Question: What do you get when you take . . .
1 overachieving girl + 1 insanely cute guy + 1 massive fine + 1 scheme involving a little dishonesty and a whole lot of cash?
I’ve always been the good girl—working seriously long hours at my family’s restaurant and getting straight As. And Camden King was always just that hot, popular guy I’d pass in the halls, whose ego was probably much bigger than his brain. I didn’t think there’d ever be a reason for us to actually, like, interact.
Then again, I never thought I’d mess up so badly that my family might lose our entire restaurant if I didn’t come up with a ton of money, and fast. So that’s where Camden comes in—he and his evil/genius plan to do kids’ homework for cash.
I know cheating’s wrong, but it’s better than being dead, right? Which is what I’d be if my parents knew about what happened. I never expected things to spin so far out of control. Or that I’d be such a sucker for Camden’s lopsided grin. Or that falling apart could be the best thing that ever happened to me.
Answer: The time of my life.
This book falls under my all-time favorites category, where no matter how many times I re-read it over a number of years it’s still just as good and feels like I’m reading it for the first time every time. I can’t really put into words just what it is exactly about the book that makes it such an amazing read for me because it is far from perfect, but every time I’m tempted to say ‘hey, that’s so cliché Cherry Cheva’ my brain kinda just shuts down. I mean…this is such a FUN book it’s just so easy to forget to nitpick. So easy to go with the flo and enjoy the story for what its worth. And so, so easy to fall in love with these characters and the book.
The last time I re-read this was in 2013 so I remembered the main plot but all the little details I’d forgotten. That turned out to be a good thing because starting from page 1 all the way to the end, I had this perpetual grin on my face due to every comedic dialogue exchanged between the main characters, the snappy, witty writing in general, and just the whole high school atmosphere that sent a wave of nostalgia through me. If you stripped away all the excessive drama and negativity that usually brands YA high school reads, you would get this book. I loved that there’s a balance between good and bad, encompassing nearly every kid’s high school experience in one while still maintaining a lighthearted, fun feeling through it all. And most of all, I loved the narrator of this story, one of the most adorkable literary heroines, Maya.
Maya is a Thai-American teenager currently in her last year of high school. She’s Stanford-bound, super smart, but has no social life as she can barely juggle school, extracurriculars, and waitressing at the family restaurant. When her parents decide to take a short trip and attend a wedding, they leave the restaurant management to Maya and her little brother. Little does she know that some laziness, two pissed old ladies, and a bad attitude lands her an inspection fee of $10k that she needs to pay off. Maya’s out of options and as a last resort turns to the guy she tutors – the hero Camden – for help.
Camden King is the rich, hot, and popular jock in school and practically flirts with every girl he comes into contact with. As confident as he is, he’s surprised when the school nerd comes to him agreeing that she’ll do his homework if he pays her. Boom. A new, shady business starts and before they both know it, their cheating ring expands beyond just their school and all hell breaks loose.
One of the best things about this book is that there’s nothing serious about it; it’s a romantic comedy through and through. Even when things got rough and the big ‘uh-oh’ moment arrived, the author would give me a scare for, like, a second and then smooth the rest out. And I especially love that there is no dramatizing anything here. It’s too often I read YA stories about this girl who was bullied or this guy who committed suicide and I’m not downplaying or mocking any of these scenarios, but it’s refreshing to read a story where the high school experience is just a typical high school experience, nothing more, nothing less. I think the simplicity of the story combined with the self-discovery aspect – especially for Maya’s character – is what makes this book so alluring. It’s not a book that strives to make a point and seek to educate readers on this and that; it’s pure entertainment.
I highly recommend this book to any reader just looking for a fun read and total escapism, and the best thing is that it’s a book anyone can read, whether it’s your teen kid or an adult. There’s nothing smutty, gory, or inappropriate about it
She’s So Money is a mature YA romantic comedy standalone. Fun fact: the author of this book is a writer for Family Guy!