Cover Image: All Our Worst Ideas

All Our Worst Ideas

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Member Reviews

All Our Worst Ideas is about Amy and Oliver and alternates between their points of view from month to month, starting in January of Amy’s senior year of high school. Amy wants to get into Stanford an make valedictorian so she can get a full ride scholarship. Her only competition is another girl, Petra. Petra wound up being my favorite character, perhaps second to Oli. When Amy’s dad loses his job, her mom tells her she needs to get one to help out. Amy is hesitant, because she really needs to spend all of her time studying and working to make valedictorian, but gets a job at Spirits, her favorite record store. Amy also has a long term boyfriend, Jackson, who is unhappy with Amy’s current lack of focus on their relationship.

Oli, meanwhile, graduated last year. He chose to take a gap year and is living with his mom and working at Spirits. He’s also shouldered the burden of caring for his alcoholic father. Oli is caught in a web of lies as he tells his mother he’s applying to schools for next year, but has no intention to do so. He wants to continue working at Spirits with the intention of owning his own record store one day.

Amy and Oliver don’t have much in common except for one thing: music. This shared passion and their attraction to one another leads to some serious sparks flying. This is a very sweet romance. Both partners don’t have a lot of people in their lives who believe in their dreams, and they are able to support one another. It’s lovely and sweet, and their tastes in music are awesome!

I really liked this one overall because I had such an easy time connecting with Amy and Oliver (and Petra). I also thought the author dealt with virginity in such a lovely way. One of the love interests is sexually experienced, while the other isn’t, and there’s no shame about that between them. They are loving, gentle, and understanding with one another about sex. On the other hand, I found it hard to like any of the grown-up characters, including some I think I was meant to like. I found them all to be immature. I think for some, this was done on purpose, but for others it just annoyed me.

This is a sweet read that I think really crosses that border between Young and New Adult fiction. It’s nothing extraordinary or ground-breaking, but fans of YA and NA romance will enjoy it. It was a solid 4 stars for me. Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours, Vicky Skinner, Swoon Reads, and NetGalley for hooking me up with a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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ALL OUR WORST IDEAS is cute coming of age novel about learning to let high school ideas go. With a musical soundtrack and the idea that maybe college is not for everyone (or maybe your goals CAN and should change), I thoroughly enjoyed this story!
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Thanks NetGalley for the preview! 

I loved this book! Amy was a great narrator and Oliver gave me all the swoons! Even though Amy thinks that Oliver is a distraction from Stanford he is really exactly what she needs.  Oliver's home life and struggle with his dad were heartbreaking.  I enjoyed seeing both main character's in their different life issues.  I loved the record store employees as well-Brooke was hilarious and I could see her story with Lauren as a sequel of sorts.  I also would 100% read an Amy and Oliver sequel!!
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I absolutely enjoyed this book. The fantastic music compilation is something that makes a person read more. A unique way to introduce characters and a perfect way to help the reader understand the character’s feelings. 

When I first picked up the book, I thought it would be a simple YA coming of age story. But this book was that and so much more. The book’s narration is from two point-of-views, Amy and Oliver. 

In Amy’s side of the story, you see a shy nerd who’s only dream is to go to California. Amy’s life depends on it. Living in a family, with 4 other children, having financial hardships with big dreams to fulfill isn’t easy for any teenager. But Amy knows what she wants and she’ll do anything to get valedictorian, the Kellar scholarship and finally her ticket out of Kansas City to Stanford. But it doesn’t come without drama. Seeing as Amy is managing her studies, her student activities and on her mother’s request, now she has to manage a job. 

On the other side we see a very quiet and brooding young man who is already working at Spirits, the record shop Amy starts working at. One thing that Oliver wants is to not go to college. Which his mum doesn’t know and he has put up this facade for all to see. Having lived in a broken house, an alcoholic father, Oliver’s mum insists that education is the key to not become like his father. But Oliver has different plans. He just wants to live freely and on his own without any restraints and responsibilities.

