Kevin is just trying to make his way through each day at school. He loves photography, but isn't very fond of school... until Vanessa shows up. The minute he sees her, he thinks she is the most beautiful girl ever. When it turns out she also is interested in photography, he becomes so besotted that his grades start to slip and he can barely form a complete sentence in Vanessa's presence. He consults his friend Jack, the cologne drenched, super suave author of Girlfriend Management the Easy Way, and tries to employ a few of the tricks. He gets invited to Vanessa's birthday party-- but doesn't know it's her birthday. He figures out where her family is going on break and suggests his family go to the same place so he can (unsuccessfully) stalk her. All the while, Vanessa is fairly understanding, and Kevin comes across, in the opinion of Vanessa's father, like a blithering idiot. When Vanessa runs into some trouble due to her photography, Kevin is able to champion her cause, and is finally able to be around her without being so nervous and strange.
Strengths: This was great! I have never heard of this author, but this short book (136 pages) was a winner! Surly Teen Boy read it as well and liked it, although he did warn that it is aggressively British, and there were some things he didn't quite understand. Still, as romance books for boys go, this had everything I was looking for and none of the things that would ruin it.
Weaknesses: The Britishisms might throw some boys off, and the cover is not particularly appealing. It is not overly dated, with the possible exception of the mention of a Game Cube.
This appeared in a box of donations from Half Price Books, which I am working on doling out to students for the summer. They were extremely generous with what they sent (seven boxes!) and they will be put to very good use. Of course, to show my support, it was absolutely essential to purchase the Best of Janis Joplin CD, which turned out to be just the angst-ridden-wailing kind of music that should have been the sound track for this year!