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The Best Laid Plans by Cameron Lund Review

The Best Laid Plans by Cameron Lund

Published by: Razorbill on April 7, 2020

Genres: Young Adult Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 368

My Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

🚨 MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD 🚨

SYNOPSIS

It seemed like a good plan at first.

When the only other virgin in her group of friends loses it at Keely’s own eighteenth birthday party, she’s inspired to take things into her own hands. She wants to have that experience too (well, not exactly like that–but with someone she trusts and actually likes), so she’s going to need to find the guy, and fast. Problem is, she’s known all the boys in her small high school forever, and it’s kinda hard to be into a guy when you watched him eat crayons in kindergarten. 

So she can’t believe her luck when she meets a ridiculously hot new guy named Dean. Not only does he look like he’s fallen out of a classic movie poster, but he drives a motorcycle, flirts with ease, and might actually be into her.

But Dean’s already in college, and Keely is convinced he’ll drop her if he finds out how inexperienced she is. That’s when she talks herself into a new plan: her lifelong best friend, Andrew, would never hurt or betray her, and he’s clearly been with enough girls that he can show her the ropes before she goes all the way with Dean. Of course, the plan only works if Andrew and Keely stay friends–just friends–so things are about to get complicated.

MY THOUGHTS

❝Isn’t that what love is? Another person attaching themselves to your brain, eating away at your heart, your soul, consuming you entirely? Love is just a parasite.❞

I loved this book β€” there’s something about contemporaries that makes it rare for me to rate them more than three stars, but Lund’s debut is the perfect mix of pop culture references, teenage angst and the reality of high school. This book openly addresses slut shaming, toxic female friendships and virginity. It’s undoubtedly an important book β€” not one that covers everything perfectly, but one that will be crucial in breaking down the stigma in regards to sex in YA. The truth is a lot of teenagers in high school will be having sex, will be thinking about sex and wondering about silly questions similar to the characters in the books, such as “How did you know what to do?I think it captures a lot teenage concerns well and offers an authentic teenage voice.

❝You’re a slut if you do, a tease if you almost do, a prude if you don’t, and a bitch if you stand up for yourself.❞

I can’t praise the friendships in this book enough because I saw so much of my own high school friendship groups in them. They have moments where they cross lines they shouldn’t, relationships get complicated and times when they’re having the best time ever β€” they’re not one thing and felt as developed, if not more, than the romance. Girls can be brutal and this book showed that really well without having any characters falling into a mean girl caricature. I appreciated Keely and Danielle talking things over at graduation and the acknowledgment that sometimes high school friends are friends because you sit with them every day and that isn’t a bad thing. Whilst I quickly guessed who was behind the notes, reminding everyone that girls can be as bad as boys when it comes to slut shaming was an interesting point.

❝You don’t get power by knocking other girls down.❞

CHARACTERS

❝I’m a virgin too, but this isn’t surprising enough to be news.❞

Our main character in The Best Laid Plans is Keely Collins and I think she’s really relatable for a lot of teens. I’ve had some of same worries as her and there is a lot of pressure surrounding sex in high school β€” even out of high school. At times, I thought she was being reckless and annoying, like when she lied to Dean, but overall, she was a strong enough lead. A little awkward, a little clueless and the embodiment of how strange it is to be eighteen when you feel like everyone around you is somehow ahead in life. There’s a part of me thinks she is written to be one of those girls who’s both ‘one of the guys’ and a really pretty girl who doesn’t realise it, which is kind of frustrating and left me feeling out of touch with her on her occasion.

❝The Wingman and the Cockblock. We’re like a depressing superhero duo of doom.❞

Our other main character is Andrew Reed, the best friend and a boy with a reputation. He is charming and charismatic, so it was easy to fall in love with him as a reader. He seemed to be a mix of a lot of stereotypes you find in books β€” the boy next door, the golden boy, the popular boy and I think there was an identity crisis and the author tried to make Andrew too much of what a girl loves in some respects. Due to this, I didn’t connect with him as much as I’d have liked β€” even if I understood the appeal. I didn’t like some of the questionable things he did to make Keely jealous and their lack of communication makes me want to pull my hair out. On the other hand, I appreciate that what we see with him is a front at times and there’s a hidden depth to him, even if some of the relationship developments between the pair came out of the blue.

MY FAVOURITE MOMENT

I adored when Keely finally realised she was in love with Andrew and left Dean, ensuring to find him in the most dramatic way possible. It felt very cinematic and I could easily have imagined a film score playing over that scene. It’s definitely a moment where I questioned how realistic it was, but the fact she set off the fire alarm to find him was both amusing and romantic. I think it really highlighted the intensity of teenage relationships β€” they can feel like life or death.

MY LEAST FAVOURITE MOMENT

Ironically, my least favourite moment comes directly after my favourite. I didn’t like that Keely and Andrew had sex so soon after their big declaration of love. I understand the notion of your first time not needing to be anything special or elaborate, it was just really bad timing and felt forced. A part of me wishes we got to read more about what Keely and Andrew were like in a relationship, the ending came so abruptly and I was left wanting more.

FINAL VERDICT

I would definitely recommend this book. I devoured it and couldn’t put it down. Even if a lot of it felt exaggerated, there’s an addictive quality to the writing and it’s so vivid that I could imagine the narrative in my head like a coming of age movie. The most important thing when reading is that everything is taken at face value because these character are seventeen or eighteen β€” they’re immature and make mistakes and don’t always have the right opinions on things, but that’s the reality of being a teenager. I have seen far too many adults being critical of the book when, as a teenager, I found it to be the embodiment of the awkward, insecure and utterly foolish things I feel every day and everyone expects you to know already.

read it and weep,

One reply on “The Best Laid Plans by Cameron Lund Review”

[…] WHY I RELATE IT TO THAT SONG: Keely feels like she’s falling behind or failing somehow because she’s not caught up with the rest of her friends in some aspects and this is me trying personifies the fears and uncertainties of not only being in a relationship, but being a teenager and not being good enough or experienced enough. It feels like it could be the soundtrack to a coming of age movie and, funnily enough, I made a similar coming of age movie comparison in my The Best Laid Plans review. […]

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