What I didn’t expect is for Oliver to fall so quickly and drastically for a super confused Amy. Amy, having just been dumped by her popular boyfriend, again becomes a nobody at school which she doesn’t mind. But at Spirits, Oliver notices her. A music competition brings these two closer and finally Oliver manages to make the first move. But Amy rejects and at that point in the story, I truly felt for Amy and Oliver.  

Amy has built up a perfect life she had and kept it functioning to a T. But when things start falling, Amy can’t manage to fix anything up until Petra, Jackson helps her see things right. The anxiety that comes with changed plans and is not easy to overcome. Amy’s character is written perfectly to give us a sense of how anxious and confused she feels. Oliver’s character too is written beautifully. 

A perfect musical love story that is too adorable to not love. I was captivated by this book and loved reading every conversation between the characters. This one is perfect for the dreamers and the ones who are scared to dream or wish. This book shows us that everything works out in the end. Although, I did find the book to be draggy and bit repetitive but overall worth the 4 stars!
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It’s always nice when I jump back into reading and start with a great book. It feels like a nice reward to get lost in a story. This one in particular is full of those end of senior year stresses and motivations, with added hardships. The character growth and music recommendations were my favorite parts.

Amy is an overachieving high school senior that learns that some things in life aren’t worth sacrificing. Valedictorian is the only thing that Amy has time for during her last semester of high school. When her competition for the prestigious title ties her for the honor, Amy spirals into an anxious mess. Her only dream of getting into Harvard with a full scholarship relies on being Valedictorian. When she is asked to get a job to help her family through a financial hardship, Amy tries to juggle all of it, inevitably dropping the ball on several things. The first casualty is her boyfriend, who feels neglected by Amy when all her free time is spent studying.

As things spiral, Amy struggles to cope. The only reprieve seems to be this new job at the record store. Music has been a source of comfort for her so she naturally finds solace in her new job. Enter Oliver, the quiet, brooding type. He is tasked with training the new girl (Amy) and finds himself intrigued with this overachiever.

Oliver is a deep character. His home life is complicated and he’s hiding a pretty big secret from his mom: he doesn’t want to go to college. This is an especially sensitive topic in their family because his father is an alcoholic who did not go to college. Oliver finds the idea of running a record store more appealing than any college class and prefers the school of learning on the job. I really enjoyed his character growth in this story. Finding your way at age 19 is hard, disappointing your parents is even harder. The relationship between Oliver and his dad is a hard, honest view of what addiction can do to a child psychologically. As we learn more about his life and his parents it evokes a deep sense of sympathy for Oliver.

Amy is so focused on school, work. and getting her ex back that she ignores the budding friendship that is forming with her coworker Oliver. When he helps her with the homework she’s doing on her breaks, she starts to warm up to him. Their mutual love of music sparks a competition of introducing new music to each other, which I absolutely adore as a way to connect with people. Being from the mixed cd generation, I think it’s a great way to get to know someone and a fun way to flirt over a “competition” that isn’t really one.

The supporting cast to our two leads provide some poignant revelations. Important life lessons, like how sometimes your perceived enemy is actually a friend who may understand you better than you do. Or how sometimes the person you thought you loved is actually just a selfish prick. There is a lot of love and support for our leads, and some tough love as well.

All in all this was a lovely story with great character depth and stellar music references. My only qualm with this is the ending. It felt a little too perfect for my tastes, but didn’t ruin it for me. I recommend this book to lovers of YA lit who enjoy music and may have been overachievers themselves (like me).
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You know that feeling when you read an awesome book and it so good it just makes you giddy? 

That's how I felt when I read All Our Worst Ideas. 

The story is told from two different perspectives, Oliver's and Amy's. Oliver taking a gap year and gathering the courage to tell him, mom, he doesn't want to go to college. Meanwhile, he works at a records store. 

