• Booktastically Amazing

By The Book

By Amanda Sellet

Spoiler-Free Synopsis:

As a devotee of classic novels, Mary Porter-Malcolm knows all about Mistakes That Have Been Made, especially by impressionable young women. So when a girl at her new high school nearly succumbs to the wiles of a notorious cad, Mary starts compiling the Scoundrel Survival Guide, a rundown of literary types to be avoided at all costs. Unfortunately, Mary is better at dishing out advice than taking it—and the number one bad boy on her list is terribly debonair. As her best intentions go up in flames, Mary discovers life doesn’t follow the same rules as fiction. If she wants a happy ending IRL, she’ll have to write it herself.

I know bad ish rating, sue me. It wasn't that I didn't like it, it just didn't hit the home run I was hoping for. Great, now I feel bad, gosh darn it. After you read it come back, the explanation will be evident.

RATING:🌟🌟🌟⭐⭐ 3.8


Okay, let me just start by saying that I didn’t understand half of the 19th-century mumbo jumbo the main character said. I’ll begin by rehashing that I was a bit hesitant to start this book because of the classic feel of it. I have like 20 classics in my bookshelves and I haven’t read any of them. Let me explain, I like stories to be relatable and feel human to me. Meaning I like to understand said conversations. After I got over that bit of hesitation, all was good and well. The friendships were sweet, the family was weird, the worldbuilding was okay. All in all, normal, I would say. Let me mention this though, I certainly thought there was going to be more cavity-inducing scenarios with the romantic partner and that was one of the things the book did not reach. Alex, my dear Alex, I would’ve wished to have seen more of you and understood you more. I would have so enjoyed it if Mary could’ve seen a sweeter side of you. And those glimpses I had of the real you just warmed my heart. And of course, let’s remember how he looks...dang boy. Some people like to read about love interests who are not so drool-worthy to add a bit more of realness to the story but for me? Nah sweetie bury me in all those descriptions! I read to escape, not to NOT dream. Ugh. I was so disappointed about the misinformation about the love story it stills rubs me the wrong way. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the beautiful friendships developed here but even that felt a bit fickle for my taste. Sometimes I was like, Yes Queen! But others I was like, Girl whyyyy? That bit (the friendship) actually frustrated me at times. The girls could’ve seriously grown closer if they would’ve let themselves go with the flow. At times it even felt Superficial. As I previously mentioned it took me a bit of time to acclimate myself to the protagonist's form of thinking but mostly? it took me out of the story sometimes. Reiterating on the Alex situation. Why oh Why did we not see more of him?!? He had sisters, he was kind, HE WORE EYEGLASSES! In what world could you not love him. Even though we saw him like five times in the whole story. *Add petty grin here please* He had soooo much potential to be one of the main guys in my fictional boyfriend list. And you, dear author, ruined that chance. Now, let's go back to the friendship part of the spectrum. It didn't even make sense to me. At times it even seemed that they didn't get along with each other. At other times it was like, THIS FRIENDSHIP ROCKS!!!! Please dude, make up your mind. That had my brain up in a knot, for sure. Let's talk about her family for a bit. Her little bro. Loved him, he was perfect. Cam? let's just say she and I would never get along. That boyfriend of hers....be still my heart, be still. Some people do not understand how blessed you could be with the affection of a guy like him. Of course, that is if you like him back. The second time they met when he confessed to her and all she did was run away? put out the fire's people! Stupidity has left the building! UGHHH. Okay I get it, love is scary but, my dude, I wanted to punch Cam so hard it wasn't even a joke. The rest of the family was eh. On the close side of meh. It was peculiarly interesting indeed. Very particularly interesting. All in all, it was a nice read. A slow one for some (aka me) a fast-paced masterpiece for others. It all depends on your preferences. The book was enjoyable at times, so yeah, this was basically a rant. I'm sowwwyyy. *SAD PUPPY FACE* Even I get sad when a book gets a bad rating. And I'm the one rating it. That shows exactly how my mental health is doing lately. I hope everyone is staying safe and reading all those books in that TBR that never seems to get smaller. Ciao my lovely bookworms, till next reading!


  • The moment when Mary follows Alex out of his music classes and sees him wearing eyeglasses. TWIFJWEDWUJX. That's precisely how my brain reacted. By having a mental spasm.

  • All the times forensic pathology was mentioned. Slayyy.

  • When they first kiss (Alex and Mary) and all is good and well until they get caught, gosh was I nervous and jittery, whilst waiting for her courage to make itself present.

  • When the sweet couple is in the theater and Alex explains shy he didn't talk to her back then. AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

  • On a totally unrelated note, the cover is to die for. To. Die. For. So much cuteness.

UPDATE: Just re-read some parts of the book again and let’s just say I was a bit too biased. Alex, you are officially on my main book boyfriend list and Mary? I like you a bit more after the things I just re-read. Whew, girl, you got game