Title: Animal Attraction
Author: Jamie Ponti
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Paperback: 248 pages
Source: Chicago Public Library
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)
Jane’s life is one giant Conspiracy, with the whole world plotting to keep any chance of romance far, far away. Her social history (17 years, 0 boyfriends) is proof positive of that. But this summer, she’s determined to crank it up.
Jane’s snagged a gig at the local theme park as part of the star attraction—the Mermaid Show. But then the Conspiracy strikes, and she ends up starstruck in a furry beaver costume all day long. Hard to breathe, let alone flirt…. Can Jane figure a way out of the beaver suit and into the arms of her summer love?
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
Animal Attraction is a cute romantic comedy taking place in the mid 2000’s — one that I liked a lot more than I was expecting to. Jane has a lot of big plans for the summer — one is to work a couple jobs to pay her share for the car her parents just bought her. However, when it looks as though she’s about to be scouted by a great university to be on their swim team, she has to drop out of the Mermaid Show at her local theme park, because swimming in it would make her a professional swimmer, which would disqualify her. So, she ends up becoming an animal character instead. On top of that, she wants to find a boyfriend for the summer. She has to learn how to balance her social and work life, and it turns out to be a bit of a challenge!
One of the strongest points of this book for me is that while it has the stereotypical love-triangle bit, it’s not done in a melodramatic, terrible way. Jane is never forced to choose between which guy she likes most; she starts dating a guy, and that’s that for the other love interest. Also, both of them are very nice and would be good boyfriends for her. I hate when one love interest is clearly terrible (I hate it more when he gets chosen, way to show teenagers how they should approach relationships — but, I digress), and the other is perfect and it’s somehow a conflict. Thankfully, it’s done tastefully and shows a very real situation where people have choices as to who they want to date and it’s all about timing and courage and all sorts of other factors.
I also love all the characters in this book. Jane is such a relatable character — she just wants to have fun and pursue her dreams. I like that her parents seemed like actual people and were given more of a role than I usually see in these types of books. Jane’s best friends are also a riot. They are all super supportive of one another and while they have their disagreements, they also have each other’s backs, and it’s a great portrayal of a high school friend group.
Aside from that, it’s funny and it shows how fun relationships (and different) relationships can be. It also shows how tangled lies can get when you try to be someone you’re not. I’m not sure how well the pop culture references would be received in today’s time, since they all very much draw from the mid-to-late 2000’s. Aside from that, though, this is a cute fun romance. It’s a fast, fluffy read, so if that’s what you’re looking for, I definitely recommend it.