Monday, April 20, 2015

Review: Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

Title: Biggest Flirts
Author: Jennifer Echols
Publication: May 20th, 2014 by Simon Pulse
Genre: Contemporary YA
Rating: 5 stars!
Goodreads Summary:
Tia and Will’s lives get flipped upside down when they’re voted Yearbook’s Biggest Flirts in this sassy novel from the author of Endless Summer and The One That I Want.

Tia just wants to have fun. She’s worked hard to earn her reputation as the life of the party, and she’s ready for a carefree senior year of hanging out with friends and hooking up with cute boys. And her first order of business? New guy Will. She can’t get enough of his Midwestern accent and laidback swagger.

As the sparks start to fly, Will wants to get serious. Tia’s seen how caring too much has left her sisters heartbroken, and she isn’t interested in commitment. But pushing Will away drives him into the arms of another girl. Tia tells herself it’s no big deal…until the yearbook elections are announced. Getting voted Biggest Flirts with Will is, well, awkward. They may just be friends, but their chemistry is beginning to jeopardize Will’s new relationship—and causing Tia to reconsider her true feelings. What started as a lighthearted fling is about to get very complicated…
It's Monday and Racquel is here! Jessica, Hannah and I are doing a little switcheroo this week because FUN things so I'm kicking off the week reviewing a fantastic book by the Queen of Feminist YA. Bow down to Jennifer Echols!

Let's start with the title, shall we? Tia and Will are voted Biggest Flirts in their school's yearbook because crazy chemistry and they can barely stand each other but it's all hot so their fun banter got them in their position. Tia and Will really were the biggest flirts. I loved seeing this type of relationship in YA that starts with a hookup and becomes more because they HAPPEN!

Tia likes to have fun. She likes boys. THANK YOU JENNIFER ECHOLS! Girls in YA have it really, really, really hard and I'm so thankful for Jennifer Echols for giving us girls like Tia who show us its okay to want to have fun and like boys. These girls are so rare in YA and they get such negative feedback but Tia is a big middle finger to all of that and she is the variety that we desperately need in YA.

I love this book SO MUCH that yes, I indeed HIGHLIGHTED in it. A deadly sin I know but I just have so much love for it (but I really shouldn't have used a blue highlighter, heh). Tia was so 10000% comfortable with her sexuality and it was so refreshing to read. Especially since she had more experience than Will and I know, I sound like a broken record, BUT I LOVED THAT DYNAMIC!!!!  Usually the guy comes along and teaches the girl everything but no sir, Tia doesn't need saving. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry. Characters like Tia will always be my favorite to read about.

I think I've expressed my love for Tia and her confidence in her sexuality enough so moving on to another thing that made me absolutely love this book: Tia and her mediocrity. Tia was not heading to an Ivy League. She did not spend 25 hours a day studying. There are so many Ivy League and Valedictorian main characters in YA and I think that is so so so harmful. Every type of student should see themselves in books including the great students who don't finish school as Valedictorian. I did well in school but As and Bs were good enough for me. I skipped a lot because I sat in he library reading. Talk about geekiest misfit ever. But yes, we need a lot of Tia's. We need every type of student in YA from those who make all As to all Fs so every reader can see themselves in YA and not feel ashamed and once again, Tia fills these diversity needs.

I loved Biggest Flirts from the first to the last page. Jennifer Echols always writes girls that challenge the normal archetype because they're confident in their sexuality and I hope she never stops. It's so important to have girls like Tia who doesn't let anyone shame her for her wants or her exploration of her body and her experiences. I wish I could have bottled the utter happiness I felt while reading Biggest Flirts and the all the "yes, yes, THIS!" thoughts and share it with any girl who feels shamed and alienated so she can know it's okay. I just can't recommend Jennifer Echols' books enough. They're so so so important. 

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