Ellie Taylor loves nothing better than a good argument. After all, she's been arguing with her Zeydah (grandfather in Yiddish) since she could talk. So when she gets accepted to the Christian Society Speech and Performing Arts summer camp, she's sure that if she wins the final tournament, it'll be her ticket to a scholarship to the best speech school in the country. Unfortunately, the competition at CSSPA is hot--literally. His name is Devon and whether Ellie likes it or not, being near him makes her sizzle. Luckily she's headstrong and confident enough to take on the challenge--until she begins to suspect that the private scholarship's benefactor has negative feelings toward Jews. Will hiding her true identity and heritage be worth a shot at her dreams?
Character Development: 6/10
Overall Enjoyment: 5/10
Total Score: 41/70
Obtained: Free ARC provided by publisher.
Age Appropriate? PG
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: None really.
Sexual Content: None.
Disturbing Images/Violence: None.
I am unimpressed by this book. I mean, sure, identity and religious conflict, especially among young adults, is a topic generally unexplored by YA authors. But still. Once you get past the main conflict (I'm Jewish pretending to be Christian in love with this hot jerk who totally likes me!) it's pretty predictable. The stakes aren't very high, the characters are annoying, and the message is clear from basically the first page. Heck, even the synopsis makes it clear--be true to yourself and all that jazz.
Honestly, the story is kind of boring. Every conflict that arises is resolved with little to no build up. Important scenes are skipped over, while unimportant anecdotes are dragged out. The main character is annoying and self-centered, and the whole speech-debate-oratory element just added unnecessary cheese and fluff. Sometimes the speeches they gave were okay, but most of the time it seemed like they were either unbearably cheesy or you were just supposed to assume they were awesome because the author didn't want to actually write them.
Overall, an unremarkable book. Maybe better for a younger audience (middle school age, perhaps) or students that particularly struggle with religion and identity. But really, then it might just make you mad because of all the obviously stupid decisions Ellie makes. Even the romance made me kind of queasy, because Devon is just the perfect mix of "perfect" and total waste of time, yet Ellie falls so perfectly and completely in love with him and it's just ick!
I guess it's kind of a cute, original story, but OyMG just did not sit well with me.