CRASH TEST LOVE by Ted Michael is the story of a boy and a girl and how they become the crash test dummies of high school love. Henry Arlington is a player - he and his best friends crash local Sweet Sixteen parties just to hook up with girls - helping Henry forget his troubles at home with a father who won't talk about his missing mother. Garrett has just moved from Chicago to New York leaving a boyfriend and best friend behind. They meet at a party, talk briefly, and then on the first day of school, they run into each other and aren't sure what to think. Garrett has no friends, has a boyfriend and best friend back in Chicago who aren't talking to her, and doesn't want to be in New York - so she's giving up on boys and focusing on herself. Henry isn't enjoying the party crashing so much anymore and can't stop thinking about Garrett. One day at lunch she is invited to sit with the "J Squad", the most popular girls at school, and is invited to join them on a probationary basis - as long as she can get Henry to take her as his date to the biggest Sweet Sixteen of the year - the one being filmed by MTV. The J Squad has a hidden motive, but Garrett doesn't worry too much about it until she starts to fall for Henry, and Henry has never stayed with a girl longer than one date.
I liked this book, even if it was somewhat predictable at times. It's like a classic teen movie plot, but with characters that I liked and cared about once I got to know them. There was some good character development in how Henry and Garrett grew up through the course of this novel because I certainly didn't like them in the beginning. I thought they were both doing things that didn't make sense, but as I learned more about each of them, I ended up liking both - I didn't agree with all of their choices, but I was rooting for them. It's an interesting and entertaining coming-of-age story for two characters who aren't quite sure how to handle what happens to them, but since we get to hear the story from both characters' alternating points-of-view, it helps the reader care about them. It's a little more mature, but not too graphic in details. I also really liked that this story didn't have the typical happy ending of a romance story, but left me with hope for these characters who would figure it out and have a decent chance for successful relationships in the future.
3.5 STARS for CRASH TEST LOVE
This book was provided by Book Divas (http://www.bookdivas.com).