Title: The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Dial Books
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance
Length: 430 pages
Book Rating: A
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Penguin’s First to Read Program
A surprising, utterly romantic companion to My Life Next Door—great for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han
Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To find the liquor cabinet blindfolded, need a liver transplant, and drive his car into a house
Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To . . . well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters.
For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard.
Then the unexpected consequences of Tim’s wild days come back to shock him. He finds himself in a situation that isn’t all it appears to be, that he never could have predicted . . . but maybe should have.
And Alice is caught in the middle.
Told in Tim’s and Alice’s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this novel is for readers of The Spectacular Now, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and Paper Towns.
In Huntley Fitzpatrick’s latest release, seventeen year old Tim Mason is The Boy Most Likely To utterly and completely steal readers’ hearts. In this long-awaited companion to My Life Next Door, the wryly humorous Tim is clean and sober and trying to get his life back on track when someone from his past drops a bombshell in his lap. For the first time in his life, he is trying to do the right thing, but in doing so, will Tim jeopardize his future plans and his tenuous relationship with Alice Garrett?
Tim is used to being the family screw up so it is no surprise when his cold and distant father issues an ultimatum just as he moving out. Either he clean up his act for good by his eighteenth birthday or his father will yank all financial support including his college fund. When Tim’s original living arrangements fall through, his best friend Jase offers to let him move in the apartment over the Garrett garage. Tim is finally making progress with his sobriety and pursuing his GED when shocking news completely and totally upends his life.
Tim is easygoing and laidback and one of his defense mechanism is hiding his insecurities behind self-deprecating humor. The people in his life expect the worst of him and unfortunately, he has made so many mistakes, he is convinced he can nothing right. Tim is used to taking care of himself and he is quickly overwhelmed when his wild days come back to haunt him. While it takes a good part of the novel, he finally begins to realize he deserves to be judged on who he is now, not his previous behavior. He also begins to understand that he cannot do everything on his own and he accepts help when it is offered to him. However, the biggest change for Tim is accepting responsibility for his actions instead of using drugs or alcohol to escape from his problems.
Alice is beyond furious when she discovers Tim is moving into her apartment but when she learns the reason why, she is instantly sympathetic to his plight. However, she is not planning on taking care of his messes since she is already taking care of her siblings while her dad continues recovering from the injuries sustained in a hit and run accident a month earlier. Unbeknownst to the rest of the family, she has willingly put her college plans on hold until he is back on his feet. However she is barely keeping up with family’s hectic schedule and college when Alice is overwhelmed by stunning news about the family’s increasingly precarious finances.
Alice initially has a difficult time viewing Tim as anything but her younger brother’s messed up friend, but a surprising friendship begins to form between them. Tim is quite flirtatious and in the beginning, their interactions are an amusing series of come-ons from Tim which Alice mercilessly rejects. The transition from friends to something deeper is slow and they suffer a few misunderstandings and miscommunications along the way. Alice is quick to misjudge Tim and he just as easily jumps to conclusions about her reactions to the unexpected complications in his life but they resolve their conflicts fairly swiftly.
Although written from both Alice and Tim’s points of view, The Boy Most Likely To is primarily Tim’s story and the growth of his character is absolutely phenomenal. He has to go through some very difficult situations and it is immensely gratifying watching him discover the inner strength to do what is right despite the hardship he is facing. There is a great deal of depth to Alice’s character and it is quite rewarding seeing her loosen up and expose the vulnerabilities she hides behind her tough, control freak exterior. The romance between Tim and Alice is very sweet and despite their previous experiences, it is really the first meaningful relationship for both of them.
The Boy Most Likely To is a truly captivating novel that is heartfelt and engaging. The characters are beautifully developed and though flawed, they are sympathetic and easy to relate to. The story is exceptionally well-written with a realistic plot and Huntley Fitzpatrick deftly balances real life problems with humor and compassion. All in all, a heartwarming and poignant young adult novel that I highly recommend to readers of all ages.