I could review these books properly, seperatly, but seeing as I'd be posting them the same day, I'd just be repeating myself a lot. So instead, it's a (fairly badly I admit) mashed together review of both books, which have no connection to each other aside from being by the same author for the same publisher.
The Ex Games: Four years ago, in 7th grade, Nick and Hayden were the star couple for their brief relationship. It ended very publicly and Hayden swore she'd never get involved with him again. But now both of her best friends have paired of with his best friends and now the whole school assumes they're next. When Hayden then aces a girls under 18 snowboard competition, Nick declares he could beat her any day. Both competitive and stubborn people, the gauntlet is set. With half their town and school also taking sides, it becomes a massive battle of the sexes. As the rivalry and chemistry heat up, it causes some serious, entertaining and unexpected results.
Major Crush: Virginia Sauter tired of beauty-pageants, pierced her nose, joined the marching band and tired out for drum major. She got it, but she has to share the role with Drew. His family have held the position for several generations and he's more than a little superior about it. They're constantly fighting, much to the detriment of the band, but their fighting leads to flirting and the competition heats up. Until rumors start flying around that threatens not only their very new romance, but the stability of the band as well.
I've loved all the Simon Pulse romantic comedies that Jennifer has written. Sure they're a little predictable, but they're fun and smart as well. They're not very long but Jennifer does a great job of creating a hot teen romance with well rounded characters and dealing with some serious issues (The Ex Games: psychological aftermath of a huge accident/divorce. Major Crush: secrets and the toll parents can take on their kids. The Boys Next Door/Endless Summer: ADHD, the loss of a parent, serious sibling rivalry). And not only are the main characters well fleshed out, but so are the side characters. They're not place holders, they're real characters as well, and some of them I really love too. All her characters have a realness to them that I really enjoy. They're not always the smartest, or coolest, or bravest, they're themselves and very easy to relate to.
With The Ex Games, I was so often torn as to who was in the right, or even if there was one, as Nick and Hayden battled against each other. They both made some pretty big mistakes and wrong assumptions, and they didn't listen to each other on several occations. But that's so often what it's like in real life and I liked seeing how things played out for them. There were plenty of laughs along the way, but there is a serious side to them both as well, one that kept me well and truly hooked. Very, very hard to put down and easily finished in a day. Sweet, fun, angsty and generally great. Loved it.
Major Crush...well, who knew band geeks could be so much fun? I mean no offence with that comment at all, honestly, am a total book geek so I can't really say anything, but this book was hilarious. Had me doubled up almost crying with laughter a couple of times. Virginia and Drew are both sensitive people and hiding some pretty big secrets. Things are hard on both of them and it was really hard not to feel for both of them throughout the book. The way they interact with each other had me giggling plenty, but the character who quite possibly makes this book, is their insane band teacher. And I do mean insane. He has some great insight, but he's totally crazy as well and it was his lines that had me laughing the most. Loved the book from beginning to end and it was another one I couldn't put down and finished in a day. Great fun.
8/10 rating for each of them.