Title: Love By The Numbers
Author: S.L. Danielson
Main Characters: Scott Williams & Jared Adamson
Jared was the star athlete, the jock, the popular blond kid everybody liked. Scott was the academic star, the nerd, the recluse. He had a heart of gold that no one ever saw. Fate would bring them together; love would make them stay together.
Suddenly, there was the
interjection of another sound in the room. Seventeen-year-old senior
Jared Adamson impatiently tapped his pencil on his desk. His
brown eyes kept close watch of the time as well. He repeatedly swept
away his curly blond hair, which kept falling, onto his tan face. Jared
began tapping his foot in tune with the pencil. This irritated Mrs.
O’Reilly, to no end. She was a wafer-thin, blue-suited,
tightlybunned, spectacled warden, well known for being one of the
toughest disciplinarians in school. Scott speculated, along with
other classmates, that if she would wind her black hair any tighter,
it would make her dull green eyes pop out. As the clock ticked away,
Jared showed his growing displeasure. He sighed audibly, rolled his
eyes, and slumped deep into his chair. A few classmates grinned,
including Scott. Scott had watched Jared from the start of the
semester two months ago. He’d been instantly smitten with the
school celebrity. Scott had seen Jared’s picture in the trophy case
along the mail hallway.
Now, seeing him in person and getting to
be his classmate piqued his curiosity. For the past two months, he’d
watched Jared come in, usually a couple minutes late. Most of the
class would snicker in amusement. He’d always have some scantily
clad girl or muscle-bound teen by his side. Today was no different.
Jared had come in bookended by two blond cheerleaders. All he had
to do was flash his glowing smile at them and they followed him
Scott was jealous of his popularity. He wished for one
moment he could be as popular and get away with what he did. Case
in point, the pencil symphony being performed at the moment.
Jared’s surrounding classmates smiled and egged him on, Scott
included. However, Mrs. O’Reilly was not amused in the slightest
and turned around quickly. She crossed her arms violently against
her flat chest and shot a piercing glare at Jared.
“Mr. Adamson, sit up!” she barked.
Jared groaned and sat up a bit. It wasn’t quite enough to satisfy
the warden, however. She uncrossed her arms, marched quickly
over to his desk and rapped a 12" wooden ruler on his desk. The
sound reverberated throughout the room, visibly rattling some of
the students, including Jared.
“Sit UP!” she demanded with a yell.
Jared pushed up his 5’11" 170 lb. frame up to sit up straight. He
straightened his white sweater and blue jeans. He looked into her
green eyes with a look that asked, “Is this ok?”
The teacher recoiled and smiled slightly. “Thank you Mr.
Adamson.” She turned sharply on her heel and strode toward the
front of the room. “Class, I have your last tests over here. Mr.
Williams, would you please pass them out?”
Scott dutifully rose from his seat and adjusted his outfit of black
cargo shorts, black tee, and a dark olive shirt, took the papers from
the desk and distributed the tests in his usual methodical manner.
When he passed by, Jared tried to even catch a glimpse of his
classmate’s face but Scott’s head was always down, always hiding.
Jared’s attention turned when he saw the oversized brilliant red “F”
at the top of the page. Jared growled and rolled his eyes again.
Love By The Numbers © S.L. Danielson
A while ago I saw this book on one of the yahoo groups that I lurk on and after some attempt to get it from the UK – the author was gracious enough to send me a copy.
I was attracted to the book by the blurb, for two things mainly – it sounded like a coming of age or more YA book and I am not so good with these book and wanted to spread my wings, secondly S.L.Danielson is a new to me author and I really wanted to read her – I am like that sometime, I get tunnel vision on an author without knowing anything about them.
LOVE BY THE NUMBERS is one of those book that the beauty of the book lies in the fine print, the quality of the cast and the emotion that the author brings to the plate.
Before I get into the story let me tell you about Jared Adamson and Scott Williams. Jared is the local senior school star athlete, not doing well in maths and while seeming to have the all round boy next door life he had issues. Jared in alot of respect is a very stereotypical kid who excel at sports. Scott is the exact opposite he is academically bright and this shows and he is rewarded by being the teachers pet for this, Scott also has issues and his issues can physically be seen and this causes Scott all kind of confidence problem.
