self-published (Bluefields) in May 2013
When Avery Shaw’s heart is shattered by her life-long best friend, she chooses to deal with it the only way she knows how—scientifically.Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
The state science fair is coming up and Avery decides to use her broken heart as the topic of her experiment. She’s going to find the cure. By forcing herself to experience the seven stages of grief through a series of social tests, she believes she will be able to get over Aiden Kennedy and make herself ready to love again. But she can’t do this experiment alone, and her partner (ex partner!) is the one who broke her heart.
Avery finds the solution to her troubles in the form of Aiden’s older brother Grayson. The gorgeous womanizer is about to be kicked off the school basketball team for failing physics. He’s in need of a good tutor and some serious extra credit. But when Avery recruits the lovable Grayson to be her “objective outside observer,” she gets a whole lot more than she bargained for, because Grayson has a theory of his own: Avery doesn’t need to grieve. She needs to live. And if there’s one thing Grayson Kennedy is good at, it’s living life to the fullest.
The Story: Actually, the blurb is very accurate. I'm going to try to recap the book in my own words, but I believe it'll be quite similar to the blurb...
Avery Shaw and Aiden Kennedy have been best friends all their life - literally! Their mothers met in prenatal yoga and the fact Avery and Aiden were born on the same day just sealed their fate. For years, Avery has been in love with Aiden and has been waiting for him to catch up to her feelings, knowing that boys emotionally mature slower than girls. However, during their junior year Christmas break, Aiden drops a bomb... Not only does he have a girlfriend, but he wants space and not to celebrate their birthdays together! Understandably, Avery is quite devastated and heart-broken... Lucky for her though, Aiden's older brother, Grayson, takes her under his wing.
Avery needs a project for the state science fair and has come up with the idea of using herself as a test subject. She wants to prove that a broken heart can be cured by going through the seven stages of grief: shock and disbelief, denial, guilt, anger, depression, acceptance and hope. She recruits Grayson to be her objective outside observer. In exchange, Grayson will get extra credit in physics, which he is failing, and that will allow him to continue playing for the school basketball team. However, Grayson has plans of his own. He intends to help Avery become her own person by living a little.
My Opinion: When I picked up The Avery Shaw Experiment, I really didn't know what to expect. I had actually never heard of Ms Oram prior to The Avery Shaw Experiment, let alone read any of her other books! I was browsing Goodreads, looking for new releases when I stumbled across the title and ended up giving it a try after reading some average reads. Wow, am I glad of my pick because this one hit all the right spots!
The Avery Shaw Experiment was such an excellent, cute and adorable read LOL. I basically loved everything about it: the writing style, the characters and the story. I thought Ms Oram's writing style was light and breezy, making for a very easy read, but at the same time, she did a great job at injecting some seriousness to the storyline. I also really enjoyed reading the story from both Avery and Grayson's POVs. Being privy to both Avery and Grayson's thoughts allowed us to get to know them both, but also provided a nice balance to the story :)
I also liked the characters very much. Grayson was simply a charmer and very crush-worthy, but underneath it all, he was just such a rock for Avery to lean on. He was also more mature and observant than he let on and he did really have some good insight in Avery and Aiden's relationship. As for Avery, she was very likable. She was a bit of a geek which added to her charm and quite shy... She's just the kind of YA heroine that you want to root for. I also really enjoyed Grayson and Avery's bond, chemistry. After all, they've known each other for so long as well... They might not have hung out together as much before, but they understood and knew each other. And that made Grayson's protectiveness very endearing, especially against his own brother. I also want to commend Ms Oram for not falling into the stereotypes. I liked that the popular kids here weren't all mean and snobbish and that the geeky kids actually have some spunk. Loved the part where the science club didn't want it known that Grayson was part of the club as they had a reputation to uphold LOL. Also, Avery's friend Libby was really refreshing! :)
The story was about two journeys. The first was Avery discovering herself, discovering that she could survive without Aiden. The second was Grayson falling in love with Avery. I enjoyed both journeys very much. I'm glad that Avery didn't spend the whole book pining after Aiden and waiting for him only to realize that the one she had feelings for now was Grayson... That would simply have been too typical. I also liked that Aiden wasn't the total villain in the end, liked that Avery and him were able to patch up their friendship. I'm also thought that the remaining friction between the two brothers at the end was realistic. I also thought the characters' confusion and growth were very realistic and well portrayed and made for a good story.
There were a few inconsistencies in the book such as Avery being so shy that she sometime needed medicine, but at the same time, being able to present at the state science fair and details that bothered me such as Avery believing that everything Grayson did was for the experiment... However, it was all quite minor stuff that didn't affect my enjoyment of the book at all :)
My Grade: A. I loved The Avery Shaw Experiment and am quite certain it will be among my favorite reads for 2014 :) And I'm definitively going to try Ms Oram other books. Hopefully, I have found a new author to add to my auto-buy list :)