Unrealistic But Cute Teen Romance

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Zack Martin is your typical, popular high school athlete. Ending his junior year, he’s poised to become the captain of the soccer team. When his mentor, the previous captain, pulls an unpleasant prank on a rival soccer team, Zack takes the fall in order to help him out. Zack doesn’t expect the consequences that come with it, though. He ends up doing community service for the summer at the local marine life center, where he meets a cute intern named Chip. Unfortunately for Zack, because Chip thinks he pulled the prank, Chip has no interest in dating him. To make matters worse, the prank also causes friction with Zack’s two closest friends as well as the soccer team. Will Zack still become team captain? And will he ever convince Chip that he’s actually an ok guy?
This book is out of the normal range of novels that I read. While I enjoy a good romance, I don’t typically read contemporary fiction, particularly YA contemporary fiction. I will say it doesn’t make me the most subjective reviewer. Unless you’re an adult looking to relive the good old days of high school sports, I feel that that this novel is better suited to a teenaged audience. As an adult, I didn’t overly empathize with a lot of the characters’ problems. But then, I never thought I was going to become a professional soccer player.
The cast of characters in Weber’s novel is diverse in personality and a variety of them do show growth throughout the novel. The love interest, Chip, was one that I was particularly fond of, if only because he seems to enjoy the same novels I do (Priory of the Orange Tree is on my bookshelf at home). I also really liked Beckett for his work ethic and Meyers for the silly hopeless (or maybe not so Hope-less) romantic he was. Zack, on the other hand, was a character I didn’t particularly care for, if only because I was not a high school athlete, and never particularly cared for them. That being said, by the end of the novel I did “like him better”.
Although the plot was largely fine, there were several things that I took issue with. First off, I didn’t quite understand how all these high school kids were getting legitimate internships. In my experience, those are hard to come by even for college students. And good internships are essentially impossible to get without prior internship experience. Additionally, it bothered me that two teenagers were able to and got away with sneaking into an animal rehab center after hours. Nothing nefarious happened, but it bothered me that it could have. Finally, I struggled with the fact that the repercussions of putting a dead hammerhead shark into another student’s locker only consisted of community service. As many species of hammerhead are endangered, I suspect that the consequences would be significantly more severe.
Overall, I found “I Like Me Better” to be a cute high school romance novel. I found most of the characters to be likeable and the main character showed definite growth at the end of the story. I just wish that certain aspects of the plot weren’t so unrealistic or problematic.