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Amanda Sellet Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

By the Book (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Amanda Sellet
Amanda Sellet is a YA writer best known for her debut novel By the Book. Sellet doesn’t shy away from airing her views about movies, books, and baked goods. After years of working as a professional critic, Sellet has decided to direct her saltiness in writing stories about smart girls and the lessons they still need to learn. The author’s debut novel doesn’t disappoint. If readers’ reviews are anything to go by, Sellet is headed to a successful career as an author.

By the Book
By the Book tells the story of Mary Porter Malcolm, a 15-year-old who is about to experience some considerable changes in her life. Mary has been studying in an exclusive institution where professors’ children go. Unfortunately, the school lost its funding, and Mary has to go to Millville High for her sophomore year. Millville is a local public school, so this is going to be an entirely different experience for Mary. However, the young girl views this as an adventure. Mary has been reading the classics, and she feels she knows all the mistakes a girl can make and is well equipped to handle any challenge that comes with a public high school. She will soon discover how wrong she is.

Mary is the fourth of five children. Both her parents are professors, and all those geniuses under one roof can make life tumultuous. Mary longs for a simple life with good friends, and she hopes that high school is going to be a pleasant experience. Well, things do not go as planned because her only friend dumps her on the first day of school. Fortunately, she meets Arden, Terry, and Lydia soon after. When Mary offers some advice against a blue-eyed, curly-haired lothario named Alex Ritter, the trio finds her enchanting. This marks the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Thanks to all the classics she has been reading, Mary is sure that a relationship with Alex would lead to a disastrous heartbreak. She doesn’t hide this fact from her three new friends. The girls find Mary wise on matters relationships, and immediately, a plan to give her the ultimate high school experience is hatched. As this plan is in motion, the teenagers watch as their counterparts fall in and out of relationships. Mary is quick to draw parallels between these relationships and the complex male characters she has read about in her classic novels. The four friends go to the extent of designing a quiz that others could use to get their relationship material based on fictional characters.

While Mary is hyper-intelligent, she is also naïve, especially when it comes to love and the opposite sex. Mary wishes to be the heroine in her story, but at some point, she is forced to admit her ignorance. She turns to Alex Ritter for advice, given the fact that he has more experience in life than everyone else in her circles. Mary is bold to approach Alex for relationship advice, but what she doesn’t know is that he has deep feelings for her. The time Mary spends with Alex allows us to know more about him. While the girls have a different opinion, Alex is just a normal boy with a massive crush, human weaknesses, and enough sisters to give him a headache.

Over time Mary and Alex get quite close, but all this is happening in secret. Mary’s girlfriends do not stay in the dark for long, and when they uncover her secrets, everything falls to pieces. Could it be that Mary was so quick to judge Alex? Didn’t she learn anything from all the girls in the classics? Mary quickly realizes that she needs to communicate her feelings to enjoy what she shared with Alex. Unlike her heroines, she has to get out of head and books and act. Well, isn’t this some advice that most of us could put into good use?

It is odd how society works just like high school. While Mary is undoubtedly intelligent, she needs some street-smart education to become a well-rounded scholar. Fortunately, she is not shy to seek help. When her best intentions work to her disadvantage, Mary is quick to learn that real life and fiction are a world apart. To get the happy ending that she craves, Mary will have to act.

Every bit about this story is intriguing. From the dramatic way Mary is introduced to Nicholas Sparks to the rare vocabulary, this story will captivate you. Mary’s diary entries are epic, and it is funny how she interprets relationships and high school life in general. While you do not have to be familiar with the classics to enjoy this book, you will find it more intriguing if you know about the characters referred to here.

YA romances are mostly predictable, but this book feels like a breath of fresh air. The story comes with many sweet moments and enough lessons that can be used by teenagers and adults alike. Mary’s diary entries help direct the story, and it is great that they are short, sweet, and pack quite a punch. Falling in love with all the characters is easy, and the flawless narration makes this a hard-to-put-down read. By the time you get to the end, expect to feel a little nostalgic and giddy but also very satisfied.

By the Book is a super cute story about friendships, growing up, and family. Mary is a lovable character. Unbearably naïve, unversed in love, and lonely sums up how she feels at fifteen. Mary’s obsession with the classics is lovely, and her diary entries even more entertaining. Her journey to navigating true friendships will amuse you, and Mary’s large family push the intrigue a bit higher. Alex Ritter is another lovable character, and his friendship with Mary forms an essential part of this story. The three girls come with vivid personalities, and its admirable that looks were the last things in their focus. Lastly, there is the friendship theme. It is great that the author has shed enough light on what distinguishes a true friendship from a toxic one.

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