Rated Reads

The Secrets of Attraction

by Robin Constantine

Rated: High

Jesse is still reeling a few months after his girlfriend (with whom he’s been close much of his life and thought he’d always be with) starts dating one of his best friends, who’s also a member of his band. He’s stopped playing his guitar and has shut down emotionally. He’s just going to work at the coffee shop and pining over the betrayal.

Madison’s life is fine. She and her mom are going about their lives as usual, the two of them attending a yoga class together. She’s working on applications to get into a summer program for art and design. She’s dating a hot guy, but it’s pretty casual. She doesn’t want complicated, so making out is good for her.

Then her Madison’s mom decides to try teaching yoga, and her old friend Paul, who visits them sporadically, comes to stay for a while. And what she thought she knew and was comfortable with changes.

Jesse and Madison end up slowly getting to know each other and helping each other rethink what they thought they knew about and wanted from life.

The Secrets of Attraction is essentially a teen romance that develops fairly slowly. But it is more about each character and how each finds a better way to live and thrive, with the help of friends and family and their budding romance. The author almost too obviously chooses not to tie up certain elements of the story in a neat bow, instead going for some plot elements happening the way they would “in real life.” At the same time, certain elements are pretty predictable and write-by-numbers. It’s a fairly enjoyable book but nothing memorable.

Rated: High, for a solid 30-plus uses of strong language (I stopped counting), plus more moderate language as well. There is some teen drinking and lots of casual teen talk about sex. There are a couple of intense kissing scenes.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • The Secrets of Attraction
  • by Robin Constantine
  • Rated: High
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: