Monday, February 4, 2019

Review: "Pretty in Punxsutawney" by Laurie Boyle Crompton

Time loops are totally my thing. Groundhog Day is probably the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a time loop, but I've enjoyed other movies as well: Edge of Tomorrow, About Time, and the ABC Family Christmas movie The 12 Dates of Christmas are some of my favorites. Over all, though, I prefer two TV episodes: Stargate: SG-1's "Window of Opportunity" and Lois & Clark's "Twas the Night Before Mxymas."

But with all those movies and shows, I don't think I've ever read a book that features a time loop. Until now.

A Groundhog Day meets Pretty in Pink mashup from author Laurie Boyle Crompton, Pretty in Punxsutawney tells the tale of a girl willing to look beneath the surface to see people for who they really are.

Andie is the type of girl who always comes up with the perfect thing to say…after it’s too late to say it. She’s addicted to romance movies—okay, all movies—but has yet to experience her first kiss. After a move to Punxsutawney, PA, for her senior year, she gets caught in an endless loop of her first day at her new school, reliving those 24 hours again and again.

Convinced the curse will be broken when she meets her true love, Andie embarks on a mission: infiltrating the various cliques to find the one boy who can break the spell. What she discovers along the way is that people who seem completely different can often share the very same hopes, dreams, and hang-ups. And that even a day that has been lived over and over can be filled with unexpected connections and plenty of happy endings.

Pretty in Punxsutawney is a fun YA novel. (I hesitate to call it a YA romance because, while Andie is pretty obsessed with finding true love, the novel is much more about friendship and breaking down barriers between cliques than it is about romantic love.) The time loop-Groundhog Day aspect of the book begins on Andie's first day of school at Punxsutawney High, when her day doesn't go as planned. Colton, the boy she flirted with all summer, loses interest quickly, she soon makes a few enemies, and she spends the evening at home on her couch watching a movie with her mom. And then ... she wakes up and has to do it all over again!

I really enjoyed this story. I especially liked watching Andie grow as she got to know different cliques at school, and I appreciated how she tried to bring people together. The author was definitely making a statement about not judging people based on appearance/social status, and I thought this worked well.

I will say that the time loop nature lasted a bit too long—though the reader doesn't have to go through each loop, I still would've been happier with fewer of them. And the ending was just a slight letdown to me—I don't want to get too specific, but Andie is left in probably not a great place socially, based on the events of the final (and therefore permanent) day of the loop. But the book ends before she actually goes back to school, so I felt like I was left hanging.

For me, a child of the 90's who slowly got her John Hughes education over the years, part of the fun of this book is all the movie references. I can't help but wonder if today's teens, the audience this book is written for, won't understand the references. Though the references are often explained (at least in part), people who have no knowledge of these movies certainly won't appreciate the references in the same way as someone who knows the films. So while this is a YA novel, I wonder if women in their 30's and 40's might actually enjoy this book more than a typical teenager would. 3-1/2 stars.

Content note: This is a fairly clean book. There is some teen drinking/partying, a small bit of sexual innuendo, and one use of "god" as an expletive. I'd say it's a hard PG/mild PG-13.

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Laurie Boyle Crompton is the author of several YA books, including Adrenaline Crush and Love and Vandalism. Laurie graduated first in her class from St. John’s University with a BA in English and Journalism. She has written for national magazines like Allure, survived a teaching stint at an all-boy high school, and appeared on Good Day New York several times as a toy expert. And yes,“toy expert” is an actual profession. She grew up in a small town in western PA and now lives near NYC with her family and one enormous and very fuzzy “dog toy expert” named Baxter Bear.

Connect with Laurie: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through TLC Book Tours. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


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