Cameron Carson has a secret. A secret with the power to break apart his friend group.
Cameron Carson, member of the Geeks and Nerds United (GANU) club, has been secretly hooking up with student council president, cheerleader, theater enthusiast, and all-around queen bee Karla Ortega since the summer. The one problem—what was meant to be a summer fling between coffee shop coworkers has now evolved into a clandestine senior-year entanglement, where Karla isn’t intending on blending their friend groups anytime soon, or at all.
Enter Mackenzie Briggs, who isn’t afraid to be herself or wear her heart on her sleeve. When Cameron finds himself unexpectedly bonding with Mackenzie and repeatedly snubbed in public by Karla, he starts to wonder who he can truly consider a friend and who might have the potential to become more…
I got as far as Geeks and Nerds United (GANU) club before requesting this book on NetGalley. That’s all I needed to know.
High school senior Cameron makes better than average grades, works part time as a barrista, trades snarky comments with his sister, and has a deep, abiding love of Dragonball Z. His social circle isn’t wide, and that’s just fine with him. He shares many common interests with his two (sometimes three) friends in the GANU club. The usual crowd populates his school – cheerleaders, athletes, theater group, band geeks, etc. What no one knows, not even his closest friends, is that he’s been secretly seeing popular crowd member Karla for several months. Their summer fling carried over into the school year, and Cam is hoping to find a way to fit into her crowd and be accepted by her friends. As a reporter for the school newspaper, his new assignment is to cover the play, Pride and Prejudice. With Karla and her friends involved in it, Cam thinks it’s the perfect opportunity. The problem is that he can’t stop thinking about Mackenzie, the sometimes member of GANU and his sort-of friend.
This is a light, humorous read that I sped through in a little over a day. It’s built on themes of self-acceptance, acceptance of others, strong friendships, forgiveness, and looking outside of your own little world. Pride and Prejudice is my favorite Austen novel, so I loved all the references to Elizabeth and Darcy. Cam’s sister attempting to explain the emotions Darcy’s “weird flex thing with his hand” conveyed in the movie is a favorite scene and had me chuckling. Cam’s devotion to Dragonball Z is understandable, but I admit to skimming several extensively detailed passages about it.
A sweet romance, awkward moments, charming, diverse characters, worlds colliding, and ride-or-die friendships make this an enjoyable read sure to appeal to fans of anime and Pride and Prejudice alike.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
On Sale Date: January 3, 2023
Ship Date: December 7, 2022
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
James Ramos (he/they) is a nonbinary, unapologetically dorky Minnesota native who now calls Arizona home. Weaned on a steady diet of science-fiction, comic books, and classic literature, James wrote his first story at eight years old and hasn’t stopped writing them since. He counts Jane Austen and Frank Herbert as his biggest literary influences, and believes in the unifying power of the written word. James is passionate about storytelling, particularly stories that give voice to marginalized people, especially those within the LGBTQ+ community and people of color. When he isn’t writing he can usually be found cosplaying with his friends or surrounded by his amazing family of cats.
Twitter & Instagram: @thejamesramos
Changing Hands: https://www.changinghands.com/event/january2023/james-ramos