Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Review: Solving For Ex by Leigh Ann Kopans {+Giveaway!}

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Solving For Ex
   by: Leigh Ann Kopans

Publication Date: Feb. 11, 2014
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ARC provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 300 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 5/5 stars

1 crush on your best friend +
1 gorgeous, scheming new girl +
1 Mathletics competition =
1 big mess


Ashley Price doesn’t have much in life after being bullied so hard she had to leave her old school to live with her aunt and uncle in Pittsburgh. But the camera she borrowed from her best friend and secret crush Brendan, and her off the charts math abilities, make things a lot more bearable. Plus, since Brendan is the captain, making the school Mathletes team should be easy.

But when gorgeous new girl Sofia rolls in and steals Brendan, Ashley's place on the team, and her fragile foothold on the Mansfield Park Prep social totem pole, it’s on. Sofia is everything Ashley left her old school to escape. The only thing Ashley didn’t count on is Sofia’s sexy twin brother Vincent.

Vincent is not only the hottest boy in school, he’s charming, sweet, and he’s got his eye on Ashley. He’s also not taking no for an answer. There's no real reason Ashley shouldn't like Vincent, but with the
battle lines being drawn between her and Sofia, Ashley’s not sure which side he’s on. Or which side she wants him to be on.

She does know Sofia is trouble with a capital T, and she’s determined to make Brendan see it.

SOLVING FOR EX is a YA contemporary romance that remixes Mansfield Park as Clueless meets Mean Girls in a crazy mix of high school society, mathletic competition, and teenage romance.

