When I signed up for classes freshman year, no one told me that straight As, volunteer hours, and time in the arts aren’t enough. No one told me I’d have to know every answer to every test and also be a “unique individual” following my life’s calling at seventeen.
Senior Ariel Stone is the perfect college applicant: first chair violin, dedicated community volunteer, and expected valedictorian. He works hard – really hard – to make his life look effortless. A failed Calculus quiz is not part of that plan. Not when he’s number one. Not when his peers can smell weakness like a freshman’s body spray.
Figuring a few all-nighters will preserve his class rank, Ariel throws himself into studying. His friends will understand if he skips a few plans, and he can sleep when he graduates. Except Ariel’s grade continues to slide. Reluctantly, he gets a tutor. Amir and Ariel have never gotten along, but Amir excels in Calculus, and Ariel is out of options.
Ariel may not like Calc, but he might like Amir. Except adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push him past his limit.
I start working on the first problem, hesitating a bit at each step, double-checking every number. I’m forgetting something. Am I forgetting something? I rub my eyes. I should’ve slept more.
Why is this so effing relatable? This anxiety, this uncertainty…I used to feel this way while writing my exams when I was a high school senior. The pressure to outperform and outstrip your classmates, the pressure to make it to the best university in the country had made me so stressed!
This book was so real. It made me cast my mind back to my senior year and realize how things had been super difficult for me and for everyone around me. I was afraid that I had spread myself too thin with all the difficult subjects and extracurriculars and volunteer hours and I really thought I was getting nowhere. I’ve seen my brother work his ass off to get into the best university.
I think we can all relate a lot to Ariel’s situation.
I’m already taking six AP classes, sacrificing lunch, a full night’s sleep, and a normal social life, so sure, I’ll just make time.
There were a few things I really liked in this book. I liked how Ariel’s anxiety is depicted. I think we can all relate to it. Also, all the characters belong to different ethnicities and follow different religions. I also like that our main character Ariel–who is bisexual, by the way– is Jewish and he falls in love with Amir, who is Muslim. Another thing I liked was how Amir and Ariel’s parents’ were okay with their sons dating. Ariel’s best friend, Sook, is Korean and lesbian.
So, this book is pretty wow. I really liked that the author has given us such diverse characters. I also liked the families of Amir and Ariel– their sisters and their parents were so amazing! I particularly like Rachel, who is Ariel’s sister. The MM romance in this book is super cute, even though I really don’t know how it grew so quickly. I don’t care much, though, because I was smiling when both these lads were together.
My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟
This book was good, but I really think it could have been better and more interesting somehow. It’s a quick read. I think y’all are gonna relate a lot, so you should totally read it if you like reading YA books about school stress. Duh. It gave me It’s Kind Of A Funny Story vibes, even though it’s not really about depression.
PS: I’m just gonna upload a picture of matzo ball soup that I’m gonna make. The author and our main character love this soup, so I kinda wanna try it! I’ll do with a picture for now.
Picture taken from Pinterest