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ARC Review: Ditched: A Love Story

Ditched: A Love Story

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Purchase: Amazon | BookDepository
Release Date: January 10, 2012
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Chick Lit
Source: NetGalley
Rating: Sud-Kissed
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About the Book:
High school senior Justina Griffith was never the girl who dreamed of going to prom. Designer dresses and strappy heels? Not her thing. So she never expected her best friend, Ian Clark, to ask her.

Ian, who always passed her the baseball bat handle first.

Ian, who knew exactly when she needed red licorice.

Ian, who promised her the most amazing night at prom.

And then ditched her.

Now, as the sun rises over her small town, and with only the help of some opinionated ladies at the 7-Eleven, Justina must piece together — stain by stain on her thrift-store dress — exactly how she ended up dateless. A three-legged Chihuahua was involved. Along with a demolition derby-ready Cadillac. And there was that incident at the tattoo parlor. Plus the flying leap from Brian Sontag's moving car...

But to get the whole story, Justina will have to face the boy who ditched her. And discover if losing out at prom can ultimately lead to true love.
I don't know how I ended up on the side of Hollister Road, lying in this ditch...

Alternating between chats at 7-11 in the present and the horrific events of the night before, Ditched immediately sets out to intrigue us with the heroine's current predicament: stranded, without money, no phone, and, oh yeah, she's been ditched by her best friend on prom night. From the first few lines, I was hooked, because as soon as the story begins we find Justina in a ditch along the side of the road with few memories intact. Once she hikes up to the nearest 7-11, however, the events of what should have been the best night of her life - in which she was planning to lock lips with her best friend and crush - come flooding back to her, provoking our insatiable curiosity. What happened to this girl? Where did all those stains on her heinously iridescent prom dress come from? And why is she sporting a tattoo and a bruise shaped like a french fry? All of these questions are answered chapter by chapter, in the most witty, charming way.

A main character like Justina, sarcastic and uncomfortable in her own skin, really pulled this story together. She emanates this laugh-out-loud humor in her words and her recounting of events to clerk and customer at her refuge in 7-11. And as Justina tells her insane story, we get to see and know the other characters through her eyes. It was fun and sweet watching the unlikeliest of people come through for her, helping her along her quest to track down Ian, her AWOL prom date.

I loved her happy, simmering relationship with Ian. It was easy to spot the wondering, the yearning between the two, and their snippets together tugged gigantic smiles out of me. Although, at times, Ian's perfection could be disconcerting and borderline unbelievable, the fact is, my Inner Cynic's jeering thoughts were railroaded by the profound cuteness of this Blossoming Into Something More relationship. These two had a deep and complete understanding of one another, an irremovable trust, and a need to protect, console, and cheer each other. A delightful companionship that has always straddled the boundary between friends and Something More, I basked in the obvious clues of Ian's feelings, and watching Justina uncover the truth was so rewarding.

Ditched could have easily been a cheesy, fluffy story with no heart, and while it has subtle elements of the cutesy and mushy, it was never unbearable. Instead, Ditched proved to be the perfect sit-down read to have when the day is crappy and a serious mood lifter is in order. Looking to laugh away your troubles? Ditched is the perfect solution.

"But Ian proved he was boyfriend material?"
"Yeah. Except it took a long time for me to realize it. We were... friends. For a long time. Like, almost nine months. I mean, that's how long it takes to incubate a baby."
(21)

"Ian drove me to school every day. And he'd remind me which color uniform I needed for a track meet. I trusted him." I stare at the half-eaten gummy bear, getting lost in memories of him. "It's strange how you can be friends with someone for so long and then one day he brings you licorice and Motrin because you're whacked out from heinous painful cramps straight from the Devil, but you notice he's wearing a new shirt that's a certain shade of green... and whammo! Your insides turn to pudding and all you can do is think about making out with him. He's the same guy, doesn't change a bit from one day to the next" - I start to think about his eyes, his mouth - "but because a color brings out his eyes, you suddenly realize..."
Gilda finishes my sentence. "Boyfriend material."
(22)

"So you don't like flat things?" I'd wiggle my chest, strangely unafraid around him to be proud of my less-than-impressive humps.
"Are we comparing chips to the female form?"
"I don't know." I'd squint my eyes. "Are we?"
"Yes, Justina. That makes perfect sense. I only eat Ruffles because they make me think of girls' breast, and I'm the type of guy to base my food preferences on girly parts. I prefer grapefruit to apples, you know."
"And the truth comes out."
We always teetered on the edge of flirtation - delicately dipping our toes in, but never fully plunging. That was the best part of our friendship, the unsaid part - the playful looks, the teetering, the toe-dips. (34)


He didn't talk to me for two entire days. We only went back to being best friends after I repeated an apology he had written down on a napkin from the nacho bar at 7-Eleven.

I, Justina Griffith, apologize for my rudeness in not accepting a gift from my awesome and oh-so-handsome friend Ian. Who might also possibly be magic. And therefore, hither and dither, former and latter, perfunctory and whatnot... I'll never do it again.

Ian is planning on becoming a lawyer one day. He likes to inject fancy nonsense words into his writing in preparation for his future career. (102)

10 comments:

Small Review said...

We really are thinking alike lately :P

elena said...

Aw yay! I was sort of interested in Ditched but was worried it would be all fluff, no substance. So it's really nice to hear that it isn't! I'm excited to read this book now, great review!

Jenny said...

Ahhhhh LOVE the sound of this one! I love how you said it easily could have been cheesy and overly fluffy but that it managed to just be cute and fun instead:) Love those books I can pick up when I'm in a bad mood and be instantly cheered up! Thanks for the review Asher:)

Liz. R said...

This one sounds like so much fun! I love books that concentrate on the relationships between friends-but-almost-something-more, and this one sounds like my cup of tea :). Glad you enjoyed it, thanks for the great review! I'm definitely looking for a book to me make me laugh :).

Mimi Valentine said...

Oh my goodness, I am absolutely and totally and COMPLETELY in love with the sound of this book!! I have the biggest weakness for romances between best friends, and this one sounds like such a sweet and adorable read! And I'm extra happy that it was more than the fluffy story it could have been!

AMAZING review, Asher! So pumped to read this book now! :) <3

Brodie said...

Awww the romance sounds so adorably sweet! And you have me so eager to follow Justina as she recounts the crazy story of the night before.. I can't wait to see exactly what she got up to. You have definitely sold me on this, it sounds like such a fun story. Thanks for the (as always) amazing review that has me wanting to rush out the house to buy a copy asap! :)

Leanna (Daisy Chain Book Reviews) said...

I haven't heard much about this one, but it sounds like a fun read, for sure! :)

Melanie said...

I really don't like the cover of this book, so I never took the time to look into it. You make it sound so cute. I love the old falling for the best friend routine. Never seems to get old.

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