Welcome to Day 1 of Science Geek Appreciation Week with author Kelly Oram–a fun-filled week of teasers, interviews, games, giveaways, and lots and lost of science! We’re going to kick off the week by introducing you to the stars of the Spanish Fork High Science Squad–Club President Avery Shaw and her newest recruit, Grayson Kennedy–in their debut novel The Avery Shaw Experiment.
Summary: 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.
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.
I was so out of it that I’d slipped into the bathroom while Grayson was in the shower, and I didn’t even notice until he poked his head out from behind the curtain with a surprised look on his face. “Aves, babe, I’m a little busy here.” He cocked an eyebrow and gave me a crooked smile. “Unless you’re planning to join me…?”
Just then there was a loud knock on the door, and my mother’s worried voice called out to me. I looked up at Grayson and in a moment of sheer panic didn’t think twice before jumping behind the curtain with him.
“Whoa! Avery! I was only teasing!”
I could hear Grayson, but I couldn’t really respond. I leaned my back against the cold tile wall and closed my eyes, letting the hot water rain down on me.
There was another knock, louder this time, and then the door opened. “Avery? That you in here, sweetie?”
I frantically shook my head, praying that Grayson would do the right thing.
“Sorry, Kaitlin. It’s just me.”
“Oh. Sorry, Grayson. I thought maybe you were Avery.”
“Yeah, I get that a lot,” he teased.
The door clicked shut and things got quiet. I stood there for so long that my head started to hurt and I got really dizzy. My knees buckled.
Grayson quickly caught me under the arms. “Avery, breathe,” he commanded.
I took a breath. As oxygen flooded my lungs, I realized it was probably the first breath I’d taken in minutes. Literally.
“Aves,” a low steady voice said. I felt hands on either side of my face. I opened my eyes, and Grayson’s beautiful piercing blue ones were staring down at me from just inches away, taking up my entire field of vision. “You good now?” he asked.
I may have been breathing, but I would never be “good” again. I flung my arms around him and began to release gut-wrenching sobs into his chest.
The compliment startled her. She blushed and looked at her feet as she mumbled, “I need to blow my hair dry.”
I grinned. “Don’t want to have to explain to anyone how it got wet, eh?”
She turned even brighter red but then glared at me. “I just don’t want my hair to freeze.”
I laughed as I threw my hands up in surrender and then laughed even harder when she stalked past me into the bathroom.
I leaned against the door and watched, curiously, as she dried her hair. There was something oddly fascinating about watching Little Avery Shaw primp. She’d never seemed like such a real girl to me before. She wasn’t so little anymore, either.
She caught me staring at her in the mirror, so I quickly said, “I thought dorks were supposed to have bad hair and horrible, frumpy fashion senses.”
“Just because I enjoy learning doesn’t mean I’m a dork,” she said, insulted.
“Two words for you Aves: science club.”
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After I read Cinder & Ella, I didn’t think it was possible for me to love anything Oram wrote more. That may sound like an idiotic statement, but I LOVED Cinder & Ella (you can read my review here). I don’t think I liked Avery Shaw more than Cinder & Ella, but they are probably tied for my top Oram experience.
Avery Shaw was a character I liked immediately. She’s smart and sweet and completely head-over-heels for her best friend Aiden. When she learns that not only does Aiden not return her feelings, but he has already started dating someone else, she’s crushed. She’s beyond crushed, she is more like devastated. It goes deeper than just the loss of her best friend, it was that Aiden was her other half. The two have been inseparable for their whole lives and now her world just feels empty and quiet. I love the way she approached it. She could have wallowed in her grief, but she decides to take a hit for science instead. Don’t get me wrong, she does wallow some and she goes through a real emotional struggle, but she doesn’t focus only on that. She was just a great character to get behind and I loved her.
Then we have the real star, Grayson Kennedy. What can I say, I’m a sucker for hot, somewhat cocky guys. What really won me over, though, was how sweet he was to Avery. He goes above and beyond to help her get over his idiot brother and I loved reading from his perspective. The way he started to see Aves differently and really fall for her was priceless. He agrees to help her in her science project and just makes me swoon into melty puddles on the floor. Seriously, how Avery manages to resist his charms for so long is beyond me. Either way, I’d take him over Aiden any day of the week.
This started out as a story I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about. I mean, I knew I’d enjoy it, but I’m a big fan of the whole best friends turn into more story and I thought I would root more for Aiden. I almost always root for the life-long friend over the newbie, but since Grayson has been a staple in Avery’s life just as long as Aiden, that was almost negated. Plus, Aiden is a pretty big dick to Aves in the beginning of this book. I mean, the dude is supposed to be her best friend and he is a straight up asshole to her. I was also nervous because I had super high expectations. I’ve heard many good things about this and this was the Oram novel that initially caught my attention. I love the cover. I mean, LOVE. It is one of my favorite YA covers ever. It’s cute and nerdy and completely captures the feel of the book. That doesn’t happen often.
Basically, this novel is the perfect contemporary YA story. It’s smart, it’s funny, it’s cute, it’s everything I expected it to be and more. It has great characters, an interesting plot, and it packs quite a punch for being so small. Kelly Oram really knows how to make every page count. This was a novel I read straight through in one sitting and that alone speaks volumes. One this is for sure, Kelly Oram is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and I cannot wait to read The Libby Garrett Intervention!