Tomboy to the core, Toni Valentine understands guys. She’ll take horror movies, monster hunts and burping contests over manicures. So Toni is horrified when she’s sent to the Winston Academy for Girls, where she has to wear a skirt and learn to be a lady while the guys move on without her.
Then Toni meets Emma Elizabeth, a girl at school with boy troubles, and she volunteers one of her friends as a pretend date. Word spreads of Toni’s connections with boys, and she discovers that her new wealthy female classmates will pay big money for fake dates. Looking for a way to connect her old best friends with her new life at school, Toni and Emma start up Toni Valentine’s Rent-A-Gent Service.
But the business meets a scandal when Toni falls for one of her friends–the same guy who happens to be the most sought-after date. With everything she’s built on the line, Toni has to decide if she wants to save the business and her old life, or let go of being one of the guys for a chance at love.
My favorite kind of books are contemporary stories filled with regular every day people who are living their lives and going through things. I love seeing characters evolve over the course of a book and seeing them come out on top at the end. This was one of those kinds of books.
Toni Valentine is starting her senior year with a bunch of strangers, in a new school and not with her best friends back at her old school. She’s attending an all girls school for her last year of high school and it’s her own fault because she thought it would be great to moon the principal while he was out on a date so her step-dad thought it would be a good idea to send Tom Boy Toni to Winston Academy.
Winston Academy for Girls isn’t ideal for a girl who burps as loud and as often as teenage boys do and who would rather hunt for monsters on the lake with her three guy best friends but it’s Toni’s reality for the next school year. Being at a new school is hard enough without adding keeping your grades up and making new friends but Toni is having a hard time with not seeing her old friends all that much. They’re all going in different directions and Toni is having a hard time letting go.
When Toni meets Emma at school, they strike up a friendship that takes Toni by surprise because Emma is a girly girl and Toni…is not. When Emma needs a fake date to open her ex-boyfriend’s eyes, Toni talks her friend Loch into helping out. Their plan works so well that Toni Valentine’s Rent-a-Gent opens up for business. Her friends Ollie, Cowboy and Loch all need money for different reasons and Toni feels that her Rent-a-Gent service for the Winston girls will bridge the gap between her old world and her new world and everything will go back to being as normal as she can make it.
Toni has always been closest with Loch and when he becomes the most popular date, feelings start creeping up that takes Toni by surprise.
This was a fun book. It was cute and fun and I enjoyed getting to know both Toni and Loch. Their story revolved around the best friends to more plot and I thought Aldin did a great job of telling their story. Toni was a normal teenage tom boy who wasn’t all that fond of change and learning that life changes all the time. I enjoyed getting to know Toni and what drove her to do the things that she did. She was a young girl with a big heart, who loved those in her life with all she had and was trying to make room for everyone and everything. I loved that her relationship with her step-dad Brian was touched on in this book. Loved seeing Toni grow closer to him and deal with the loss of her father.
Loch was a great guy from the very beginning. When they were in that boat at the start of the book, I knew that he was going to be the love interest because he was just interesting. I loved that he understood and accepted Toni as she was and didn’t all of a sudden open his eyes in her direction when she started wearing skirts and going to the All-Girl school. His feelings for her were real and the little bits that are revealed about Loch throughout the book made me all swoony. What a cutie pie he was.
There were times when I wanted to smack some sense into Toni, like when it took her so long to figure out what she felt for Loch and the whole running away from him on their weekend away together with that dumb girl from school but aside from that, I liked Toni. She was great.
Overall, this was a great debut from Aldin. This book had all of my favorite things and I zipped right through it. I definitely recommend this to readers who are looking for a cute, contemporary YA with great characters and witty dialogue.
Grade: 4 out of 5