The boy you like is a very sharp dresser.
He always looks so fine. He's tall and he smells good, he's got a smile that makes his eyes crinkle, and hair you want to touch.
The boy you like is so sweet.
Unfortunately, the boy you like isn't yours.
But that doesn't stop some people. In the new book "Pinned" by Sharon G. Flake, girl plus boy is a match, in more ways than one.
Not one of 14-year-old Autumn's friends liked Adonis.
Peaches, her bestie, thought he was stuck-up. She said Autumn could do better, and that Autumn barely knew Adonis. Peaches wanted Autumn to focus on school and their together-dream of opening a restaurant-bakery. She didn't want Autumn to think of Adonis at all.
And maybe Peaches was right about that, but Autumn had her eye on the boy. He might be in a wheelchair, but he was nice, and he was smart. Adonis was the wrestling team manager and Autumn was the only girl on the team, so they were together just about every day during practice. She made sure they were together at other times, too.
She might not know Adonis very well but that could change.
Adonis thought that girl was a pain.
If Autumn wasn't one of the team's best wrestlers, he'd talk to coach about her. Adonis himself had told her to leave him alone several times, but she just didn't get it. As a freshman in high school, he had his future all mapped out and it did not include some grammar-challenged, rap-singing, fast-talking girl from the bad side of town. She was always talking, blah-blah-blah. Couldn't shut up, always asking him questions.
Mama thought Autumn was sweet. She said to give Autumn a chance, but Adonis just wished that wrestling season was over. He'd be glad. Maybe that girl would finally, completely be out of his hair.
But when Autumn's grades kept her out of championship competition, Adonis regretted his wish. She started to hang out with him more, and she was always crying. He hated that because it made him feel helpless. It made him want to comfort her.
It made him want to kiss her
Here's a secret: I hate gushy novels. So imagine how happy I was to see that "Pinned" is a totally different kind of boy-meets-girl story.
First of all, this book definitely lacks attitude and teen-queen drama. It's not populated with over-the-top rich divas; no, Flake's characters are just average kids. Autumn is a little street-smart. Adonis is a big jerk. She's eager to change - first for a boy and then for herself. He starts to accept his softer side as he learns that vulnerability won't derail his dreams. That makes this a wonderful first-love story that's sweet and clean without hearts-and-flowers gushiness.
While this book is meant for 12 -to 16-year-olds, anyone who loves a good story will find it to be quick and endearing. In lacking a bunch of eye-roll-inducing fluff, "Pinned" is really quite sharp.
View publishes erri Schlichenmeyer's childrens book reviews weekly.