Tomboy to the core, Toni Valentine understands guys. She'll take horror movies, monster hunts and burping contests over manicures. So Toni is horrified when she's sent to the Winston Academy for Girls, where she has to wear a skirt and learn to be a lady while the guys move on without her. Then Toni meets Emma Elizabeth, a girl at school with boy troubles, and she volunteers one of her friends as a pretend date. Word spreads of Toni’s connections with boys, and she discovers that her new wealthy female classmates will pay big money for fake dates. Looking for a way to connect her old best friends with her new life at school, Toni and Emma start up Toni Valentine’s Rent-A-Gent Service. But the business meets a scandal when Toni falls for one of her friends--the same guy who happens to be the most sought-after date. With everything she's built on the line, Toni has to decide if she wants to save the business and her old life, or let go of being one of the guys for a chance at love.
Thanks to Spencer Hill Contemporary via Netgalley for the free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Did I like this book?
Although I did enjoy my time with this one, I think with better writing and/or better editing and a lot more depth, it could have been soooooo much better. The characters were good, but it felt a lot of the time like the author was just skimming the surface. I wanted to feel like these characters were real people, I wanted to know more of Toni's history with the boys. Heck, I even wanted to know what Toni's mom and stepdad did for a living!
I found Toni easy to relate to - although I would never consider myself a tomboy, there was a time in my life when I was the same age as Toni and was "one of the guys" as well. It was so much fun to hang out with my high school guy pals - we were always going somewhere new or doing something cool. Mud bogging in someone's jacked up truck? Check! Rock climbing (without any harnesses or ropes because none of us knew what we were doing)? Check! Speed walk tag through the centre of town? Check! Man, even going to the video store to rent a movie with those guys was an adventure! But even though we were having the time of our lives, there was no way it could stay the same forever. I could absolutely understand why Toni wanted to hang onto her guys as tight and as long as possible, because I remember feeling exactly the same!
I really enjoyed watching Toni adjust to her new school and attempt to make new friends. I also enjoyed watching her struggle with the moral implications of starting her "business ". I thought the author did a good job of showing Toni's personal growth, as well as in exploring Toni's changing feelings for one of her best friends. The romance was well done, with more than a bit of angst thrown in, but I have to admit I was disappointed in the ending. Everything wrapped up way too quickly and tidily for my liking.
Will you like this book?
It's hard to say. I guess it depends on how picky you are about those little details. Toni is certainly an enjoyable character, and so are her boys, but like I said, they all need a bit more...meat, I guess. The story has potential, but that probably won't be enough to win over the masses.
Will I read more by this author?
I'd definitely be open to reading more by this author. With a debut like "One of the Guys", I think the future holds great things for Lisa Aldin!