Book Review

Seven Percent Of Ro Devereux

Seven Percent of Ro Devereux

  • Author: Ellen O’Clover
  • Genre: YA Romance
  • Publication Date: January 17, 2023
  • Publisher: HarperTeen

Thank you to YA Books Central and HarperTeen for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. You can find my YA Books Central review here.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

CONTENT WARNING: attempted sexual assault, mention of parental abandonment, mention of cancer, death of a loved one, grief, violence

Ro Devereux can predict your future.

At least, the app she built for her senior project can. Inspired by the game MASH that she played as a kid, Ro’s app can predict details about your life with ninety-three percent accuracy, like where you’ll live and what your career will be. It can even match you with your soul mate.

When MASH goes viral, an app developer swoops in to partner with Ro. It’s her dream come true—until she’s matched with Miller, her ex-best friend and the person who hates her most in the world. Ro knows that code works. After all, she wrote it herself. But she and Miller haven’t spoken in three years, so how can he be her match?

Ro will do anything for MASH to succeed, including fake-dating Miller, no matter what it costs them. But as MASH takes on a life of its own, Ro realizes it’s affecting people more than she ever expected. If she can’t regain control, MASH might take her—and everything she believes in—down with it.

With a masterful slow-burn romance at its core, this gorgeous and emotional debut novel explores the true cost of chasing your dreams.

I don’t know about you, but I have so many fond memories of playing MASH growing up. Sometimes the results were great, sometimes not so great, but if there was an app out there that could predict details about my life, like the original MASH game, including my soul mate, with 93% accuracy, I know I’d definitely take the plunge. Would you?

Well, in this book, Ro creates a real-life version of this game as an app for her senior project (yes, senior year of high school), and it automatically puts me in awe of her intelligence. When I see what happens shortly after, I’m also in awe of her dedication, her skills, and her ability to multitask. She’s quickly thrown into a whirlwind of managing senior year of high school, working with an app developer to market her new creation, partner with Miller (her old friend turned someone who hates her and now is forced into a fake-dating scenario), and managing her social life and family relationships. None of these things are easy on their own, but Ro kind of makes it look easy to do all of these things without dropping the ball on any of them, really.

Except, it’s impossible to keep up this kind of pace for any stretch of time. Her relationship with her best friend suffers, she starts to question whether she really likes where the direction the team is taking the app in, and what she’s doing with Miller when he so clearly hates her. But as they work more closely, she starts to see that maybe Miller doesn’t necessarily hate her, and that she hasn’t thrown away one of the most important relationships in her life. 

I loved watching the relationship between Ro and Miller change and evolve over the course of the story. Things change so quickly during middle school and throughout high school, and this book accurately captures how it impacts relationships, like it did for Ro and Miller. This is a friends to enemies to lovers second chance kind of story, and while I could see it coming a mile away, it was immensely satisfying to see it happen. Watching these two break down the protective walls they had put up and reconnect on a whole new level was wonderful to read, and it was done beautifully. It happened slowly and evolved naturally in a believable way.

At first, the app seemed like it was perfect, although there was a bit of foreshadowing. And as we all know, nothing is really perfect. Slowly, the cracks in the app begin to show, as well as the cracks in the partnership between Ro and the development company. Ro’s values get in the way of the development company’s goals, and they disagree on a major point, which winds up blowing up in a big and very public way. Ultimately, it comes down to Ro deciding whether to choose which she values more: success or her moral compass. And it was intriguing to watch her decide what to do.

This was a great story, and I loved how it was done. It touches on the idea of how good intentions can get turned around, and how an idea can get away from the creator and sometimes even get out of control, to the point where a creator can’t reel it back in. It also explores the impact that technology and social media can have on individual people, and how much of an influence we give apps and social media, even without realizing it. This book left me with a lot to think about, but in a good way.

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