Review: Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: standalone
When Harry Met Sally for YA romance readers. This opposites-attract love story is perfect for fans of Huntley Fitzpatrick, Stephanie Perkins, and Jenny Han.

June wants high school to end and real life to begin. Oliver is soaking up senior year’s glory days. They could have coasted through high school, knowing about—but not really knowing—each other.

Except that their moms have arranged for Oliver to drive June to school. Every. Single. Day.

Suddenly these two opposites are fighting about music, life . . . pretty much everything. But love is unpredictable. When promises—and hearts—get broken, Oliver and June must figure out what really matters. And then fight for it.

Two high school kids (one a popular jock, the other a non-joiner) forced to interact everyday and eventually fall for each other? Shuffle, Repeat had my name all over it. I knew after reading the synopsis that Shuffle, Repeat was my kind of contemporary YA book and that I'll really enjoy it. Yep, I was absolutely right.

Shuffle, Repeat reads like if you combine novels written by Jennifer E. Smith and Huntley Fitzpatrick--a light contemporary with a significant romance plot that doesn't tackle any heavy topics but still has substance. My favorite kind of contemporary YA read.

The story is that June Rafferty and Oliver Flagg have known each other all throughout their lives. Not are their moms best friends, they've also gone to the same school since elementary. The summer before their senior year June and her mom moves to a new house that is closer to Oliver's house but a longer distance away from their high school. Oliver's mom basically "voluntold" him to pick up June (who doesn't drive) every morning and drive her to school with him. Oliver, being the nice guy that he is, doesn't really mind but June felt awkward with the arrangement. It doesn't help that they have different outlooks about the high school experience. Oliver thinks high school, especially their senior year, is one of the most significant part of their life. He was all about taking part of high school traditions and making memories. June was the opposite and thinks anything that happened in high school will not amount to much in the grand scheme of life, that real life begins after graduation. Oh, and besides that, they have different tastes in music. June loves screamo bands while Oliver loves 80s power ballads. So, they come up with a competition of sorts where every time one of them comes up with proof or example that supports their stance on high school memories, they get to pick and add a song to add to their morning car ride playlist.

That's essentially the premise of the story and I ate this book up! June and Oliver were great! I absolutely loved Oliver's character. He's basically this happy, friendly, athletically handsome, popular guy. He gets along with everyone and generally has a positive attitude. As for June, while she's not at the bottom of the popularity ladder, she has her core group of friends and rarely does she interact with others outside of her circle. She's kind of judge-y and she kind of has this attitude that she's above all the silly high school traditions that Oliver thrives in. But, I liked her anyway. She wasn't horrible but she does have these preconceived ideas about people at her school, especially the popular kids. 

Shuffle, Repeat took place during June and Oliver's entire senior year, from the first day of school to the summer after graduation. I really liked how June's character and her and Oliver's relationship kind of evolved in the year the story took place. I loved watching them become (reluctant on June's part) friends and then eventually becoming more. June and Oliver were both in a pre-page one relationship with other people and continue to be for a significant amount of time in the book, and I was wondered how that was going to be worked out without resorting to some kind of cheating drama (fyi, there was zero cheating in this book in terms of the two main characters) because we know that June and Oliver was endgame. I thought the author did a great job resolving June and Oliver's previous romantic relationships organically, without resorting to any big cliched drama. Then, we got the swoon-y prom romantic confrontation scene that I'm a sucker for in high school romcom movies.

I really, really enjoyed Shuffle, Repeat. It has everything I love in a contemporary YA read. I didn't have any issues with it--it was fun, no-stress read. I really enjoyed the writing, the characters (besides June and Oliver, this book has great secondary characters--I especially liked June's best friend Shaun), and the romance. There's also good representation here of LGBTQ characters and is sex positive. The only reason why I didn't give it the full five star rating was because it didn't leave with a holy-cow-this-is-amazing! feel after I finished it like Tell Me Three Things by Julie Bauxbaum did. But I did really, really like it. I'll definitely be on the look out for future books by Jen Klein, especially if they're in the same vein as Shuffle, Repeat. If you like light, romantic YA contemporary, I recommend you pick up Shuffle, Repeat. And, if you're like me and like to read fun contemporary YAs to get out of a reading slump, Shuffle, Repeat is a good one to add to your list.

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