If you want more, you have to give less.
That’s the secret to dating in high school. By giving as little as they expect to get in return, seventeen-year-old Aubrey Housing and her three best friends have made it to the second semester of their senior year heartbreak-free. And it’s all thanks to a few simple rules: don’t commit, don’t be needy, and don’t give away your heart.
So when smoking-hot Nathan Diggs transfers to Lincoln High, it shouldn’t be a big deal. At least, that’s what Aubrey tells herself. But Nathan’s new-boy charm, his kindness, and his disarming honesty throw Aubrey off her game and put her in danger of breaking the most important rule of all: don’t fall in love.
High school dating is tricky, and if there’s anything I ever learned from it, it was that unwarranted heartbreak is unavoidable and all the months spent of post-romance grief were wasted on boys who were never actually worth the time. So many times I watched heartbroken friends in irreversible funks, and no matter what was said or done, nothing would suffice to mend a withered soul. I had to ask myself, how can I fix this? How, if at all, can we avoid all this?
Aubrey Housing is the girl with just the idea: DO NOT FALL IN LOVE.
Of course, teens everywhere have been at a time in their lives where they’ve out-ruled dating altogether, and I think, for most of us, it has ended catastrophically. I’d love to hear of people doing this and having great results. Really, please ease the pessimism from me, I welcome it. That being said, Aubrey goes to show that one can only go so long without getting a heart beaten (to a bloody pulp? Too much?) or bruised. Bass brings her story to a much more relatable level, where there is a fine line between having your guard up and letting the right one in, shedding light on how a closed heart may be even worse than an open one, which is the kind of wake-up call I like to think at one point or another becomes necessary. Early adulthood is such a delicate stage, and while not wearing your heart on your sleeve is understandable, being sure to experience different kinds of love and relationships is also so, so important, and I love how that was focused on here. Everything is felt so poignantly during adolescence, and while it may be painful, loving someone with all your heart is just as equally a beautifully rare thing.
More important than that, though, is the message that most things/people are temporary, and beyond that, that things do happen for a reason, and time and time again, life manages to sort itself out; you just have to be ready for the oncoming obstacles and remember that when one door closes, there’s always another to look to. The ending to this book was raw and original, and I felt it was very fitting for the story being told. It isn’t often you find a book that doesn’t wrap the end up in bows and present it to you all nice and shiny, and that’s where this one stands out.
Love and Other Theories highlights all the highs and lows of dating in high school while keeping a story that’s charming, light, and enjoyable for anyone with a young heart.