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Book review | “Most Likely to Succeed” by Jennifer Echols

Most-Likely-to-Succeed-by-Jennifer-EcholsTitle: “Most Likely to Succeed”
Author: Jennifer Echols
Series: Superlatives #3
Publisher: Simon Pulse, Simon and Schuster
Release Date: Aug 4, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: eARC via Edelweiss
Length: 352 pages
Rating: 

Goodreads

In this sexy conclusion to The Superlatives trilogy from Endless Summer author Jennifer Echols, Sawyer and Kaye might just be perfect for each other—if only they could admit it.

As vice president of Student Council, Kaye knows the importance of keeping order. Not only in school, but in her personal life. Which is why she and her boyfriend, Aidan, already have their lives mapped out: attend Columbia University together, pursue banking careers, and eventually get married. Everything Kaye has accomplished in high school—student government, cheerleading, stellar grades—has been in preparation for that future.

To his entire class, Sawyer is an irreverent bad boy. His antics on the field as school mascot and his love of partying have earned him total slacker status. But while he and Kaye appear to be opposites on every level, fate—and their friends—keep conspiring to throw them together. Perhaps the seniors see the simmering attraction Kaye and Sawyer are unwilling to acknowledge to themselves…

As the year unfolds, Kaye begins to realize her ideal life is not what she thought. And Sawyer decides it’s finally time to let down the facade and show everyone who he really is. Is a relationship between them most likely to succeed—or will it be their favorite mistake?

FTC Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Jennifer Echols is hands down my favorite ya contemporary author. I’ve read all of her ya novels — all 12 of them! She has a very distinct writing voice that can only be defined as spunky and downright hilarious.

The last superlative

Do you see what I did there? You know, because “last” is a superlative. Ha ha. *awkward silence* Anyway…

The Superlatives series has been one crazy fun adventure after another set right in Tampa, Fla., the place I called home for a decade. It started with Tia and Will’s crazy, dysfunctional, are-we-friends-or-are-we-more relationship in “Biggest Flirts” (my favorite of the three novels); then it went to Harper and Brody’s match-made-in-high-school in “Perfect Couple.” Last but not least, the series ends with complete opposites, Kaye and Sawyer.

What I love about this series is that while the novels share similar premises, drama and romance brought out by the senior superlatives, none of the characters or couples are the same. But at the same time, all three plots fit together perfectly — or rather, picture perfectly, if I want to make that joke. I also love all of the cameos.

There’s definitely a sense of finality in this novel. We get to see Tia and Will completely comfortable with each other in their sweet, flirty relationship and Harper and Brody cautiously moving forward in theirs. Sawyer, whom we’ve seen flapping around in a seagull costume, making inappropriate but hilarious jokes and generally making an ass of himself (I say that endearingly), finally gets to be in the spotlight — not that he didn’t already have a habit of stealing the spotlight in the first two books.

Kaye Gordon: student council VP, head cheerleader, miss perfect — or so we thought

In my review of “Perfect Couple,” I listed all of the things that Harper and I have in common. There were a lot of things. But while Harper is my twin in personality and hobbies, Kaye and I have a lot of commonalities when it comes to family and fears.

Kaye’s mom is really hard on her. She grew up in an unfavorable (huge understatement) environment, and she never misses a chance to remind her kids of that fact and make sure that they stay on the right track. Her high expectations, paired up with Kaye’s fear of letting her parents down, takes a huge toll on Kaye. To Kaye, 92 percent on an assignment is a failure and a single forgotten assignment is unfathomable.

This really hit close to home with me. While my parents aren’t as verbally hostile as Kaye’s mom, they’ve always had extremely high expectations. When I’m being irresponsible, they always remind me that they lived through the Vietnam War and had to abandon their homes as children. I’m that one girl in class who hyperventilates when she forgets to turn in a homework assignment and cried when she got her first B. So, yeah, I definitely empathize with Kaye.

I really enjoyed seeing Kaye learn to be the person who she wants to be, not the person people expect her to be.

