How to Speak Boy
By: Tiana Smith
Expected Publication: January 7th 2020 by Swoon Reads
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)
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Goodreads description--Quinn and Grayson have been fierce speech and debate rivals for years. They can't stand one another, either in competition or in real life.
But when their AP Government teacher returns their school assignments to the wrong cubbies, they begin exchanging anonymous notes without knowing who the other is.
Despite their differences, the two come together through their letters and find themselves unknowingly falling for the competition. Before the state tournament, the two of them need to figure out what they want out of life, or risk their own future happiness. After all, what’s the point of speech and debate if you can't say what's in your heart?
I'm coming to find that this is one of my favorite types of books. Clean love stories that aren't necessarily surprising but have characters that I can support and root for.
Quinn reminds me a lot of myself as a teenager. Man, I read into everything. I questioned myself a thousand times a day. I wasn't sure if someone was flirting because they liked me or just because flirting is what you do as a teenager. I questioned and could find a different explanation for any interest a boy seemed to show me. Quinn was well equipped for assigning motives to the interest shown in her too. Granted she had some reason to do so. Quinn was also a smidgen on the negative side. She's occasionally judgmental. But despite those things, I still really liked her because she reminded me so much of my high school self.
Grayson is presented through Quinn's filter. So I read his actions and reactions with a different interpretation than she was getting, but I could see where she was coming from. He's insanely competitive, but so is Quinn. He's got his flaws for sure, but I enjoyed his character a lot. He works hard going after what he wants.
I liked that we had a supportive best friend, Naomi, and mother, Lindsey. Carter is also Quinn's friend who Naomi thinks also has a crush on Quinn. And the Speech/Debate team gave the characters a reason to compete and interact with each other, but it wasn't as focal as I expected it to be. I mean I guess it would have been boring to have to read the character's speeches throughout the book. And I'm certainly thankful not to have had to read a bunch of mumbo-jumbo that I don't care anything about.
I did wonder how Quinn could possibly not recognize the handwriting of her secret pen pal. I mean it was explained away that she hadn't been paying attention, but I thought this was a little weak.
Overall, I really enjoyed How to Speak Boy. It wasn't entirely original with the secret pen pal part, but I did enjoy the Speech/Debate Team aspect. This wasn't used in a way that really took over the story which I appreciated, and I thought it was unique since I haven't read any other books that feature this. Quinn reminded me quite a lot of myself when I was in high school--even her flaws. How to Speak Boy gets 4 Stars. Have you read How to Speak Boy? What did you think? Let me know!