Book crushes meet real life with kooky, disastrous consequences in BOOKISH BOYFRIENDS: A DATE WITH DARCY!

Merrilee Campbell is a devourer of books who especially loves a good romance. You know those people who say “Boys are better in books” and “All my boyfriends are fictional”? Well, Merrilee is the president of that club. She’s swept away by over-the-top romance and thinks that modern guys will never add up… until she makes her way into the prestigious Reginald R. Hero preparatory school.

When the sophomore class begins reading Romeo & Juliet with English teacher Mrs. Gregoire, Merrilee isn’t shy about confessing her love for the tale and its take on romance. Then she just so happens to meet an ultra-romantic emo boy named Monroe Stratford, whose father is a political rival of someone close to Merrilee’s family. Monroe is completely dedicated– perhaps obsessed– with Merrilee, despite only knowing her for a couple days, and he has no trouble telling the whole world and risking his reputation to prove it. This is exactly the type of romance Merrilee always loved in book boyfriends, so it should be just as wonderful in real life, right? Right?!

It turns out instalove can be a bit much, especially when you’re starting at a new school, integrating old and new friends, the dastardly headmaster’s son who annoys her more with every chance encounter, and trying to keep up with family, including an older sister marrying into a fearsome political family and a slightly younger sister who could use a little nurturing. But when Mrs. Gregoire gives Merrilee a secondary solo assignment, she’ll learn more about herself and the people she cares about than she ever expected.

If you love a cute, innocent romance, you’ll fall head over heels with A Date With Darcy. True to its themes, the book never takes the romance into risqué territory– In a refreshing twist, high school characters actually act like they’re in high school. It also explores the complexities of everyday friendships and family relationships, all while working NOT to romanticize toxic partners. Between its innocence and easy to follow premise, this would make for a great book for someone transitioning from Middle Grade to YA.

Contemporary with a classic twist, A Date With Darcy’s strength is in its characters. Merrilee has established friends and family, plus makes fast friends with new classmates, so you get to know everyone pretty quickly. As I learned about the secondary characters, I couldn’t help but make some guesses at which classic stories each character belonged in– and one such guess was confirmed near the end of the story. You can see the sequels blooming as you read. There was definitely moments in which I related with these characters: Their awkward interactions, their longing for support, their messy crushes. I certainly loved Merrilee’s little sister Rory, who’s a bit of a rebel, and the story’s Darcy, who is equal parts awkward and all too earnest.

Adorable, fluffy, and perfectly charming, Bookish Boyfriends: A Date With Darcy would make for a good beach read. But there’s just one thing: This isn’t really a book with stakes. If you’re looking for a rush, this isn’t the book for you. Predictability is also a factor because the novel works off of classic literature very closely, even though it doesn’t play out in the same fashion (especially that whole Romeo & Juliet bit.) But if you know the original classic, you know what kind of obstacle is coming next. Where some retellings use the bare bones of the popular version, Schmidt’s novel tries to lace together as many parallels are possible in a modern setting. It might work really well for others, but for me, it dampened the excitement. If you’re okay with that, you’ll probably be quite pleased.

If you want an ode to classic literature with a sugar-sweet contemporary twist, you’ll enjoy this simple but fun and romantic tween tale.


Bookish Boyfriends: A Date With Darcy by Tiffany Schmidt is out now. You can order it via Amazon or Indiebound!

Boys are so much better in books. At least according to Merrilee Campbell, fifteen, who thinks real-life chivalry is dead and there’d be nothing more romantic than having a guy woo her like the heroes in classic stories. Then she, her best friend, Eliza, and her younger sister, Rory, transfer to Reginald R. Hero Prep—where all the boys look like they’ve stepped off the pages of a romance novel. Merri can hardly walk across the quad without running into someone who reminds her of Romeo.

When the brooding and complicated Monroe Stratford scales Merri’s trellis in an effort to make her his, she thinks she might be Juliet incarnate. But as she works her way through her literature curriculum under the guidance of an enigmatic teacher, Merri’s tale begins to unfold in ways she couldn’t have imagined. Merri soon realizes that only she is in charge of her story. And it is a truth universally acknowledged that first impressions can be deceiving . . .

By Kait

Kait is a New Englander, a YA book and adaptation lover, and a Slythindor, as well as a red velvet and red wine enthusiast. She likes to like things. Catch her on Twitter: @kaitmary