Review: A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker

A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker
Kristin Walker's website here // $9.99 from {amazon}

Publisher: Razorbill (February 4, 2010)
Paperback: 288 pages
Summary: from {goodreads}
When the principal announces that every senior must participate in a mandatory year-long Marriage Education program, Fiona Sheehan believes that her life can’t get any worse. Then she marries her “husband”: Jerky jock Todd, whose cheerleader girlfriend, Amanda, has had it in for Fiona since day one of second grade. Even worse? Amanda is paired with Fiona’s long-term crush, Gabe. At least Fiona is doing better than her best friend, Marcie, who is paired up with the very quiet, very mysterious Johnny Mercer. Pranks, fights, misunderstandings, and reconciliations ensue in an almost Shakespearean comedy of errors about mistaken first impressions, convoluted coupling, and hidden crushes.

Rating: View my rating system.

My Thoughts: A Match Made in High School has the nerds, the jocks, the cheerleaders, and that slightly overweight guy friend, aka all the cliches - in a funny and endearing way. The story is light, fluffy, and entertaining, and I was surprised by how clear the messages come across from author to reader.

The primary reason I wanted to read A Match Made in High School was the plot. I knew I had to somehow get a copy into my hands the moment I read the premise because it was just. so. cute. *runs around like the brainless chicken I am* I'm a high school student myself, and it definitely got me thinking about what it would be like if my school adapted a marriage course, a class known in the book as "Trying the Knot." The possibilities are endless, and A Match Made in High School did not disappoint. The system mimics a "marriage" by assigning varying income factors, necessitating a job, randomly throwing out obstacles such as pregnancies, and more. Most importantly, of course, there's the marriage partner. Does it sound intriguing? Yes. Does it sound like trouble? Definitely. I loved going on the high school highway with Fiona as she tried to navigate the marriage course and the rocky road of her romance. Then sprinkle in a little bit of your brooding crush being paired up with your partner's cheerleader girlfriend? I sense some major "fun" in the horizon.

The main and only reason I didn't give A Match Made in High School a better rating is Fiona's ignorance and, therefore, my annoyance with her. Fiona is that typical outcast with that one best friend, but she also enjoys biting cheerleaders and jocks back with her rapier wit. I appluad Fiona's refusal to retreat in the face of adversy, but unfortunately, that low social standing coupled with that defiant behavior is extremely rare, if it even exists. How plausible Fiona's character was didn't really factor into the book though, and I still found myself being able to relate to most of Fiona's very teenage feelings and thoughts. The real problem that bothered me was how self-centered and naive Fiona was, gah. I wanted to literally grab her head and turn it in the right direction, showing her exactly what was under her nose and waiting to be noticed. Not exactly pleasant. I understand that Fiona needed to experience some sort of development from Point A to Point B, and I clearly saw her progression, but did she have to be so ignorant to that extent? Thankfully, it just meant I didn't have to like Fiona for about 1/4 of the book, and I did like the independent but considerate girl Fiona grew into at the end. Overall, I admire Fiona's independence and resiliency and sprinkled with a bit of naivety and a whole lot of sarcasm, it made Fiona appear like just another teenage girl, just one less concerned with other's opinions than most.

And that brings me to what I loved about A Match Made in High School: Fiona's voice. I just explained my conflicting feelings regarding Fiona, but I can definitively say that she's sarcastic and simply a teen. Kristin Walker does a great job getting into the mind of a teen girl, and it felt like I was following some exciting drama with a friend rather than reading a book. There are some interesting and awesome displays of teenage immaturity (yes, I'm a hypocrite) and many cute and funny moments. Creating a voodoo bracelet and calling upon spirits to curse Sam's friend? Good times, good times, girl. Fiona's sarcasm never failed to amuse me and made me think "man, I wish I could think of such a good comeback that quickly." I can say for sure that I was never bored, and it's practically a rule that I have to fall for a book with such a sarcastic, hilarious narrator.

A Match Made in High School isn't all about romance though, and it clearly conveys some solid, fundamental lessons about family and friendship. All's well that ends well, and the ending is sort of expected, but sweet nonetheless.

Romance: Nothing physical, but definitely relationship issues. Marriage course = I forsee many romantic conflicts. Many delusions, coming to accept people for who they are, etc. and nothing  particular serious.
Cover: 4.0 - I think it's adorable, and it really helped me picture what some of the characters might look like.
Writing: 4.5
Characters: 3.5
Plot: 4.0 + .25 creativity points

Bottom Line: A Match Made in High School was a quick, easy, and hilarious read with a light sprinkling of romance, friendships, and family conflicts. The plot had me hooked from square one, and though the characters were stereotypical, Kristen Walker managed to create unique personalities within the cliches. Kristin introduces a fresh and witty voice to the YA family, and I would recommend this one to anyone looking for a fluffy, fun read with some insightful tidbits thrown in. Congrats to Kristin on a solid debut, and I'll be watching out for her books in the future!

Source: Thank you to Gillian from Razorbill!