My High School Rebel Boyfriend
to make my life a misery
Mitchell Finlayson has it in for me
All because I snitched on him
Well, he deserved it, but I didn’t count on his punishment being to help the volleyball team.
Now he seems to be there at every turn,
Trying to break me…
As if I don’t have enough issues
Trying to manage my diabetes
Yeah, Mitchell acts tough,
Like he’s a bad boy
But he has secrets
Can it be that the boy with the cold, hard heart
Is hiding a softer side?
My High School Rebel Boyfriend stars a high school senior, Harper, who is struggling living with type one diabetes. She’s had to give up so much in her life and now just wants a chance at a volleyball scholarship.
Enter Mitchell. Along with another boy, he receives a punishment to help the volleyball team train for an upcoming tournament. Harper and Mitchell don’t get along for most of the book, each misunderstanding each other in many ways. But as secrets come out, they slowly realize neither of them is the person they thought they were.
What I loved:
That the book was heavily focused on illness and disability. As someone who lives with both, it was refreshing to see it done in a realistic way. I know from experience the worry and anxiety and embarrassment Harper faced every day and this author managed a perfect representation of what that’s like.
Harper and Mitchell were cute together and you can’t help rooting for them to go all the way. Their connection is palpable. The writing flows easily, making this a quick read.
What left me wanting more:
There are some pretty offensive judgements made about type two diabetes in this book that were completely uncalled for. It’s categorized as a disease only overweight people get for eating too much junk food, completely discounting all other factors and causes. It was a comment that stayed with me through the entire book.
I think some of the nuances of child abuse were also missed, especially in the end when it’s seemingly getting better because of Harper’s involvement.
I’d have loved a more complete ending where we find out if Harper reaches the goal she’s been striving for the entire book.
Final verdict: A well-written story that excels in entertainment factor with real, easy-to-root-for characters who face relatable problems in realistic ways.
Yet, she's also bombarded by too much caring about her diabetes, as her mother is fiercely protective of her, worried that she may be pushing herself too hard. When Harper unknowingly sets up her fate of bringing Mitchell and his friend on as student trainers for her volleyball team, she starts to have her work cut out for her. Mitchell pushes her hard, and when she responds well to his direction, she surprises not only herself, but him. He realizes that there may be more to Harper than meets the eye, and at the same time, Harper finds herself having trouble getting Mitchell out of her thoughts.
Besides learning about Harper's home life, including her diabetes and her mother's protective nature, we learn that Mitchell's home life is not all sunshine and roses. He is dealing with troubles that no adult, let alone child, should have to conquer, especially when one is so young. His mother is sick and his step-father takes out his frustration on Mitchell. Readers learn that even though someone might seem strong on the outside, what's inside matters, too. Mitchell is just a little boy inside, trying to protect his mother and save her from any more struggle or worry.
Kylie Key has done a nice job setting the stage for two characters who are determined to make their mark, but have troubles keeping them from shining as much as they'd like. The story is one of determination, strength, and learning to cope with troubles one may never have seen coming.