Where Ms .Danielson twiked these boys and made me really like them is by placing them in a decent neighbourhood, with parents who are as polar opposite of each other as you can get and making them just normal kids – they didn’t have attitude, there no slamming of doors, no over the top music and they were courteous – they had no shrugging of shoulders, no missing curfew they were decent kids.
It was refreshing to see kids just being kids, rather than the chip on the shoulder little toes rags that I normally read about. And in some respect they both had little bits of me in them – they had a good support system around them for the most part, needed a little work in some areas, but was happy to conform and life went on happily around them.
Now that you met the boys let me tell you their story. Jared and Scott goes to the same school and while Jared is the middle of the aisle strut his stuff football star, Scott is the hug the wall maths whizz that keeps a low profile and have no friends. Jared is not doing well in math and as the boy with the best grade Scott is offered up as the sacrificial lamb to tutor Jared through this mind field of numbers.
Both boys are surprised by the person they meet and within a few days they hit it off and realize that they can find common ground in order to make this tutoring gig work.
Jared gets on famously with both Scott’s parent and eventually the friends moved beyond tutoring and Jared is spending a great deal of time at the William's house. For Scott's parent it was no big stretch, they were thrilled their son has a honest to goodness friend who not only came around but had their son laughing and interacting as any other teenager.
Because the boys are literally in each others pocket Scott soon realize that Jared has apart of himself that he never really let anyone see and the one time that Scott looked close enough and was persistent enough he and Jared ending up having their first real disagreement. This doesn’t last long and soon they are back on track with Jared also getting involved in Scott’s issues but it is Jared and his parent that everyone was concerned about.
While the three parents try to figure out the big elephant that has been between the family for a little over a year the boys grows closer and starts taking onboard each others battle.
It’s not pretty from then on and I don't want to give it all away, but rest assured Jared and Scoot gets their time together and it’s all done on the up and up. Why I mention this is because when I met the boys they were just in their last year of high school so 17 – 17and a half…
LOVE BY THE NUMBERS is one of those books that I had to step away from to marshal my thoughts before I could get it right on paper.
Why? because YA is not my forte and I wanted to give the book the justice it deserved and not just say it was a sweet read with all the right pieces in the right place and had the ending I expected, because it was more than that.
From the character development I was hooked – Danielson worked up the boys, the school, the social structure and the family dynamics before she toss in the angst. By the time the angst got there I was caught up in other things in the boys life and it was slowly introduced in such a way that I wanted to fight all their battles for them, I supported all their decision and I wanted to smash heads all round.
This is not a long book just a smidgens over 90pgs and it was chock full of details and highs and lows – I thought Danielson made use of every available page time. The positives are things like the connection between the boys, the interaction between the boys and their parents, the social structure (school) around the boys and how they rooted for each other with people who would have made their life hell. The time frame of the book – this books flowed over into about 18-19 months, so not a sudden attraction sort of read.
I also loved that the author didn’t just give it up with the mystery she took the time to let me see how it happened, and in some respect why it happened( I know I an being evasive – but I cant give it all away). There was dialogue all the way through this book – not because they were teenage, don't expect grunts – they talked and talked and laughed and shared and it made all the difference.
The niggles would be parental intrusion overload – I am fickle like that, while the interplay between the boys and their parents really made the story, I knew it would eventually annoy me – because they wanted it all for their son and in some ways wanted to bypass the natural flow of attraction (nothing underhanded here again - I must clarify).
I love Danielson's voice and style, it flows naturally and while I like the jumping scenes, more like the snapping of a camera lens it might not work for everyone – but it suited the boys life and the moment they were in…
I cant do this round up without mentioning the smut – it happened and it was only one incident and it was suitable and at the right time as the boys had most certainly past their 18th birthday….
Because LOVE BY THE NUMBERS is a YA – I would love to see where they both end up as men and some of the more unsettled plotline that I wasn’t privy to - I would love to see how those panned out.
Good to the last drop and if you had any sense you would just go get it.