All Our Worst Ideas – Vicky Skinner – Swoon Readers – Published 11 August 2020




When Amy, on her way to becoming valedictorian of her graduating class and getting accepted to her dream school, gets dumped by her long-term boyfriend, she takes a job at a record store to ease the pain. She needs a distraction, badly.

Oliver, Amy’s record store co-worker, isn’t so sure about Amy—his complete opposite—but what he is sure of is his decision not to go to college. He just can’t figure out how to tell his mother.

As they work late-night shifts at the record store, Amy and Oliver become friends and then confidantes and then something more, but when Amy has a hard time letting go of what she thought was her perfect future with her ex, she risks losing the future she didn’t even know she wanted with Oliver.

My thoughts

If you are looking for a teenage true love story about finding the one, you’ll love All Our Worst Ideas. Touching on topics about following your dreams and dealing with family issues, All Our Worst Ideas is a sweet mature YA contemporary romance.

Amy is ready to finish her high schooling as valedictorian, get into Stanford with a full ride scholarship. Then every Friday night spent studying, every sacrifice will be worth it. Until her mother asks her to get a job while her stepdad is out of work. Until her boyfriend dumps her for not spending enough time with him. Until she starts to like hanging out with her new, if slightly grumpy co-worker. But Amy doesn’t have time for distractions and she will have to decide what is most important to her and what she is willing to risk to achieve her dreams.

Amy is your typical YA heroine who is excellent at school and spends her time studying. Oliver is a year older, finished with high school and working full time at the record store.

Amy starts the novel in a very serious, long-term relationship. Fortunately, she isn’t quick to fall out of love after her boyfriend ends their relationship nor quick to move straight onto a new relationship.

Oliver and Amy start as co-workers who are vaguely wary of each other. Amy is a bright and bubbly and Oliver is unsure who she is really about and if she is going to take her work seriously. Oliver has a harsh exterior and Amy assesses him pretty quickly as grumpy. As they work together they learn they don’t have much in common except their love of music. As they war over who has the best taste, they also find that they can talk to each other about serious things they don’t usually share with others – Oliver’s dad’s battle with alcoholism, Amy’s feelings of not being supported by her family and why she wants so badly to succeed at school. Oliver has a much different goal, he is avoiding his mother’s pushing for him to attend college and wants only to keep working in the music store. Despite him have very different goals for his future, he is supportive of Amy, as she is for him. It is this understanding and support for each other that makes their relationship work. While Amy wrestles with her feelings for her ex, Oliver is there for her and extremely sweet and protective.

All Our Worst Ideas is all about the power of love, finding the “one” and being in a supportive relationship that extends past the end of high school. Due to the age of the characters this feels a little like a crossover between YA and new adult, so will appeal to older teen readers.

The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

More information

Category: Young adult fiction

Genre: Contemporary

Themes: Romance, music, relationships, studying, college, alcoholism, dating, sex.

Reading age guide: Ages 13/14 and up.

Advisory: References to sexual relationships, virginity, and implied sex scenes. Frequent coarse language, f*** (52), sh** (48), di** (1), pi** (3), pi** (10). References to alcohol use, alcoholism.

Representation: Main character is Mexican-American. Other main character is white. Side characters: Mexican, White. Heterosexual relationships.

Published: 11 August 2020 by Swoon Reads.

Format: Hardcover, ebook. 320 pages.


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