Title: The Big F
Author: Maggie Ann Martin
Published: August 2017
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Rating: 3 stars
Cover: It’s Okay
Danielle effed up. Big time.
Danielle’s plans for the future were pretty easy to figure out… until she failed senior English and her single college application was denied. Suddenly she’s in hot water with very few options, because honestly who applies to a safety school when their mom is a semi-famous “college psychic”?!
Determined to get her life back on track, Danielle enrolls in her hometown community college with a plan: pass her English class and get back into Ohio State and her mother’s good graces. Romance isn’t on her radar… until she reconnects with her childhood crush and golden-boy-next-door, Luke.
Between family drama, first love and finding her own way, Danielle can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed. Thankfully she has her friendship with the snarky and frustratingly attractive Porter, her coworker at the campus bookstore, to push her to experience new things and help keep her afloat.
One thing’s for sure: This time, failure’s not an option.
“Sometimes your heart makes a shit show out of what you think you want” (Chapter 19)
I am extremely grateful to Xpresso Book Tours, Maggie Ann Martin, and Swoon Reads for a free advanced reader’s copy in return for an honest review. Head over here to follow the rest of the tour.
The Big F starts off with Danielle and her parent’s plan for her life being completely derailed because of an F she got in a class she “had no business taking.” Her dream college aspirations went clear out the window and she was left with the pieces of her life, trying to figure out how to put them together again. Her mom, being a “college psychic,” did not take this failure well, causing she and Danielle to spend most of the book trying to avoid the wall of tension that gets taller every day. Much of the plot takes a look at how one person’s life can be affected by a single failure–not even just a failure. The themes look at how one little change in someone’s plan can provide a whole world of opportunities unavailable before. Danielle decides to take an english class at her local community college in order to be readmitted into her dream 4-year school. Because of this simple detour in her life plan, she was able to be reconnected with her old crush, Luke, she got a job at the campus bookstore and became close friends with her coworker and Luke’s roommate, Porter, and she learned more about who she is and what she is passionate about.
Danielle and Luke’s relationship is quick and cute. She already knows everything about him and is friends with his family. It’s easy. There are things that frustrate her like the fact that his football takes up so much time–a conflict that is only briefly mentioned and never resolved. I’m not sure how I feel about that. It doesn’t feel real. But the little times they do get to spend together are sweet and easy.
I loved how much Danielle grows. She struggles a lot with learning what she actually wants and how she’s going to go after them. She struggles with her relationship with her mom and the weird thing that happened with her and Porter. She’s a college freshman–she makes mistakes and sometimes doesn’t think about consequences. But I really appreciate how much she grows. One little mistake changed her whole life for the better.
Some things that bothered me: I felt like the only characters that got flushed out well were Danielle and Porter, especially when the plot focused on their friendship. Luke is so so flat. He brings up a little internal conflict later in the story, but really, I still feel like I know nothing about him. All the characters in Danielle’s life seem to come in just to teach her something–which is wonderful–but adds no depth to the characters. I also was annoyed that the book starts off talking about how Danielle’s mom is a psychic who is able to determine what schools are a good fit for prospective college students. But after the first mention, her psychic abilities are nonexistent. It seems more like she is just a good college advisor. That’s it. Her being psychic was absolutely useless.
The Big F is a cute, fluffy contemporary about a girl discovering who she can be after one F messes up her whole future. I empathized with both Danielle and Porter quite a bit and was rooting for them through the end. I just wish I felt that way about everyone else.
Maggie Ann Martin hails from Des Moines, Iowa but moonlights as a New Yorker. She has a shiny new BA in English and Journalism from the University of Iowa, the most welcoming literary community in the world. When she is not writing, you can find her binge watching TV shows or passionately fangirling over fictional characters on the Internet. The Big F is her debut novel.