Amy is a senior at high school and works extra hard to get awesome grades and be a valedictorian. She has her eyes set on Stanford and is determined to get in, even if no one else believes in her. When her stepfather loses his job, mom tells her to get a job. She loves music and is drawn to the same story when Oliver works.


They work together a lot, and veery slowly grow closer together. He is all in, but she is not so sure.

It's such a cute story, of getting out of your own way, finding your path in life and love. 

Highly recommend it!!!
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A fun and engaging YA novel, Vicky Skinner’s All Our Worst Ideas is an enjoyable and touching read sprinkled with pathos, humor and romance readers are going to love.

The stars have truly aligned for Amy and she can look forward to a happy and rosy future: she is about to 
graduate as valedictorian, she’s been accepted at her dream school and she has a gorgeous boyfriend with whom she is head over heels in love with. Everything seems to be going Amy’s way and nothing and nobody is going to rain on her parade: until reality intervenes and she comes down to earth with a resounding thud. Her boyfriend dumps her and leaves her crushed, heartbroken and totally and utterly devastated. Amy feels as if her whole world has ended and in desperate need of distraction, she decides to take on a job working at a record store. Amy thinks that life is just going to get so much worse for her, but could her new job end up widening her horizons and make her realise that the rather than the depressing end she had envisaged for herself, this is only just the beginning for her?

Amy’s colleague, Oliver, isn’t so sure about his new co-worker. Not only are the two polar opposites, but they want different things out of life and do not seem to have a lot of common ground. If they cannot find a single thing to agree on, how on earth are they going to stand working in close proximity together for hours on end? Besides, Oliver has got bigger problems to worry about – like telling his mom he isn’t sure whether college is for him. How is he going to tell her? Will he find the guts to chase after his dream? Or will his fears and insecurities hold him back from forging his own path in the world?

As Amy and Oliver begin working together, they soon realize that they’ve got a lot more in common than they previously thought. As a tentative friendship is born between the two of them, nobody is more surprised than they are when their feelings for one another develop into something more. But with Amy still stuck in the past, is she about to let the bright future that is right in front of her slip through her fingers?

Vicky Skinner’s All Our Worst Ideas is a charming read that grabbed my attention from the very first page. Full of wonderfully believable characters, witty banter, poignant drama and touching romance, All Our Worst is a heart-warming and uplifting YA novel that is immensely enjoyable and one which readers should not miss.
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All Our Worst Ideas was such a cute and unexpected read! I don't really know what I expected going into this book, but I was super pleasantly surprised. 

Things I liked:

- The writing was amazing for a debut novel! It flowed so nicely, and I found myself rereading parts because of how much I liked the way it was written. Any future book by Vicky will be an automatic read for me. The humor was also very much my kind of humor. I loved all the dry wit and sarcasm, so I hope her future books will have the same kind of humor.
- I'm a sucker for any coming of age movie or book, and this plot didn't disappoint. It navigates the landscape of first love with all its confusing and whirlwind moments coupled with the struggle of finding true independence. Both Amy and Oliver make realistic mistakes and big decisions as they come of age. Through their journey they learn the importance of listening to their own music and finding their own song. What more could I ask for?
- I also absolutely loved the record store setting. Music was such a big part of this story and I adored all the pop culture references. As they work together in the store, they learn they don’t have much in common except their love of music. As they war over who has the best taste, they also find that they can talk to each other about serious things they don’t usually share with others - Oliver’s dad’s battle with alcoholism, Amy’s feelings of not being supported by her family and why she wants so badly to succeed at school. There were so many layers to their characters, and the backdrop if music made me feel all sorts of emotions.

My only complaint was that some parts felt a little to over the top and dramatic. Amy was too harsh to the people who surrounded her, especially her mom, and that grated on my nerves a tad bit. I cringed slightly, but it was only a couple moments, so I didn't mind it that much.
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"Things change over time. The way you appreciate things changes.” 

