Saturday, February 7, 2015

Tomboys and Fake Dating: One of the Guys Review

Title: One of the Guys
Author: Lisa Aldin
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Release Date: February 10th, 2015!
*eARC kindly provided by Spencer Hill via NetGalley*

From Goodreads...
Tomboy to the core, Toni Valentine understands guys. She'll take horror movies, monster hunts and burping contests over manicures. So Toni is horrified when she's sent to the Winston Academy for Girls, where she has to wear a skirt and learn to be a lady while the guys move on without her.

Then Toni meets Emma Elizabeth, a girl at school with boy troubles, and she volunteers one of her friends as a pretend date. Word spreads of Toni’s connections with boys, and she discovers that her new wealthy female classmates will pay big money for fake dates. Looking for a way to connect her old best friends with her new life at school, Toni and Emma start up Toni Valentine’s Rent-A-Gent Service. 

But the business meets a scandal when Toni falls for one of her friends--the same guy who happens to be the most sought-after date. With everything she's built on the line, Toni has to decide if she wants to save the business and her old life, or let go of being one of the guys for a chance at love.

My Review!
I love contemporaries, even if they are sometimes too fluffy and sweet for me (which is weird, I know). I really just have to be in the right mood for these types of stories, and so I guess I was when I started this book because I really liked it! It wasn't too cheesy or unrealistic, and even though I wish the story-line had gone a bit deeper, One of the Guys left me with a happy feeling.

I had an immediate connection with the main character, Toni. I, too, am a tomboy. More so when I was a child, but I'm still not a girly girl. I've never cared about fashion, and I don't wear makeup. I could totally relate to this girl and her difficulties and worries. She's always been 'one of the guys' but lately her feelings for one of her best friends has started to change and she's left not knowing exactly how to handle it. Plus, she doesn't think he'd ever see her as more than a friend, as more than McRib, the girl who can out-belch him and still believes in lake monsters. Toni spent much of the book trying to change and caring too much about what everyone else thought of her. But that's okay, because she had great growth as a character. She was just trying to figure out who she is, especially outside of her relationships with her three best friends. Change is inevitable, with yourself and with your friends. And Toni had to accept that and also learn that she didn't have to change for people to see her. For Loch to see her.

So, here's the deal: there are four best friends who have known each other for a long time. They go by the nicknames McRib, Loch, Ollie, and Cowboy. That is a great setup for a love triangle or even love square. Do you know how happy I was that the issues and complexities of their relationships with each other didn't evolve because of love? Well, that's not totally true. The feelings Toni has for Loch are bound to create problems, because if they get together, the dynamics will change. But I have to reiterate this: Change is inevitable. And they were all dealing with their own changes in life, which leads to silences, arguments, and feelings being hurt. But through it all, the four of them had such a strong friendship and bond, even when they were losing sight of each other.

I wish the romance had been as developed as the platonic friendships. I understand that a lot of thought and care went into giving Loch's and Toni's relationship time to acclimate to all of the changes in feelings. But it still felt underdeveloped. I just wanted a bit more from it. Maybe a little less time spent on all of his fake dates and a little more time spent with Toni and Loch together in the same room could have done wonders. I just wanted more focus on the romance than on the fake-dating business.

The secondary characters were fleshed out well and all had their own personalities. Not just with the three guys, but also with the new addition of Emma. There were even some off-to-the-side story-lines going on with everyone else besides Toni. I think, though, that was part of the reason why the romance felt underdeveloped. Too much focus was placed on unimportant matters.

I didn't care that much for the plot probably because I've read these types of story-lines before and so much of it was predictable. I also felt like it took a lot away from the characters' relationships. I still liked the story, and that ending was really cute. I think I just wanted a bit more from it. What, exactly, I don't know. The book was just missing that spark or extra something to make it stand out for me.

Even though I didn't love this, I'm glad I gave it a chance. I really enjoyed the strong focus on friendships, and I loved that the main character was a tomboy. One of the Guys was a fluffy and quick contemporary read with a satisfying ending.

3 Paw Prints!


  1. Hi Holly,
    The synopsis sounds great, too bad it was predictable, like a lot of contemporary reads. Great review!

    Myra @ I'm Loving Books

  2. This fake dating business sounds really interesting and of course it ends up going south once feelings get involved. :) I'm excited about the platonic friendship because there's totally not enough of that in fiction, well, not as well portrayed as I wish it'd be. I'll just have to overlook the slightly underdeveloped romance if I read this. It does seem like it would be quite predictable, I mean, just from reading the summary, you most likely already know what's going to happen. It sucks there wasn't that spark in this story to make it a standout, but at least you liked it and it was quick. :)

  3. I didn't know this was on NetGalley! I'll definitely have to see if it ends up at my library because it looks like a pretty good read. Plus, I really need to find out about this McRib character. lol

  4. I had to decided not to buy this, and I think I'm glad. It sounds like a cute read, but what you say about the romance completely puts me off. I need couples to spend time together!! It surprises me, because I thought this book was primarily a romance? Anyway, glad you still found things to love - like the friendship - but I'll probably take a pass.
    Lovely review!

  5. I am someone who is a bit iffy with contemporary romances and I either love them or hate them. It seems like this has a good balance and I think the idea of a best friend couple turning to romance is definitely too sweet. I doubt I will read it because I am not in the mood for these books lately, but it still sounds like a maybe.


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