Hi everyone! Today I’m going to be reviewing You’re The One That I Want by Simon James Green.
You’re The One That I Want follows the protagonist, Freddie, as he starts the next chapter of his life – sixth form. After embarrassing himself at his TV producer mum’s party (in front of new talent Jasper, no less) Freddie decides that it’s time for a change… And that begins with saying yes to things. Soon Freddie finds himself auditioning for the school musical (Grease), flirting with hot new boy Zach and attending parties. But will Freddie learn to accept himself as who he really is, or will he continue changing himself in a bid to be better?
Honestly, my favourite thing about You’re The One That I Want would have to be the character development. Freddie went through an incredible journey throughout the book, and it was really great to see him learning to accept and embrace himself as he was rather than trying to change. It’s such an important lesson that everyone has to learn at some point so I really appreciated the fact it was covered here – I definitely think it could help those on the younger spectrum on YA start to feel more confident in themselves.
The friendship was also amazing! I loved Freddie, Ruby and Sam’s relationship – they were incredibly close and I loved the bond the three of them shared. The one between Freddie and Ruby in particular really stood out to me (their interactions always left me smiling), and Ruby was incredibly wise and always gave Freddie such sound advice. Ruby and Sam themselves also further highlighted the theme of being confident in yourself, as well as sometimes changing your mind about what you want – and that being completely okay.
Of course, the romance was also super cute. I don’t want to say too much as there are two love interests but I definitely agreed with the final choice. I think the characters really brought out the best each other and really helped each other embrace themselves, and it was lovely reading such a healthy relationship, which can sometimes be really rare in YA.
I also really liked the fact that this book had some really important discussions surrounding homophobia within schools, which was mainly explored through Zach. What he went through at his old school was awful and it was great seeing the author begin to explore this. I definitely agree that every school should have a LGBTQ+ support group – I can only imagine how helpful that would be!
Of course, I can’t review You’re The One That I Want without mentioning the musical! I loved reading the rehearsals and I think the tension between the some of the characters added some great humour in there. It was great seeing them all come together at the end and I really enjoyed the final performance too – all of the characters came so far and it was lovely to read.
However, that’s not to say that I loved everything about this book. I think my main issue was definitely the love triangle, which I’ve talked about in previous reviews for other books too. I felt like the love triangle here was just inserted for the sake of conflict for the main couple to resolve as well as just to add some extra length to the book, and wasn’t executed as well as I would’ve liked… In my opinion this would’ve been better with just the one love interest.
It also didn’t rest on Grease as much as I wanted. After reading Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales, I was desperate to get my hands on more Grease retellings, and this… Wasn’t it. I had it in my head that Grease would play a much bigger role in this and, although it was the school musical, it just wasn’t quite what I was expecting, which was a bit of a let down.
Overall, I would recommend You’re The One That I Want to any fan of contemporaries, as this was a great addition to the genre, with some amazing lessons as well as some great friendships and romance. I’d also recommend it to any fan of Grease as, although it wasn’t strictly a Grease retelling, I really enjoyed reading the characters’ rehearsal of one of my favourite films.
Have you read You’re The One That I Want yet? Will you be adding it to your tbr? Let me know in the comments!
I hope you enjoyed this review!