“When I met Alec Williams, I nearly fainted. Totally embarrassing, but how often does a regular girl get to meet a famous heartthrob?”
Felicity has been living in the shadow of her best friend Lucy since they were kids. But things change when she is introduced to a quiet guy named Alec. At first Felicity is intimidated by his fame, but as the two grow closer she starts to realize that Alec just might be the guy of her dreams. No other guy has ever made her feel so alive.
The only problem? Lucy has different plans for Alec—plans that start with prom.
Felicity quickly realizes that she will have to make a decision. Will she choose her best friend who has always been there for her, or the mysterious boy that she can’t stop thinking about? Whatever her choice, someone is going to be left broken hearted.
Meet… The Queen of Hearts.
Description taken from Goodreads. I received an advance copy of this book, published July 1st, 2017 in exchange for a honest review. These opinions are my own.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will probably never love another Ali Novak book the way I loved My Life With the Walter Boys. I know that doesn’t seem like a very high bar considering that I gave MLWWB a star rating of 3.5, and my review was more about how it reminded me of a reverse harem anime than about what I truly enjoyed about the book (not one of my proudest reviews from 2014). Nevertheless, I did enjoy MLWWB, I still enjoy it, and I do think about it from time to time, which is more than I can say for several books I rated higher that year.
Paper Hearts was all right. Just all right.
There was nothing particularly shocking or great or unique about the ideas, the setting, the plot–any of it, really. It was your standard, feel good, fangirl fantasy in the voice of a half-decent contemporary writer.
Granted, Novak did try to make this a bit different from the previous book in the series, The Heartbreakers. There’s a mystery that centers around Felicity’s runaway sister that takes up quite a bit of the second half of the book and serves as a backdrop for the characters to get to know each other. I actually did respect this to an extent–it’s actually the reason why I kept on reading. However, the reason why I don’t count it as making the book special and different is that it only felt like a plot device. There was no real emotion driving it. The entire time, the focus remained on Alec and Felicity despite Novak’s efforts to shift it to Felicity’s relationship with her sister. On each front of this attempted mystery premise, there are better books to be read.
If you’re looking for great books about roadtrips, I’d recommend Morgan Matson’s classic Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, Adi Alsaid’s Let’s Get Lost, Emery Lord’s Open Road Summer, and Ingrid Law’s Savvy (middle-grade).
Since it’s not a question of complexity or depth, what it comes down to is how much the author can make the reader care about the characters and the romance. For many, following the Heartbreakers journey will be enough. They’ll enjoy these characters and this world, from the moment Alec unveils his identity at the ball to when he and Felicity together. The cameos are great, the right jokes are all there, the ending is satisfying enough. That’s why I would still recommend this book, but personally, it wasn’t enough for me.
If you’re looking for something like this, I read a book called American Girl on Saturn a while back by self-pubbed author Nikki Godwin, and it’s one of the only indie books I actually loved. Would highly recommend instead, and I’ll probably end up rereading it and reviewing pretty soon. 2 stars.