A heartwarming debut about family, friendship, and love, Maggie Ann Martin’s The Big F tells the relatable story of a girl whose life just took a huge 360.
With a college-savvy mom and a rejection letter from her dream school, Ohio State, Danielle’s plan for life takes a turn as her secret is exposed and she has to attend her local community college.
She meets her old crush & neighbor, Luke, who dazzles her with his charm, while his roommate, Porter, initially does the opposite.
Danielle’s in for a journey of self-discovery that strengthens her connections with her family, friends, and most of all, herself.
Here’s the official summary & a photo I took for Instagram 😉:
Danielle effed up. Big time.
Danielle’s plans for the future were pretty easy to figure out… until she failed senior English and her single college application was denied. Suddenly she’s in hot water with very few options, because honestly who applies to a safety school when their mom is a semi-famous “college psychic”?!
Determined to get her life back on track, Danielle enrolls in her hometown community college with a plan: pass her English class and get back into Ohio State and her mother’s good graces. Romance isn’t on her radar… until she reconnects with her childhood crush and golden-boy-next-door, Luke.
Between family drama, first love and finding her own way, Danielle can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed. Thankfully she has her friendship with the snarky and frustratingly attractive Porter, her coworker at the campus bookstore, to push her to experience new things and help keep her afloat.
One thing’s for sure: This time, failure’s not an option.
I really loved reading The Big F. Like the title suggests, this is such a fun and lighthearted story that follows along with Danielle and how she works to overcome the issues as a teenager.
I related to this story a lot, especially as a teenager with college approaching rapidly. The stress Danielle is under is huge, and having a mom like hers doesn’t seem to help much.
Either way, Danielle manages to work with grace. You can’t help liking her since she’s such a fun and relatable character. Some people might argue that there’s a lack of depth in her character, but we can’t expect all characters to have overly elaborate backstories. She says it herself when reconnecting with her old crush, Luke. Danielle had a good childhood and it the years were mostly school, friends, and family. Not everything in life has to be over elaborate.
I really enjoyed the entire plot. It’s very classic contemporary teen fiction and reminds me a lot of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell with the freshman in college and themes of coming of age as well as some awesome literature teachers. If you liked Fangirl, I believe you’ll love reading The Big F.
Martin’s debut was pace very nicely and I never felt bored in the two hours I spent reading it. It wasn’t awkward in transitioning and Martins prose and descriptions don’t lug down the plot.
With such a lighthearted story, some people might think there’s not a lot of messages in the work, but I think The Big F has its own messages, though different than other novels.
It’s primarily a coming of age novel and follows along with Danielle as she forges her own path. Sometimes you just have to go where life takes you and stop thinking too much about the future.
There’s a certain timeless quality to simplicity and just going back to the bare roots. I think this is what Martin managed to expertly do. The Big F wasn’t overly dramatic–there weren’t any serial killer ex-boyfriends or over the top love triangles. It was just Danielle, ordinary girl, trying to make something of her life and leave a legacy.
Life doesn’t always end up how we want it to. Not getting into your dream college won’t kill you (something I’ll have to remember over the next few years). This novel is so important in showing how the ordinary can still be extraordinary.
One of the portions that I think could have used more stressed was the actual ‘F’ portion of the novel. Obviously, Danielle gets an F in her AP Literature class she fails, but I think this symbol could have appeared more in the novel.
All of the chapter titles start with an F-word & definition, such as “Failure.” I think the F could have been a more important part of the novel, but the symbolism Martin uses already does a great job.
The romance wasn’t the primary part of the novel which was refreshing. I liked seeing how Danielle interacted with the love interests (yes, plural) while still keeping a rational mind. Unlike other hormone driven teenagers, Danielle did a great job of not infuriating the reader with unwise decisions. She’s one of those honest characters that make you wish you had someone like her as a best friend.
Overall, The Big F was a fun and light story that I would definitely recommend to contemporary lovers who are looking for an easy read. This novel instills the reader with a nice sense of hope, and it definitely helped calm my nerves about the upcoming school year.
Don’t forget to look out for The Big F, coming on August 29th! I know what’s going onto my bookshelf next! 😉
Are you excited for The Big F? Feel free to leave any questions, comments, etc. below!
Fun side note: I remember cover voting for this novel on the Swoon Reads blog! I’m so thankful to have been given a chance to review this novel.
Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan/Swoon Reads for sending me a Digital Review Copy of The Big F in exchange for an honest review!