julia, too. Then there's Margo, the band geek who is not afraid to be herself. She speaks up and fights for herself and her friends.
Everything is well-written, and it was easy to read. I like Dallen's style a lot. I'm very happy that it was dual point of view, as well as first-person. This really lets you into the characters' minds and you can see their true thoughts and feelings. Jason's genuineness was heartwarming, and I don't think it would have come across as well if it were written differently.
This book brought back a lot of memories from high school. I wasn't in band, but, like Margo, I didn't ever fit in. This book really captures the feelings of being an outsider. Without spoiling, there's a moment when she says, "Maybe everybody feels that way," in regards to not fitting in. As an adult, I've come to realize the truth in this assumption. I struggled for a very long time, into my twenties even, with this feeling of not belonging. It hasn't been all that long that I've been able to really be myself and love who I am as a person. This book does a wonderful job of showing that people are not as alone as they may think, and that's so important.
The ONLY thing I wish there was more of is interactions with their friends--Luke, Suzie, and Matt. There is a lot of focus on Jason, Margot, Julia, and the two primary "mean" students, Joel and Cara, which makes sense, but I want more of the others. We only get a brief glimpse of Luke and I want more. I want to know what his deal is--why does he act the way he does, how did he become best friends with Jason when he hates football, etc. There are two more books, one that follows Suzie and one about Matt, so I'm sure all those questions will be answered at some point.
I will absolutely be continuing with the rest of this series, and then I'll be checking out Dallen's other books. If you like YA contemporary, definitely give these a try. They're funny and the slow-burning romance was well worth the wait.
- Nostalgic in all the right ways.
- Well written overall.