The summer before college, Hannah swears she’s finally going to find The One. And for five perfect minutes, Hannah does find him. He’s cute and makes her laugh like crazy. She just wishes she’d caught his name, because Toilet Boy Cinderella really lacks sex appeal.
For Sam, the summer is off to a bad start for a million reasons. But for five minutes his luck changes: in a fancy restroom painted purple like it belongs in a Bond villain hideaway, Sam falls head over heels for some strange and hilarious girl. Of course, he doesn’t know her name. With his luck, he’ll never see her again, and he’ll remain a girlfriendless, moony-eyed virgin. Forever.
But another chance meeting brings them together, only to have a chance misunderstanding drive them apart . . . and then the cycle starts all over again. Madcap mishaps, raunchy hilarity, and deep romance follow these two wherever they go. For two people so clearly destined for each other, they sure have a hell of a lot of trouble even getting together.
True Fact: I am a giant Anglophile. My best friend is British, my cousin and her husband live there, and my college roommate and friend is British as well. I grew up in a household that lauded The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Monty Python, and Doctor Who. My point is that any novel that is set in Britain, imported to the American market from Britain, or has a character vacationing or visiting from Britain is going to capture my attention immediately.
So suffice it to say that when I realized that this was a quintessential British teen novel I was pretty excited.
Side note: Apparently the original title was “Lobsters,” a reference to Ross and Rachel on F.R.I.E.N.D.S. I kind of wish this title had stuck! Although, it is possible that maybe publicists didn’t think some of the newer teen generation might not understand the reference, but I have faith they would have.
While I do find the whole archaic idea of “needing to find the one,” or “losing your virginity,” before you graduate from high school/secondary school a bit ridiculous. However, in this case, I feel that the narrative is somewhat aware of this farcical ideal and takes it to a hilarious level.
After being close friends with one and best friends with another British woman, I know how different the culture of sex and alcohol is in Britain compared to here in America, specifically in the South, where I grew up. Sex is much more accepted in teenagers in Britain and it is much less of a taboo subject, so I find the frankness about virginity, hormonal and horny teens to be a breath of fresh air and something that should be more widely accepted in the young adult genre. Sure, it can be a little polarizing for some readers who are not used to that type of open discussion, but I think it is well done and done in a hilarious way. But, for parents who are worried about that, then maybe this book should be better suited for your older teens.
The drinking age in England is 18, but it is widely accepted that adults can buy their 16 and 17 year olds a drink. It isn’t a big deal there like it is in America. So I found this a completely normal aspect of the British teen novel.
My only real issue with this novel is all of the point of view shifts, because sometimes it really just didn’t create distinguishable voices at points. But overall the book is funny, endearing, blunt, risky, and just plain entertaining.
One of my favorite parts is probably little noticed by other readers: “I only became aware of how ridiculous I looked when I turned onto the main street. No one else was walking by themselves, let alone in their pajamas.” –pg 149. I literally laughed out loud at this part, because the last time I was in England it was winter and my best friend absolutely refused to let me go outside and down the block in my pajamas to just get a bottle of water. It is just NOT DONE, she told me, and INAPPROPRIATE. So this just reminded me of the ridiculous fight we had about whether or not I could go out in my sweats. See? You’ll learn all kinds of things about British culture.