Review: Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein

Review: Shuffle, Repeat by Jen KleinShuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein
Published by Random House BFYR on May 3, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Gifted
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four-half-stars

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.

Sometimes I think back on that period of my teens where I was jaded about romance novels and contemporaries and fluff and I wonder what the fuck was wrong with me. Like, why would I ever want to deprive myself of sheer joy? And who was I kidding when I pretended that ships were not the best thing ever? They are. Shuffle, Repeat is nigh perfect fluff. I devoured it in one day, finishing with a massive grin on my face (my boyfriend was watching basketball while I read and he looked at me funny for the goofy look—I regret nothing).

The banter in Shuffle, Repeat is so very on point, with the ship obviously but the supporting characters join in too, and it’s faaaaabulous. If that is your thing, you need this book. It’s funny and light and shippy and generally just very happy-making.

June is a judgmental bitch at the start of Shuffle, Repeat, which I mean lovingly of course. She and her boyfriend Itch (god, I hate that name—his real name is Adam but everyone calls him Itch and just why) could probably be popular if they weren’t such curmudgeons. They go around talking about how lame high school is and how nothing matters, and that kind of shit doesn’t really make you popular. They have a great group of friends, though, and they’re all set for their grumpy senior year of high school.

Over the summer, June and her mom moved to a new home sort of out in the boonies. Since June doesn’t drive and doesn’t have a car even if she did, her mom gets her friend to get her son, Oliver, to drive June to school. Oliver’s one of the shiny popular people; he plays football and he’s basically the human equivalent of a golden retriever, because he wants to be friends with everyone and play all the time. Basically, he’s everything June despises.

Oliver, friendly soul that he is, takes June’s antagonism on the morning car rides as a challenge. Despite quickly impressing June with his intelligence and vast vocabulary, something he doesn’t show off with his dickish stereotype friend Theo around, June isn’t so easily won over. He challenges her to a game: building a playlist of songs, one song for each point won in the battle of whether or not high school matters. In the process of this silly but adorable wager, they torture each other with music, become friends, and ultimately become more than that.

June and Oliver are really compatible intellectually and, that alone, really shocks June out of her comfort zone. In becoming friends with him, she gets invited to know some other people she’d dismissed better too. She has an excellent character arc of learning to look past first impressions and stereotypes. I really like that she has some deeper moments with Ainsley, Oliver’s girlfriend, and Theo too. I love that everyone isn’t best mates at the end; Theo doesn’t actually change, for example, but, if you can catch him one on one, there’s something more there. It’s realistic and it’s also quality character development.

I shipped Oliver and June so massively from pretty early on. They’re both in relationships with other people at the start, but it’s not a cheating book, in case that’s something that might put you off. Though I do wish that Oliver, for his part, had ended things a bit earlier. Honestly, I really don’t know why he didn’t. Still, it’s high school and they’re young, so it didn’t really throw me off. Plus, I shipped them so much because Itch was the wooooorst, at least with June (again, character arcs).

Really everything about their bantery relationship worked for me perfectly, except for the inevitable blow up just as things were getting really good. The thing that really gets me is that I don’t know why June threw on the brakes like she did, other than to put another thirty pages in the book. It didn’t really feel believable to me. But whatever they are perfect and so good for each other.

Not to belabor the fact (okay maybe a little), but the characterization in this book is totally aces (as is June’s voice). What sets a good fluff novel, in my opinion, apart from a truly excellent one is how well the secondary characters are developed. There’s a surprisingly large cast of friends and family in Shuffle, Repeat, and they’re all great and get their own little arcs. Klein doesn’t drop Shaun’s story or Lily’s or Darbs’.

June and her mother have a really great relationship. Her mom is trusting and permissive, but she does have rules and loves her daughter a lot. They’re not the Gilmore Girls, but they’re pretty close. And I love how supportive June is of her mom’s boyfriend, Cash. It’s a really healthy single mother family relationship, and it’s so well done.

One pet peeve: the text speak in Shuffle, Repeat annoyed me intensely. Thankfully there wasn’t much of it, but it’s all like this: “luv u”. That one was sent by June’s mom. Even the adults text like this. I really think most of this texting died with smartphones because it would actually be more work to spell it incorrectly. I don’t mind a bit of the “textspeak” but there was too much.

Shuffle, Repeat was shippy, fluffy contemporary fun. Get it and read it, fellow lovers of fluff!

Favorite Quote:

“Ooh, what’s Shaun’s bowling name?”

“King of the Pins,” I tell him.

“The Strikemaster,” Oliver says.

“Holy Roller,” I shoot back.

“Ball Buster.”

“Gutter Guru.”

“Spare me,” Darbs groans.

“Good one!” Oliver tells her, and she rolls her eyes.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 gif you guys are really cute together parks

One response to “Review: Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein”

  1. Joanne Levy says:

    I’m a huge lover of fluff and romance, especially together. I totally need this in my life right now. 🙂
    Joanne Levy recently posted…How to Show Love to an AuthorMy Profile

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