Title: Smash It!
Author: Francina Simone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: September 22, 2020
Refreshingly authentic and bold… Don’t miss this smashing #ownvoices novel from Francina Simone! Filled with heart, humor and a heroine to root for, Smash It! is a perfect read for fans of Julie Murphy, Ibi Zoboi and Ashley Poston.
Olivia “Liv” James is done with letting her insecurities get the best of her. So she does what any self-respecting hot mess of a girl who wants to SMASH junior year does…
After Liv shows up to a Halloween party in khaki shorts–why, God, why?–she decides to set aside her wack AF ways. She makes a list–a F*ck-It list.
1. Be bold–do the thing that scares me.
2. Learn to take a compliment.
3. Stand out instead of back.
She kicks it off by trying out for the school musical, saying yes to a date and making new friends. Life is great when you stop punking yourself! However, with change comes a lot of missteps, and being bold means following her heart. So what happens when Liv’s heart is interested in three different guys–and two of them are her best friends? What is she supposed to do when she gets dumped by a guy she’s not even dating? How does one Smash It! after the humiliation of being friend-zoned?
In Liv’s own words, “F*ck it. What’s the worst that can happen?”
A lot, apparently.
Olivia James is ready to leave her insecurities behind. She’s inspired by Shonda Rhimes’s book “Year of Yes” to make a list of things she wants to do to smash her junior year of high school. She auditions for the school play, which is something she’s always wanted to do. She also falls into a “love square,” when she starts crushing on three different guys, two of whom are her best friends. Olivia tries to make this the best year ever, but with so many mixed feelings, someone is bound to get hurt.
There were a lot of feelings in this book. Olivia and her friends had to figure out their own feelings while also discovering the complicated relationships of the adults around them. They experienced a lot of “firsts” that go with teenage love. The love triangle Olivia had with her two best friends was very uncomfortable. They all seemed to have feelings for each other but didn’t speak up until it was too late. These were awkward situations, but they also felt authentic.
I read some reviews for this book when I started reading it, and there were many negative comments about the racism in the story. One character is half Israeli and half Palestinian. This was a controversial choice, and I’m not sure why the character had this background because it didn’t really have anything to do with the plot. I found that the characters made a lot of racist comments about the Black characters. Even though the characters and author are Black, these comments were offensive. The characters briefly pointed out that these comments were offensive, but I think there could have been a firmer stand against these racist comments.
I wish some of these sensitive topics were treated more delicately in this story. However, this was an authentically emotional teenage story.
Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
Pride by Ibi Zoboi
About the author:
Francina Simone believes in one thing: authenticity. She writes YA stories full of humor and hard life lessons with sprinkles of truth that make us all feel understood. Her craft focuses on stories about girls throwing caution to the wind to discover exactly who they are and what it means to love. Francina is also known for her BookTube channel, where she discusses controversial topics in books.
Have you read Smash It? What did you think of it?