Let it be known that I am a SUCKER for books with lots of music reference. And ALL OUR WORST IDEAS just hit all the right spot. I finished reading this book in 24 hours and it really left me wanting for more. This is the first one I've read from Vicky Skinner and I can't wait to get my hands on her previous and upcoming books!

I'll put it out there already that I am not the biggest fan of the title of this book because it makes it sound like its just a cutesy enemy to lovers trope when actually, it's SO much more than that. In All Our Worst Ideas, we follow the story of two young adult that, in the beginning, are taking different paths in life. We have goody goody (her words) Amy and laidback Oliver. So its true, they are the complete opposite. And the readers will be witnessing a story about two different characters that will be connected through music and MORE. Let it also be known, The Lumineers is my FAVORITE band in the world which happens to be Amy's favorite too and I will not even deny that from the first page, I instantly knew that I will like this character. And I was not wrong. Amy is not your stereotypical over achiever and I love how this character was written. She was not being pretentious when it comes to her music taste. It was such a big deal for me because instead of being music shamed just because some of her favorite songs are not classic, Amy instead explained and highlighted why she likes the particular songs. Amy not being stereotypical also goes for Oliver. I honestly cant remember closing a book and asking myself "Where is my OWN Oliver?" Being a 24 year old Adult, I thought I was already done with that phase but Oliver really sneaks into your heart and just stays there. Don't get me wrong, these characters are flawed and can get you frustrated at times but these imperfections really just showed how incredibly well-written they are. This applies to secondary characters of this book as well. The author even inserted a heavy topic such as alcoholism and I can say that it was handled with sensitivity and in a realistic manner. 

I really have nothing to say about the book plot-wise. Yes, it IS a love story but it's also not JUST a love story. Amy struggled a lot by being part of a huge mexican family and being the first family member to go to college. She had to make choices, smart ones, if she wants to make her dreams happen. Oliver also dealt with some pretty heavy issues and went through self discovery. I really have nothing but praise by how this story was weaved together. The relationships between the main characters and their parents are done in such an authentic way. And kudos to the author for also executing the journey of Amy moving on, it was real and well thought.

I will miss hanging out with Oliver and Amy at the record store and will surely be yearning for more story about this two. Overall, I really can't recommend All Our Worst Ideas enough. This dual POV book is written in a simple way but will make you smile and believe in the power of love. Everything about this book is just wonderful and pure and striking. All Our Worst Ideas is not a book to be overlooked, make a time for it!
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Heartfelt and realistic, this is a tale of figuring out how to find oneself and dance to ones' own tune.

Amy knows how to be successful in school and is on her way to finish high school perfectly and slide right into college. But when the love-of-her-life boyfriend dumps her, it's more than a sour turn. Needing a distraction, she takes a part-time job at the record store. There she meets Oliver, a grumpy-ish co-worker, who is finishing off his 'break-year' before heading to college. But he's pretty sure that's not the path he wants to take. Add the problem of his alcoholic dad, and he's everything but put together like Amy. And yet, the two might just find a way toward their own form of harmony.

This is a read, which touches the heart. The decisions, disappointments and mistakes are understandable and realistic. Told from two points-of-view, the story dives deep into both Amy and Oliver. Each character gains wonderful depth, and although very different, it's easy to see life from both stand points. Teen readers will see some of themselves in these characters and easily connect with them.

Shortly after the tale starts, Amy finds herself with a broken heart thanks to the break-up with her boyfriend. It was refreshing to see that she didn't get over this relationship quickly but needed time to heal. The romance with Oliver is well-paced, allowing the friendship to form first. But here, before relationships can form, it's important to discover what each one really wants and learn to believe in themselves.

In other words, it's a lovely romance which takes on a coming-of-age twist. Not only young adult readers will enjoy this one, but older readers as well.
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So I may have teared up a few times while reading this, I'm not going to lie.

