By The Book by Amanda Sellet

Thursday, August 13, 2020


by Amanda Sellet
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Publisher: HMH Books
Publication Date: May 12th 2020
Source: Bought
Star Quotient: ★★★★1/2
Kiss Factor: ✷✷✷✷1/2

By the Book has to be one of my favorite YA books of all-time! It reminded me of Kasie West's earlier books as well as Emma Mills' stories. It's one of those books that had me grinning, swooning, and left me on cloud nine.

As a bookworm, it always delights me to read stories about bookish heroines. Mary was the definition of a book lover with her love for the classics. She's learned a lot from them and her latest attempt to apply what she's learned of literary men into real life, she finds herself making friends for the first time in her life. I loved Mary's voice and her ability to just quote all the literary references. I thought she was a really down-to-earth girl who was perhaps a little lonely when it came to the friendship department. She's not without her flaws (who is?) and she has some growing up to do. The progression of her character arc was satisfying and I really appreciated how she learned from her mistakes and from her friends.

Speaking of friendship, I adored the group of girls that befriend Mary. Arden, Lydia, and Terry basically welcomed Mary with a warm hug into their friend group, and it was sweet to see these girls bond. I always have high opinions of books that portray female friendships positively but also show the lows realistically. I found that Amanda Sellet did that exceedingly well in By the Book. I loved these girls together and wish I could also be included in their friend group as they navigated their Scoundrel Survive Guide. As you can probably tell, they were a charming group that left a very strong impression on me. You'll also find wonderful dynamics in By the Book. Mary has a big family and they all had such contrasting personalities. They were wonderful and different and took this book to the next level for me.

One of the scoundrels that Mary warns her friends against is Alex Ritter. My goodness, was he cute or what? I adored his charming and flirty personality, especially when he dished it to Mary. He pushed her buttons, teased her endlessly, but was also genuinely nice to her. The banter between Mary and Alex was my favorite. I don't think I've enjoyed a YA romance this much in a long time. I also loved watching them catch feelings for each other. Ugh, they were so precious and I shipped them with all my heart. You bet, I was grinning like a total fool all throughout their scenes.

By the Book is a book I'll recommend to everyone who is in search of a sweet story with lots of great relationships and that will leave you buzzing with happiness. I look forward to reading more from Amanda Sellet in the future. 

Who are some of your favorite bookish heroines?
Let me know in the comments below!