Title: The Avery Shaw Experiment
Author: Kelly Oram
Series: Science Squad #1
Release Date: May 2, 2013
When Avery Shaw’s heart is shattered by her life-long best friend, she chooses to deal with it the only way she knows how—scientifically.
The state science fair is coming up and Avery decides to use her broken heart as the topic of her experiment. She’s going to find the cure. By forcing herself to experience the seven stages of grief through a series of social tests, she believes she will be able to get over Aiden Kennedy and make herself ready to love again. But she can’t do this experiment alone, and her partner (ex partner!) is the one who broke her heart.
Avery finds the solution to her troubles in the form of Aiden’s older brother Grayson. The gorgeous womanizer is about to be kicked off the school basketball team for failing physics. He’s in need of a good tutor and some serious extra credit. But when Avery recruits the lovable Grayson to be her “objective outside observer,” she gets a whole lot more than she bargained for, because Grayson has a theory of his own: Avery doesn’t need to grieve. She needs to live. And if there’s one thing Grayson Kennedy is good at, it’s living life to the fullest.
Kelly Oram delivers a sweet, quirky and delightfully awkward novel with The Avery Shaw Experiment. This YA romance is an all around feel-good tale that encompasses the very best of both opposites attract and off-limits romance. When Avery gets her heart broken by her lifelong best friend, it is his older brother that comes to her rescue. Grayson and Avery’s seemingly unlikely friendship quickly turned to more as sparks flew and hilarity ensued. I absolutely loved the dynamic between these two as they pushed one another outside their comfort zones and blurred the lines of the high school social hierarchy. Avery and Grayson’s witty banter, blush-inducing flirtations, and unexpected chemistry had me completely hooked as they navigated their newfound feelings along with the ups and downs of life in the teenage gossip spotlight.
“I’ve got news for you, Aves. When a guy says he wants to take you out in the name of science, he’s totally full of it. He really just wants to take you out.”
Avery was the kind of character that was easy to connect with. Her quiet inexperience, incredible vulnerability and abundant insecurities gave this character a genuine feel that brought me back to my own days as an unsure and naïve teenage girl. Kelly Oram did a great job embracing Avery’s personal issues like her anxiety and depression. I really appreciated the honesty with which this character was crafted and the respect and understanding the author showed these issues only made Avery that much more authentic and relatable. I also adored watching Avery come into her own as she spent time with Grayson. Forced to step outside of her known world of homework and science club and into the vibrant realm of shopping, girl talk and house parties, Avery truly blossomed over the course of this story and her apparent growth left my heart feeling full.
“In order for me to get over my broken heart, I had to make peace with the person who broke it.”
Admittedly, Grayson took me by complete surprise. His initial motives for helping Avery were definitely questionable, but as the story progressed and we got to unravel this popular jock I found myself falling hard for him. Grayson’s confidence, loyalty, and unconditional love for Avery really resonated with me and I grew to appreciate him for the courage and strength he inspired in her. I also loved his fearless approach to life and how easily he embraced the science club members. Kelly Oram really seemed to obliterate stereotypes with Grayson and I enjoyed not only the high school heartthrob side of him, but also the kind and accepting side as well. I love that Kelly Oram took Grayson off of his high school pedestal and made him someone tangible and easy to connect to. She definitely made many a science geek’s dreams come true with this book boyfriend. Myself included.
“I’m surprised you know a word like enamored.”
I burst out laughing and wrapped my arm around her shoulders. “Yeah, three syllables is pretty much my limit.”
The one thing I would have liked to explore a bit more was Avery and Grayson’s emotional connection. While their chemistry was obvious and their friendship effortless, I wanted Grayson to return Avery’s emotional transparency with his own – diving into how he felt about his social status, heading off to college, etc. However, as the focus of the book was Avery’s self-discovery, it didn’t take away from the overall story. While this was my first book by Kelly Oram, this author is definitely going on my one-click list. Written with a voice that was fresh, socially relevant and full of youthful exuberance, The Avery Shaw Experiment was the perfect celebration of intelligence, heart and the absolute joy to be found in leaving behind the confines of the high school social circle. With the help of some very colorful secondary characters, Avery and Grayson’s story was bold, beautiful and perfectly one-of-a-kind. The Avery Shaw Experiment is a hilarious commentary on the teenage condition and a must read for anyone who remembers the agony and ecstasy of falling in love for the first time.
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Don’t miss the rest of the series:
The Libby Garrett Intervention (Science Squad #2)