I was a little disappointed in the reconciliation scene between Kaye and her mom. It wasn’t the heart to heart moment that I wanted. I don’t want to make Kaye’s mom out to be a villain or a bitch, but never felt that Kaye’s mom’s apology made up for the fact that she treated Kaye unfairly and wrongly said incredibly cruel things to and about Sawyer. She accused him of being a bad influence on Kaye, said that he’d end up in jail just like his father and threatened to get him arrested/fired from a job that he needed badly because he’d basically been abandoned by his parents.

Sawyer De Luca: “hot beach bum,” “most likely to wind up in jail” — but is he really?

I’ve loved Sawyer since “Biggest Flirts” when he strutted across the field, full of feathery swagger. His antics, both as Sawyer and as the Pelican, are hilarious. I really enjoyed seeing another side of him.

His reputation precedes him at school. He’s been known to get drunk, get stoned and mess around with one girl after another. But he hasn’t had an easy life. He doesn’t get along with his parents, one of whom lives in Georgia, and everyone expects him to become a jailbird, just like his father. He puts on a facade even though he hates it that everyone judges him so quickly, including Kaye.

Sawyer is incredibly adorable. I want to give him a huge hug and buy him a cake — a vegan cake from the health food store. He’s a good friend to Tia, Harper, Will and the rest of the gang, having heart-felt conversations with Tia and Harper and nearly getting himself arrested to prevent the guys from getting in trouble. He always compliments Kaye and has her back no matter what, even when he’s mad at her.

Whoa, slow down

Kaye and Sawyer fit together wonderfully. Kaye needs someone to remind her that’s it’s more than okay to be herself, and Sawyer needs someone to look past his troublemaking exterior.

However, I felt that their relationship moved too quickly. That’s a really contradictory statement considering that Tia and Will made out half-naked in the first chapter of “Biggest Flirts,” but Will and Tia’s relationship, after that one incident, developed slowly because of the different mindsets that held them back. I’m a long-time fan of Jennifer Echols, and her books always come with chemistry and kissing and things that are more than kissing. Plus, the synopsis calls this book “the sexy conclusion to The Superlatives Trilogy.” I felt like Sawyer and Kaye got too serious for such a short time frame. The novel spans across a time frame of less than a few months, but by the end Kaye and Sawyer have sex and tell each other, “I love you.”


Bottom line

 

“Most Likely to Succeed” is a great way to end the Superlatives series. All of the loose ends are tied up, and all of the characters get a fitting ending. My favorite part of the series is the interaction between the characters and seeing things from the perspective of three completely different best friends.

Kaye is a character with whom I empathize a lot, and it was wonderful seeing her overcome the things with which I still struggle on a daily basis.

I’ve loved Sawyer from the start, and I’m so so happy to see him getting an ending he deserves. In this book, I saw a different side to him than I did in the other two, and now I love him even more!

Kaye and Sawyer make an awesome couple, and they share so many cute, sweet scenes, but I was slightly put off my the speed at which their relationship developed.

Dana signature

2 Comments

  • Claire @ Cover to Cover

    I haven’t started the Superlatives series yet, because to be honest, I was really unsure about the romance and the whole ‘yearbook-matchmaking-high-school’ concept. The main characters you mentioned, Sawyer and Kaye, sound multi-dimensional and like they grow a lot in this book, though, which is a definite plus. I love character development. I’m can be easily annoyed by certain characters at the beginning of a story, but with change I usually come to like them (unless I was just too annoyed by them in the beginning to change my mind, haha). Cameos are always fun, too, but I suppose I won’t understand them in this novel unless I start from the beginning. Lovely review!:)

    Claire @ Cover to Cover
    Claire @ Cover to Cover recently posted: Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) Book ReviewMy Profile

    • Dana

      Thanks Claire!
      The “yearbook-matchmaking” does sound a bit off when you think about it, but it’s a fun series. It’s definitely a chick-lit book.
      I recommend reading the books in order so you’re not missing any context. The first book was my favorite.

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