I am a huge fan of Leigh Ann Kopans' debut science-fiction/fantasy series One and Two. I love her writing style, as well as her characterization. So when I saw she had written a contemporary, I knew I had to read it! I am so thankful she sent me a copy to read and review, as I absolutely adored this book. Being a high school teacher, I can honestly say I feel Kopans captured teen voice perfectly. I really enjoyed her characters in this novel- they weren't perfect by any means and they made mistakes and could have avoided a lot of drama had they just been more secure and open about their feelings. But, here's the thing: it's pretty rare for teens (especially teen girls!) to just come right out and confess their feelings to another person. Plagued with insecurities and the fear of rejection, it's just not something they do. So, they skirt around and are left feeling bereft for not coming out and saying what they want and sometimes- it becomes too late.
I really like how much of this YA book is actually set in the high school setting. Too often I read YA contemporaries and I don't really see their day to day lives- going to school, sitting through classes, doing homework, dealing with parents. Seeing all of those elements really made this book that much more realistic to me. I felt this was a good representation of a teenager's life and that is one of the biggest things that drew me in to this story.
Our main character Ashley had to leave her old school due to bullying and vicious rumors that were spread about her. My heart ached for Ashley as she in no way had done anything wrong- on the contrary- she stood her ground and let her moral compass point her true and it was thrown back in her face all because she wouldn't compromise her integrity. As a teacher, I see the effects bullying has on students and while it may seem like running to some, I don't blame Ashley or her parents for sending her to live with her aunt and uncle to get a fresh start. It is through this move that she meets her best friend Brendan, who lives next door. Brendan is her one true friend, who knows everything about her, including the fact that she suffers from depression. He is a bit nerdy, but he is popular because of his overall friendliness and genuine attitude towards others. He also happens to be oblivious that Ashley is in love with him. She is too shy to tell him the truth, but she also fears his not feeling the same. Any person would be hesitant to tell their best friend they are in love with them. If the feelings are not reciprocated, you have to be worried about things being weird or strained, and Ashley needs Brendan entirely too much to have that happen, so naturally she withholds that information.
Things start to change once siblings Sofia and Vincent move to town. Both are gorgeous and have insta-popularity at school. Sofia latches on to Brendan almost immediately and he starts spending time with her, thus creating a rift between him and Ashley. Vincent swoops in and starts giving her the attention that Brendan has not. Although Vincent is kind and sweet to her, she's constantly aware that he can't fill Brendan's shoes. He makes her feel unsettled and I have to admit, I was wary of Vincent from the get-go. How interesting it is that two gorgeous new kids come to town and immediately insert themselves in both Ash and Brendan's lives, thus distancing them from one another? It really makes me question their intentions and motivation behind it!
I could not stand Sofia at all. Brendan is a guy, so naturally he is attracted to her. Finally someone is showing interest in him and he doesn't pull away from her. Sofia is the epitome of the fake, mean girl we all love to hate in novels and I was ready on more than one occasion for Ash to tell her how it is, but that's never been Ash's style. She watches as she steals Brendan away from her and doesn't do anything about it but silently hurt over the loss of her best friend.
While I adored Brendan, there were multiple times I was ready to knock him upside the head. There are some moments where it looks like he's going to put himself out there and maybe show that he does feel something for Ash in return, but he always seems to hold himself back. He is confused by Vincent and Ash spending time together in the beginning, and then later becomes jealous. I was a little irritated at the whole, 'oh you're spending time with him, well fine I'm going to spend time with her' that Ash and Brendan had going on. It did seem a bit childish, but I think both of them were confused about their own feelings to really get the bigger picture. There is one thing that upset me greatly about Brendan towards the end climax and I was quite unhappy that he didn't man up and do something he should have done once all had been revealed. I obviously don't want to spoil anything, but needless to say I felt it was a bit out of character for him to be so passive regarding this situation.
Vincent, Vincent, Vincent. Something never sat right with me about him. He plays the part of the hero a little too well and I couldn't help but wonder as to whether his intentions were honest or not. He has a few moments where I genuinely liked him, but you know me and my whole love for the best friends falling for each other trope. I will say my feelings for Vincent cemented themselves as he does show his true colors towards the end of the novel. Again- no spoilers, but boy was ASKING for a beat down.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story! I loved seeing how the Mathlete competition was so pivotal to the storyline as well as seeing the cute little Math equations throughout the book. I hate Math and I don't pretend to understand it at all, but it was super cute nonetheless. I also really liked seeing Ash come into her own and realize her mistakes concerning Brendan, but also her willingness to move forward and finally stand up for what was right, no matter the consequences.
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  1. This book sounds great, Jessica! I'd never heard of the author but I'm definitely going to check her out. :) I agree with you about YA books so often set outside school - so I'm glad this one revolves around high school and activities of high schoolers. Thanks for the excellent review!

    1. Oh I love Leigh Ann! She wrote a great YA supernatural dup called One and Two! I loved them! I hope you enjoy this one girl!

  2. Mansfield Park, Clueless and Mean Girls...are you kidding me?! How have I not heard of this book?! It sounds awesome & I totally agree there is something so sweet about best friends falling for each other. And I already hate Sophia - she is everything I hated about school. I am definitely going to read this one! Fabulous review girl :)

    1. Hahaha! Yes! Sophia made me angry, but I loved this book so much! I really needed a great YA read!

  3. This one sounds so fun! Definitely adding it to my TBR :)

    1. Oh I hope you like it when you get to it Nereyda!!!

  4. This sounds soooo cute and fun! Definitely have to watch out for this one! Great review, you've got me aching to read this now!

    1. Thanks chica! I can't believe I held on to my ARC and didn't read it for so long! I'm mad at myself for not jumping into the greatness sooner!

  5. This sounds great! I've had it on my TBR list for awhile, but this was the first review I've read. I love that it really shows the day-to-day life as a teen. I agree that most YA lit seems to skip over this aspect. Brendan sounds adorable, but while Sophia and Vincent both sound like trouble. I'm excited to read this. Great review!

    1. Thanks Natalie! I hope you like this when you get to it! Brendan is so adorable but he will exasperate you like crazy! LOL

  6. Been really curious about this one so I'm now even MORE interested in reading the book now I've seen this review. :)

    1. Aww, thanks Rissi! I hope you do get to read it!


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