I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise
Series: App #2
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Published by Harper Collins on April 30th 2013
Also by this author: The Boyfriend App
Format: eARC (336 pages) • Source: Publisher
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Poor Blake Dawkins! She's rich, she's gorgeous, and she's the queen bee of Harrison High. The girls want to be her; the boys want to—okay, enough said. But it turns out Blake’s life is not so perfect—just talk to her dad, who constantly reminds her that she's not up to par, or to her ex-bff, Audrey, who doesn't even look her in the eye.
Then Harrison—and every other high school in America—becomes obsessed with posting selfies on the ubiquitous Pretty App. Next: Leo, an adorable transfer student, arrives at Harrison and begins to show Blake that maybe being a queen bee doesn't mean being a queen bitch. And though Audrey suspects somebody’s playing foul, Blake finds herself catapulted to internet fame after being voted one of the prettiest girls in the country. She's whisked away to star in a reality show—in Hollywood, on live TV. But she doesn’t know who to trust. Because everybody on the show wants to win.
And nobody is there to make friends.
The fastest and easiest thing I can say about this book is this: if you read The Boyfriend App, imagine that you took that book and stripped away a layer or two. Take away some of the cute romance, some of the charming characters, and some of the deeper meanings and morals. Voilà! You have The Pretty App. That sounds harsh, but notice I said the word SOME a lot. I don’t think its a lot worse by any means, I just think it’s a more superficial version of the same book… and it still happens to be damn enjoyable!
I was interested initially to get inside Blake’s head. In the first book, she’s the school’s mean girl and doesn’t seem to have many, if any, redeeming qualities. It was kind of exactly what I predicted. She views herself as just a pretty face, she has issues with her family, and she puts other people down to feel better about herself. Cue the character development into a glowing, respectable young woman by the end of the book. (Kind of. She always said she would still have a bit of a “bitch” in her, which I actually appreciated; it was more realistic that way – saying that she could never change some parts of who she is.) It did bug me HOW OFTEN they talked about how she was soooo pretty and had nothing else going for her. She constantly, and I mean CONSTANTLY talked about her looks being her only good quality; she’s not smart or nice – she’s just pretty. I get it, but it was so damn repetitive. A lot of the beginning made me alternate between feeling bad for her and thinking she deserved it. She was pretty damn vain about her looks but then would complain about the kinds of attention she’d get as a result. Are you happy you’re pretty or not? By the end of the book, she did a lot of TALKING about how she wanted to be a better person; she did try harder to be nice and be friends with new people instead of being a bitch… but she was still vain. (I’ll also say that it bugged me that Blake never apologized to Audrey’s mom for getting gravy all over her in the cafeteria in The Boyfriend App; that would have shown some real character development.)
As for the other characters, I love the relationship development between Blake and Audrey. (SLIGHT spoiler ahead, even though you can see it coming…) It was sweet to see their old memories come back up and them try to repair their relationship. Her new friendship with Amy, another girl on the reality show with her, was also very cute. It was in those areas that I thought Blake could really grow as a character. I also loved seeing Blake get closer with Audrey’s group of friends.
The whole concept of the actual “Pretty App” was awful and yucky. It was literally a beauty contest where girls were ONLY judged on that aspect of themselves. I wish there was more of a resolution with this. I feel like with The Boyfriend App, there were lessons learned that you can’t force someone to love you and sometimes matches just happen. The big Public corporation was taught a lesson because Audrey took them down a few notches. In this one, there was no big learning experience for Public. I was hoping they’d be like, oh shit this is kind of a gross idea for an app and we’re sorry about it. There was a cool allegory/warning about social media, big corporations, and today’s day of technology… but it was more for the reader to interpret instead of the actual company learning some kind of lesson as a part of the plot. Aside from that, I thought that the whole idea behind the book was pretty unique, just like its predecessor. I was racing to finish and see what happened – just like the first book.
So, now for the biggest weakness: the romance. Oh lord. Let me give you a summary: new kid in school – wins Blake over immediately – goes on a date for the day – is sketchy and leaves her for the vast majority of the book – big secrets are revealed – they love each other. Yes, they love each other after spending exactly one day together. It’s the definition of insta-love folks. I can’t remember if they explicitly used the word love, but Blake was SO OBSESSED WITH HIM after one stinking date. And, on top of that, I didn’t even like Leo. When he was introduced, I thought he was obnoxious. He’s the kind of kid that would seriously piss me off in high school. The ending was cute but predictable.
TL;DR? Aside from being a pretty cute and quick read, the book was a little too superficial for me. It had bigger themes and morals like The Boyfriend App, but not as strong. The romance was incredibly weak and kind of annoying. Good character development overall but iffy in spots.