When NYC high schooler Emma learns about a film competition, she sees an opportunity to make her dreams come true. She enlists her friend group to help her, including Sophia, who has recently moved back after spending a year in France. To make a long plot summary short, creative differences lead to Sophia deciding to make her own movie, which means that now she and Emma are competing against each other for the same prize.

The narrative unfolds via dual points-of-view, and at first, the two girls have nothing in common and are thoroughly annoyed with the each other. But then, thanks to some not-so-subtle intervention—or manipulation, depending on how you want to look at it—from their friends, with both girls being told that the other girl has a crush on her. This turns the sniping into flirting, but they are still in a competition, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

This book does a wonderful job of capturing the tumultuous emotional range of the typical teenager. I do love a good UES story, but it was rather pleasant to deal with average kids rather than Waldorf-types. These kids are sorting out who they are and what they want, and the effect the film contest has on the dynamic of their friend group.

I would recommend I Think I Love You. There’s a nice balance of lighthearted fun to counter the more serious plot elements, and the conflicts are realistic rather than contrived or exaggerated.

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