Who doesn’t love a good fake dating turned real dating turned a hot mess in a skinny minute? Ginger Li is a master in young adult romance with swoony guys and ladies I would have paid good money to have as friends back in high school. In fact, that’s what I love most about the East Beach High series so far—the friendships. The ladies are supportive and intuitive, even when the boys are a little dense on the pick-up. But the boys aren’t numbskulls or doofuses either!
XOXO, Olivia is no exception. Olivia and her sister, Quinn, are kinda tired of living under their successful mother’s thumb, and I found myself cheering for them when they told her so. But as a mom, I also sort of understand where their mother came from. It was a conundrum for me, but strictly from a young adult standpoint, I was definitely on team “please let your kids learn to fly on their own.”
Micah and Olivia have a natural chemistry that expresses well on the page. I found myself “awing” in almost every chapter. I love it when the crushes are mutual, but neither is sure about the other, even when it couldn’t be more obvious.
Then there is the rich girl, poor boy situation. I’m always hesitant with this trope because the rich kid is often painted as a jerk, and the poor kid is forced to find the good in the rich kid. Not so with this sweet story. There’s much more beneath the surface and a lot to learn about how we judge others.
Overall, the book was sweet, fun, and a great read. Clean and uplifting, this is one I would recommend to any teenager.
You can find the East Beach High series here!