ARC Mini Review – Blaine for the Win

Hello, everyone! Today I’m reviewing Blaine for the Win by Robbie Couch. I’ve seen wonderful things about Couch’s first book, The Sky Blues, all over Twitter. I actually have it on my shelf but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. So, I was excited to be approved for the ARC of this book and push it to the top of my TBR.

After being dumped so his boyfriend can pursue more “serious” guys, a teen boy decides to prove he can be serious, too, by running for senior class president in this joyful romp from the author of The Sky Blues.

High school junior Blaine Bowers has it all—the perfect boyfriend, a pretty sweet gig as a muralist for local Windy City businesses, a loving family, and awesome, talented friends. And he is absolutely, 100% positive that aforementioned perfect boyfriend—​senior student council president and Mr. Popular of Wicker West High School, Joey—is going to invite Blaine to spend spring break with his family in beautiful, sunny Cabo San Lucas.

Except Joey breaks up with him instead. In public. On their one-year anniversary.

Because, according to Joey, Blaine is too goofy, too flighty, too…unserious. And if Joey wants to go far in life, he needs to start dating more serious guys. Guys like Zach Chesterton.

Determined to prove that Blaine can be what Joey wants, Blaine decides to enter the running to become his successor (and beat out Joey’s new boyfriend, Zach) as senior student council president.

But is he willing to sacrifice everything he loves about himself to do it?

***Thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for a copy of the book. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***

This book was an absolute delight to read. It had tons of humor, and the characters, dialogue, and writing were all engaging and kept me wanting to turn to the next page. I read over half the book in one sitting, which is something I don’t often do. Blaine just had such a fun personality that I didn’t want to stop reading about him and his friends. The author did a great job of bringing the high school and student government experiences to life. It caused flashbacks to my own experiences running for class president, which were just as anxiety-ridden as Blaine’s. lol. Speaking of anxiety, this book had such great mental health rep. Each character seemed to experience a different type of mental health issue, and it was great to see them all thriving (in their own ways) and learning to work together despite their issues and differences. The author was also good at weaving in these pretty serious mental health discussions without the book feeling too heavy or losing steam, which is a real testament to Couch’s skill. The romance was delightfully slow-burn, and I honestly wanted more of it. The love interest was such an interesting character, and I would have loved to see more of his struggle with coming to terms with his feelings for Blaine. That is true of most of the secondary characters, though. I loved them all and wish the story could have focused a little more on them too, but I also understand that this was Blaine’s story. That being said, I really loved Blaine’s story and the focus on finding and developing your passion and place in life, even if it isn’t what others might consider ‘serious’ or best. Blaine’s willingness to take risks on new things and abandon them when he realized they aren’t for him set a great example for how teens (and us older folks because growth is a lifelong thing) can successfully navigate the process of figuring out what best fits their personalities and goals. Overall, the only negative from this book was that it left me wanting more. So, I rate it 5 out of 5 stars!

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