Amy is a senior in high school, who is working her butt off to be valedictorian. Because she has a goal, get in to Stanford on a full scholarship and do to that she needs to make val. But things don't always go as planed and she is told she needs to work to help support her family, so getting at the record store is the best thing for Amy to do, but it will take up even more of her time. Something her boyfriend doesn't seem to like. So he breaks up with her. And then is just the have to read to see, no spoilers here.

Oliver lives at home with his single mom is taking a "gap" year, or at least that is what his mother is lead to believe. He works a Spirits a record shop, where he feels the most at home and in is element, with music. His mother keeps on setting up campus tours and asking him if he has applied to schools. He doesn't know how to tell her he doesn't want to go to collage. One top of that his father is a drunk, that he has to deal with. Getting calls from bars or himself to come up pick him up. Oliver feels like he's the parent, not the other way around.

The Story is told from both Amy and Oliver point of views, each chapter a new month, the count down to the end of high school is nearing, will Amy succeed?

All Of Our Worst Ideas is a playful, heart shattering and warming story of two young people figuring out life and what they want from it. Even if the figuring out is still a process because hey let's face it you are always figuring it out even the ones that think they have it figured out. It is full of serious issues and the pressures on young people be it in school, family life or life in general and love. Sometimes it's not fairy tale sometimes your heart breaks sometimes you fly. The side cast is a playful one and I love Brooke, Spirit's manager, I'd like to see another story with her. I love LOVE the fact that this is a story full of music, I saw Parklife by Blur and I was like no one ever talks about Blur. That was the first song by them that I ever hear and it hooked me. I can't wait to listen to the list of songs in the back of the book.

I do how ever have an issue, I don't if it was over looked but I caught it. We have a scene in which Amy is said to be in a red dress, then not long later we are told it's black. Nothing major but I am reading an ARC copy there for it could have been address before printing.

But should you mark this as want to read? Yes please do. If not you'll miss a great story and who wants to miss out on a good story?
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This was a really cute book. I didn’t even realize it was set in my own hometown of Kansas City. It was fun to hear about places that are real, and places I’ve been. Overall the story was really cute and I enjoyed it. The title is perfect because both Oliver and Amy made some bad decisions, but I like how they learned from them and both were able to realize at some point what they’d done and why it was wrong and then do what they could to fix it. I liked how it showed that maybe college isn’t the perfect solution for everyone, that you might be more successful or have a happier life without the debt of college by just doing something you know you enjoy and are good at. Not that I’m not a big believer in going to college. I work with students who are definitely on the path to college. But I also have worked with students in the past that either trade school or even just going into the career they want was what would be best for them.
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I love it when the story inside a book is as beautiful as the cover outside. I’m so happy that this was the case for All Our Worst Ideas.  It was such a well-written novel, and is definitely taking a place in my list of YA favorites.

All Our Worst Ideas was a wonderful break from all the adult books that I’ve been reading since the last month. I needed to read a book with characters around my age, and then this book came to my rescue! Lately, I am kind of losing touch with cheesy books, ( Does this happen when you’re living the last teen year of your life? Insert sad emoji) so I felt really happy while reading AOWI – the book is heart-warming, swoon-worthy and so perfectly relatable.

From the beginning to the end, I was stunned by how much I could I connect to the main characters. The storyline swiftly shifts from the POVs of Amy and Oliver. We get to see an in-depth view of how they face the insecurities that comes in life when someone is crossing the bridge that leads to adulthood.  I loved how the story wasn’t solely focused on the romance between Amy and Oliver, but also highlighted how they dealt with huge life decisions, along with their deepest fears.

I was impressed with how the author included Music as an  important part of the storyline. It made the book a whole lot better! Can’t wait to read more of her books. ❤
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I loved the evolution of Oliver and Amy’s relationship, but I wish we saw more of them together. That was a brief period of the book, and I always enjoy the moments where the characters just exist. 

I have to admit that I was lowkey stressed throughout the book because of Amy’s quest to be valedictorian. It brought back all the stressful high school memories.

