Blaine for the Win
by Robbie Couch
Released on April 12th, 2022
Published by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Young Adult Fiction—Contemporary, Romance, Retellings > Legally Blonde
After being dumped so his boyfriend can pursue more “serious” guys, a teen boy decides to prove he can be serious, too, by running for senior class president in this joyful romp from the author of The Sky Blues.
High school junior Blaine Bowers has it all—the perfect boyfriend, a pretty sweet gig as a muralist for local Windy City businesses, a loving family, and awesome, talented friends. And he is absolutely, 100% positive that aforementioned perfect boyfriend—senior student council president and Mr. Popular of Wicker West High School, Joey—is going to invite Blaine to spend spring break with his family in beautiful, sunny Cabo San Lucas.
Except Joey breaks up with him instead. In public. On their one-year anniversary.
Because, according to Joey, Blaine is too goofy, too flighty, too…unserious. And if Joey wants to go far in life, he needs to start dating more serious guys. Guys like Zach Chesterton.
Determined to prove that Blaine can be what Joey wants, Blaine decides to enter the running to become his successor (and beat out Joey’s new boyfriend, Zach) as senior student council president.
But is he willing to sacrifice everything he loves about himself to do it?
Disclaimer: I was provided a physical galley in return for my honest review. This does not affect my opinion.
Blaine for the Win is a joyous, heartfelt teen book that is sure to dig into your feelings and evoke the notoriety for messy teens learning to grow.
Robbie Couch is a writer that can easily develop a cute, contemporary romance with a slice of humor thrown into the mixing bowl. Reading this newest book from him reminds readers of just what it is like to read from his writing style and voice, and it is really a memorable and exciting experience. Blaine’s story will pull you in from the very first page, and before you know it, you have binged half the book!
Being a spin on Legally Blonde, one can be wary about how closely the similarities run and where the inspiration bleeds into the pages. It can be found throughout the story that there are bits and pieces of the movie sprinkled throughout. The plot took inspiration but was able to define itself on its own standing. There were key moments that allured Legally Blonde fans while also being distinguished from those moments that drew fans into supporting and loving Blaine’s perspective and story.
The character development was amazing, to put it simply. Blaine’s character, especially, was put through multiple scenarios that tested and built his character to the very end. This book spoke to teens on that level, because it included actual teen experiences. The fear of losing an important figure in one’s life, the desire to be loved and have someone to love romantically, the frustration and lashing out that can happen after intense feelings build. It was all there, and Couch conveyed it through Blaine as a character.
It was also particularly enjoyable to see the side characters getting their deserved development too. It was pleasantly satisfying to see Joey’s development, especially at the end of the book. It was also very nice to get to know and love Danny, Trish, Camilla, Aunt Starr, and Zack. Couch put in a lot of visible work to make sure the characters did not fall flat, and it showed throughout the story.
However, there was one thing that did feel like it could have used a bit more work, and that was the relationship that developed between Blaine and Danny. While both characters were fantastic individuals on their own, it did not quite feel like the chemistry was entirely there. Sure, they had quite a few conversations together, and there were several interactions outside of that. But it did not feel as though it was enough to show the chemistry needed for it to really display itself on-page.
Pushing past that, as a Chicagoland resident, it was thoroughly exciting to see the setting development. Readers who are not familiar with Chicago, and those who are, are immersed in the small-town-in-the-city embrace that comes with being outside of the main portions of Chicago while still being linked to the area. There was a lot of noticeable detailing and imagery that built the setting for readers, and it was particularly humoring to see a side character that was named after two Northwest Indiana-Chicagoland towns/cities (“Gary Chesterton”).
Overall, I really did love this new book from Robbie Couch, and for that, I rate it 4.75 stars. From both Blaine for the Win and The Sky Blues, I can easily tell that Couch is a writer I know I’ll love all books from, and I’m eagerly anticipating his next idea.
Robbie Couch is the author of the young adult romantic-comedy novel The Sky Blues. His work has been published in HuffPost, Upworthy, and O, The Oprah Magazine, among other outlets. Originally from small-town Michigan, Robbie now lives in Los Angeles, where he remains in constant fear of aggressive birds and on the prowl for his next bowl of noodles.