Stella has had a hopeless crush on Will, her older brother’s best friend FOREVER, but now that Cam and Will have graduated and are going off to college, this year is her chance to really strike out on her own. Without her overprotective brother and his sidekick around to distract her, she can focus on having all the typical high school experiences that she’s always dreamed of—starting with finding a boyfriend! With the help of her best friend Franklin, she comes up with the perfect plan to have a boyfriend by Christmas: The Boyfriend Bracket.
Or it seems like the perfect plan…right up until Will starts showing up again. How is she supposed to find the perfect boyfriend when none of her dates measure up to the one boy she can never have?
I wish I liked this book more than I did! The Boyfriend Bracket is all the fluff of a marshmallow, but nothing past the sugary-sweetness. The fact that it’s a bit over 200 pages doesn’t help either, giving only glimpses of character and relationship development. Over the course of these pages, Stella goes through almost her whole senior year of high school. It’s a huge time frame that passes by really quickly, making for a hastened pace that makes the glimpses mentioned above even more scarce. Nonetheless, it was an adorable read that romcom lovers should consider picking up!
The premise of the story is that Stella has a bracket for potential boyfriends for her senior year. She’ll go on dates with every boy (eight names) and see who she can stand. The only problem is that her first crush, Will, is finally noticing her. Also the fact that her brother literally disapproves of every potential love interest coming her way. How will this end up?!
What I Liked:
- Stella is an #ownvoices Filipina narrator who wants to be a fashion designer! She mentions her heritage frequently and her love for fashion is clearly evident through her actions and motives.
- I love how the book discusses the future in terms of college and the twists surrounding college acceptances. It made Stella’s story more realistic and empathetic.
- The love interest, Will, was super sweet and supportive. I love that he was an artist as well!
- Although I could not understand Stella’s reasonings to have a boyfriend for senior year, I totally supported the fact that she was also planning to drop them before college. Here’s a girl with a plan!
What I Disliked:
- The romantic development between Stella and Will was super quick and unsettling for me.
- There was great overall family shown, but Stella’s brother was a stagnant character despite his huge role in the conflict of the story. He was too cardboard for someone who had such an important role.
- Girl on girl hate. Stella’s only friend is Franklin, a gay Korean classmate at school.
- In general, the premise. Maybe it’s my aromantic me, but I didn’t find it necessary for Stella to find a boyfriend for senior year. I guess senior year is particularly close to my heart since it wasn’t long ago when I was in her shoes, but I honestly didn’t have time for boyfriends, much less 8+ dates. What in the world.
I think it’s a case of 50/50 in my lists, so ultimately I’m settling for a 2.5 rating, rounded to 2 stars.The Boyfriend Bracket is all kinds of adorable, and I am LOVING the #ownvoices Filipina narrative, but everything else is exceptionally generic and forgettable. I would recommend this very light read to readers who adore contemporary romance, but that’s about it.
Thank you Macmillan for the review copy!