Release Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Review copy from Edelweiss
A romantic comedy about high school, heartbreak, and having all the answers.
What if the secrets of dating and love were revealed in one simple formula? That is the tantalizing proposition high school senior Shane Chambliss offers the hopeless and hapless guys who come to him for relationship advice.
After the girl of his dreams breaks his heart, Shane devises a mysterious formula called the Galgorithm and establishes himself as the resident dating guru at Kingsview High School. But his attempts to master the art of romance go outrageously awry.
As Shane tries to navigate the ensuing drama, he must follow his heart, abandon all the rules, and ignore his own advice in a quest for true love. What he discovers, no formula could ever predict...
Before diving into Galgorithm, I wasn't familiar with Aaron Karo's writing. I had seen some clips from his stand-up shows, but all in all, I didn't know what to expect. Due to the fact that I quite often find myself struggling with YA novels exclusively from the point of view of the male character, I must admit that I wasn't going into this novel with too many expectations of actually liking it. Galgorithm proved to me how good it feels to be positively surprised once in a while.
The main character of Karo's book is called Shane. He's a high school senior and known around the school as a bit of a dating guru. Since his disastrous relationship with a girl he now calls Voldemort (not because she looked like Voldemort but because it still hurts to say her name), Shane has developed a system with which he helps the geeky guys of the school to get the girls of their dreams. The system, which he calls galgorithm (gal+algorithm) is based on observation and on the principles of being different and confident. Shane does not believe in the “out of my league” cliches and rather tries to make his “clients” see that anything is possible if they just try enough.
Though the synopsis of the novel from Goodreads and my little explanation make it sound like this novel treats girls as something that can all controlled through a formula, I want to point out that the situation is not like that at all. I was actually really pleased about how Karo writes about girls and the differences between individuals. What the galgorithm is really about is finding a connection between two people and establishing that rather than fitting a girl into a formula just so she would become a perfect match for a chosen boy. I especially loved Jak, the main female character of this novel and Shane's best friend. It was so easy to identify with Jak and her tendencies for social anxiety and jokes that always ruin the 'perfect' moment. The exchanges between Jak and Shane are hilarious and well-written.
While reading this novel, I felt like I was watching a really good teen comedy. The jokes are delivered just at the right times and the funny scenes of the novel are supported by scenes focused on family life and relationships. I really enjoyed the storyline of Shane helping his nerdy math teacher out with his crush to a fellow teacher and it instantly reminded me of the storyline from Clueless in which Cher established the connection between the two teachers. I also got vibes from Easy A with the whole helping nerds out thing and several other really good teen movies. With so many YA books being adapted to movies these days, I often feel like too much of them are already in production. But if this one were made into a film, I would definitely watch it... probably multiple times.
Galgorithm proves Karo as an extremely talented and humoristic writer. He is able to weave the jokes in at right times, his dialogue scenes are hilarious and fast-paced and the way he describes the high school and Shane's other surroundings kept me interested throughout. I simply loved the relationship between Shane and Jak and the chemistry between the two. If you love books about best friends who fall in love, this one definitely is for you. The side characters are also extremely entertaining, especially the couples Shane has brought together through the use of the galgorithm. As mentioned before, the novel reads like a really good teen romantic comedy, so if you are a fan of those, you definitely should check this one out!