Seventeen-year-old Oliver Wendell Holmes (Yes, his parents are just that peculiar, but his brother’s name is Sherlock, so it could have been worse) knows that he’s different. He’s quirky, awkward, and he’s okay with that. Oliver also likes making lists—meticulous procedures for achieving his goals, step-by-step. Whether it’s “How to Get an A in Chemistry” or “How to Get Accepted to MIT,” he has a process, and it’s worked for him so far. He doesn’t even care that the popular kids mock him. Oliver’s got his eye on the prize.
So when he decides it’s time to declare his feelings for Ainsley Bishop, the girl of his dreams, it’s only natural for him to make a list—a point-by-point strategy to win her heart. He knows it will take a grand gesture for her to see all he has to offer, and her approaching birthday provides the ideal opportunity for Oliver to put his plan into action.
Finding the perfect gift is a challenge Oliver meets with his usual dogged determination. He’ll need to watch her carefully for clues to pinpoint exactly what he should give her. And along the way, he might just learn that what Ainsley really needs is not quite what he expected.
I’m a HUGE fan of T. M. Franklin, and when this book became available on netgalley, I snapped it up! Then, I got bogged down and completely forgot about it. Until yesterday… I started it late in the evening and finished it this morning. I think, overall, it took me about 6 hours to fly through this story.
Firstly… any book where a character is called Sherlock Holmes should be read by anyone. Especially a Sherlock as precocious as this one. Secondly, being given the opportunity to get inside the head of a teenage boy is one any woman has to take, regardless of her age.
Oliver… he’s got his entire life planned (and the lists to prove it). He knows where he’s going to college, he knows what he’s going to study, and he knows that he wants Ainsley Bishop. Problem… She has a boyfriend. Does he back away? No, with the help of Viney, he’s going to make her realise he’s the boy for her. What follows is a funny (yes, I laughed out loud – earning me strange looks from the family) and sweet story about love and trying to get the girl to notice you.
Oliver comes across as a genuinely nice kid, but isn’t annoyingly so. He’s a real character who doesn’t particularly like to piss people off (except Nathan – believe me, the craiglist scene is sheer brilliance). Viney, his best friend, tries to get him to be a little more vindictive, but it never really works. I have to say, the secondary characters in this book are brilliant, and Oliver’s relationships with them come through the words as extremely real! I particularly loved the realtionships with Viney and Hank. They are polar opposites, but they show all sides to Oliver which is great to see.
Ainsley herself is a very relateable character. She’s flawed and has problems that we learn about gradually. At the beginning of the book, she’s high on a pedestal (we’ve all done it with the objects of our crushes), but as the story moves along, she becomes a real person as we sympathise with her and cheer for her as she makes particular choices in life.
Once again, T. M. franklin has sucked me in. I adore her books, yet I did have one niggly problem… As I read this book, I kept expecting a hint of supernatural or paranormal to hit me as all of her other books have this element. But no, as she said to me herself (and this is a direct quote) “the only magic in this one is luuuurve…” Which is not a bad thing, believe me!
Roll on 12 June, so I can get this in Paperback!