Thursday, May 26, 2005

No, I'm not sick. I've just gotten the chance to read some great books lately. Also the free time to blog. Very important conjunction there.

Book: 24 Girls in 7 Days
Author: Alex Bradley
Published: 2005

With all the books out there about girls wigging out over prom, it's an unexpected and charming reversal to find one about a guy doing the same. Jack Grammar has been shot down by the one girl he got up the guts to ask, and is now convinced that the so-called best night of his life is going to be anything but. That's before his best friends put up a personal ad just for him on the school website, and suddenly he's the hottest commodity at his high school. With seven days to go until prom, he somehow has to pick one girl to go with, which means twenty-four dates to find the girl of his dreams. And who's this mysterious FancyPants who keeps emailing? Hope he took his vitamins.

While this seems like a dumb romantic comedy from the premise, Alex Bradley has put a lot of thought into his characters. Jack is probably the biggest sweetheart that it's possible for a senior in high school to be, and definitely the biggest one I've ever read. Thoughtful, intelligent, and (when it comes to girls) posessing all the finesse of a Hereford on acid, he's the kind of guy who was probably all over my high school, except I was too busy being a high school girl to notice. His two best friends are generous of heart and not too swift of mind (at least when it comes to their little plot) but really do mean well.

Our hero, searching for that one perfect girl, does not (as most romantic comedy writers would do) have a string of the worst dates known to man. Actually, many of them are pretty good. The focus is squarely on Jack, the development of his ideas about relationships, and his gradual understanding that he's the only one who can make prom night special. If he gets to share it with a really special girl, well, that's a bonus. For a book that's sweet, funny, and (most importantly) avoids or overturns expectations, pick up 24 Girls in 7 Days. You too, guys. You know you want to.

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