Jules reminded me a bit of myself during senior year: I was the photography editor of my school newspaper, volunteered at an animal shelter and was way too stressed about getting into an Ivy League school. Most of my friends had boyfriends, but I didn't have time for boys until I was accepted to college. Although I could relate to the pressures facing Jules, I found it hard to excuse how she treated her best friend and her boyfriend. Jules's justifications sounded more like self-delusion. Her story is a fair warning to overstretched teens about perspective and priorities.
The New Guy was a fun, light read with solid morals. The content was quite tame for upper YA: no drinking, drug use or hookups. When Jules decides to become sexually active, she visits a health clinic and discusses birth control with her boyfriend. The scene fitted Jules's pragmatic personality and wasn't preachy. I'd recommend this book to college-bound teens, especially to those interested in journalism. There were some good insights on the trade-offs between print and video news. The novel was well crafted and funny too. I'm looking forward to reading more books by Amy Spalding. This is her fourth young adult novel.
Reviewer's Disclosure: when I couldn't find this newly released (April 5th) novel in three bookstores, I bought the ebook from Amazon. Photo of an egret over Monterey Bay from my trip to California.