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Love and Other Theories by Alexis Bass | Magan Reviews

Love and Other Theories by Alexis Bass

Love & Other Theories by Alexis Bass [twitter | website]
Publication Date: December 30, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 384
Target Audience: Mature Young Adult
Keywords: girls’ rules for dating, girl code, sex and teenagers, senior year of H.S.
Format Read: ARC from Publisher (A BIG thank you!)

Summary: Aubrey and her girlfriends think they have dating, relationships, and guys all figured out. There are certain dos and don’t that you must follow or else everything falls apart. But what if you’re following those rules and your relationships still crumble? Aubrey’s beliefs are put to a test when Nathan unexpectedly bursts into her life.

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Rules: Aubrey and her three best friends live and breathe by them. They (think they) know precisely what makes guys want them because they don’t get super caught up in labels and being too needy like girlfriends do. They don’t fall in love and they let the guys think they’re always in control.

Aubrey’s been very dedicated to the rules; she has only a few more months to get through until she’s off to college. She’s focused and all things are going according to plan until Nathan transfers to her school from sunny San Diego. Aubrey is instantly attracted to him…so much so that they skip part of their first day of school together and spend it driving around and getting acquainted in the back seat of Nathan’s BMW. For both, this seems out-of-character; they both have goals and dreams and are headed to a top-notch college. As they continue to fool around, Nathan seems to want to classify their relationship, but Aubrey can’t refuse the rules so she pushes him away, thinking that’s what he really wants.

As a reader, I could tell that Nathan wasn’t one of those guys who just wanted to have sex and move on to the next girl. He was so genuine and good. (Mostly.) But I’ll be damned. Aubrey’s rules made it feel like I was watching two people struggle against a bungee chord — they kept pushing and fighting to be these people that they just weren’t. I was dreading the moment the chord snapped and sent them flying back to reality. (And oh, did it snap.)

The rules made life so overly complicated for Aubrey and her girlfriends. They felt appalling because the girls think they’re empowering women, but at the heart of it, each of them was repressing feelings and being used. They didn’t allow themselves to say how they really felt, didn’t give guys the opportunity to really get to know them, and didn’t take the chance that someone would want to listen to what they had to say. They neglected to realize that maybe, just maybe, there would be a guy out there who had the same interests as them and not all guys see every girl as a piece of ass.

Aubrey’s life was imbalanced as she fell for Nathan but tried to act like she didn’t care. Nathan misinterprets Aubrey’s aloof attitude, doesn’t push her to figure out what they both want, and makes some terrible decisions. She had big lessons to learn that belittling herself to attract a guy wouldn’t be the key to keeping him around, and it wouldn’t be beneficial for her well-being either. Did she really want to be with someone who never knew the real her?

I’m positive there are girls and women who need to read Love and Other Theories because they could benefit from Aubrey’s story. It was painful to see her struggle and the rules really infuriated me. But I also wondered: Where were her parents? Why weren’t they keeping closer tabs on her (sure, she’s a senior, but they were so incredibly distant)? Who was there to teach Aubrey that empowerment doesn’t equal martyring your wants and needs.

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January 23, 2015 - 4:50 pm

Alexa S. - Though I personally was too frustrated to finish this one, I do think Love and Other Theories is the type of read that will provoke a reaction and subsequent reflection. The concept itself is interesting and challenging, and I like that it had you posing questions in your review.

January 10, 2015 - 9:07 pm

Nicole @ The Quiet Concert - I don’t think this one is for me but I like how you mention that there are some women who could probably benefit from this story. But I think I’ll just be frustrated…

January 7, 2015 - 3:31 pm

Magan - Rebecca, I think it could be an eye-opener. Definitely. It’s always difficult to have characters who need to grow up a whole lot. And especially more difficult when they just don’t get as far as you’d like them to.

January 7, 2015 - 3:30 pm

Magan - Emma, with your focus on feminism, I would be SO curious to see what you have to say about this one. Read it, please?

January 6, 2015 - 3:32 pm

Emma @ Miss Print - Hmm. This sounds like an interesting read but also maybe a frustrating one. It also completely slipped under the radar for me so thanks for reviewing it and bringing it to my attention!

January 6, 2015 - 9:30 am

Rebecca @ Reading Wishes - This sounds like an interesting book (although kinda frustrating?) and it sounds like some girls might really benefit from it and open their eyes. I haven’t read many reviews for this, so thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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