They work in a record store, so of course, there are music references galore. I’d always stop and queue up whatever song they were listening to/talking about, which makes me feel more connected. I may have gotten a bit frustrated when they talked about a song, but didn’t say the name of the song. (There is a playlist in the back of the book, but I may have spent 10 minutes trying to find a two and a half minute Nothing But Thieves song).
All Our Worst Ideas is a great teen read – the stress of high school and figuring out your future, balancing parents’ expectations, and love. I’d absolutely recommend it!
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This book captures everything that explains why I read Young Adult fiction at forty. Stories of youth are universal. Everyone has experienced first love and lust, and the first time you really screw up and hurt someone you love without meaning to. That's what this story is about. The characters, their emotions and relationships, are all realistic, believable, and relatable. 

Amy and Oliver are dealing with real world issues. They are trying to figure out who they are and what they want out of life, all while managing the expectations of the other important people in their lives. Amy has to get a job because her step-dad is laid off. Oliver is care-taking his alcoholic father. These are heavy issues. I do think both could have been given a bit more depth, I felt they were eventually glossed over a bit. That's the only "complaint" I have about the book. The writing is emotional and realistic. 

I highly recommend this one for readers of YA fiction. It's technically a romance, and there is a lot more going on here.
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All Our Worst Ideas is a quietly charming YA romance and contemporary story that teen readers will connect with. Oliver and Amy meet at a record store where they both work and music is always in the background of their every interaction. Teens with an interest in alt-rock/indie music will love seeing so many bands mentioned. Both teens in this novel have a huge CD collection and it seems like this book is set sometime in the 2010s since streaming would be the norm for books now. This is also a great blend of YA and new adult since Oliver has already graduated and the two are thinking about their new adult life. Fans of Gloria Chao and Jenny Han will like this book.
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I loved this authors other books, so I'm not surprised to find I loved this one too! Really great character development, and I enjoyed the dual perspectives. The setting was fun and interesting, and I was happy to see the focus on this kind of transitional age for teens figuring out their post-high school future.
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Since eighth grade, Amy has had a dream of going to Stanford for college. In order to afford it, she needs to get the biggest scholarship, which is dependent on her being valedictorian. As a result, she's always busy competing with her classmate Petra for the spot, which leaves her with little time for a social life. When she is forced to get a job after her step dad loses his, Amy decides to get one at the local record store, Spirits, and for the first time, she feels like she fits in somewhere. 

I liked the characters a lot, and how they interacted with one another. Despite their differences, they understood each other, and it made their connection stronger. I really liked how VIcky Skinner included both sides of the spectrum in her characters, Amy a girl who wants to be valedictorian more than anything else, and Oliver who doesn't want to go to college, despite his mom's insistence. I appreciated how real and flawed these characters were and how they both had things they struggled with in their life, but it wasn't all-encompassing, dramatic, and depressing. I think my favorite aspect of this book was Spirits, and how so much of Amy and Oliver's friendship/relationship centered around music. One of the greatest things is when you discover someone has the same music taste in you, and considering how seriously Oliver and Amy both take music, I was surprised to find that they discussed a lot of my favorite artists. 

One unfortunate thing I am realizing is how removed I feel from high school characters. It's weird and I hate it, but maybe it's just because I'm done, so I don't care as much anymore, but I found myself feeling less connected to Amy than normal.
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This book was really well paced. The story unfolded in front of you and the emotions, insecurities  and expectations joined the ride. The music that accompanied the story showed how music really does influence us. Our thoughts, moods and sorrow are all reflected there. I loved the way the author groomed the interactions and relationships between all the characters. It was a very thoughtful way to tell a story allowing the reader to feel the emotions themselves and become part of the story.
I loved the ending. No I won’t say more. And for those of you who guessed how it would end - you’re really smart.
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I loved the characters all of them. I began reading and I couldn't put the book down until I was finished.  I will certainly purchase and highly recommend this book to my high school students.  This book will be included in my must read shelf at my high school library.
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