Today I’m featuring SEVEN PERCENT OF RO DEVEREAUX by Ellen O’Clover, an addictive best-friends-to-enemies-to-lovers YA romance.
Read on for my review of the book, and then make sure you also check out Ellen’s list of top ten addictions to find out more about the author!
Seven Percent of Ro Devereux by Ellen O'Clover
Published by HarperTeen on January 17, 2023
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Source: The Author
Cover Artist: Andrea De Santis
A clever, charming, and poignant debut novel about a girl who must decide whether to pursue her dreams or preserve her relationships, including a budding romance with her ex-best friend, when an app she created goes viral.
Ro Devereux can predict your future. Or, at least, the app she built for her senior project can.
Working with her neighbor, a retired behavioral scientist, Ro created an app called MASH, designed around the classic game Mansion Apartment Shack House, that can predict a person’s future with 93% accuracy. The app will even match users with their soul mates. Though it was only supposed to be a class project, MASH quickly takes off and gains the attention of tech investors.
Ro’s dream is to work in Silicon Valley, and she’ll do anything to prove to her new backing company—and the world—that the app works. So it’s a huge shock when the app says her soul mate is Miller, her childhood best friend with whom she had a friendship-destroying fight three years ago. Now thrust into a fake dating scenario, Ro and Miller must address the years of pain between them if either of them will have any chance of achieving their dreams.
Fans of Emma Lord and Alex Light will love this stand-alone contemporary novel with a masterful slow-burn romance at its core.
This delightful YA contemporary romance explores the complicated quandaries that can occur when pursuing your dreams, regardless of the costs. Ro writes an app (with the help of a behavioral scientist) that can predict a person’s future with 93% accuracy. When a company offers to financially back the project, she believes it’s her ticket to achieving her grandest goals before she’s even out of high school. But success comes at a cost, and she finds herself having to make all sorts of moral concessions along the way. She starts to wonder if it’s worth it, or if the people she’s hurting equal a price too high to pay. I loved the fact that this book examines the ways we all make excuses when we really want something. It’s easy to ignore that little voice in the back of your head that tells you something’s wrong when you’re desperate for everything to go right. Ro knows in her gut that the company she’s working with is twisting her app in ways she doesn’t believe in, but she ignores those internal warnings because she feels like she has to make the app succeed to pursue her dreams. It all feels very believable—that’s human nature. Then there’s the romance. I’m a complete sucker for the best-friends-to-lovers trope, and if you throw in a side dish of “enemies” to go with it? Well, that’s all the better. Ro and Miller are easy to root for, even when they’re cold toward each other because they have years of history to fall back on. O’Clover deftly winds that history into the story so that we feel the connection between them. And, finally, the book packs a punch with a clever twist that made so much sense but that I still never saw coming. The best kind of storytelling! I highly recommend this book to fans of YA contemporary.l
***Disclosure: I received this book from the author (actually, technically I received it from a friend who received it from the author) for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own and no compensation was given.***
About Ellen O’Clover
I write YA novels about finding your people, falling in love, and figuring it all out (or trying to, anyway). But I wrote a lot of other stuff first: I grew up in Columbus, Ohio, where I wrote piles of angsty love poems at the Thurber House Young Writers’ Studio, and then moved to Baltimore where I spent four years writing grim, minimalist short stories at the Johns Hopkins University. Since then, I’ve written a bunch of ads for a bunch of brands.
But always, always my heart has tugged me toward YA and the types of stories I grew up reading. The ones that made me fall in love with writing in the first place. And soon you’ll be able to read my debut novel, SEVEN PERCENT OF RO DEVEREUX, out in early 2023 from HarperTeen!
Ellen’s Top Ten Addictions
- My french bulldog, Puffin
My obvious #1! I’ve had Puffin since I was 22 and she’s been through every high and low of this rollercoaster career with me. I can always count on her for snuggles while I’m drafting, hugs when I’m down, and throwing a toy around the office when I need a break. I love her so much it makes my heart hurt.
- The Mummy (1999)
I am absolutely never not in the mood to watch Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz romp around Egypt. This movie inspires and comforts me in so many ways (and even my husband refers to Rick O’Connell as “your man” in conversation with me).
I can’t keep these in the house because I inhale them like a Roomba on a mission. What is it about these molded little potato swoops that’s so addictive? If I’m having a bad day, I’m hitting a can of Pringles.
The best part of a romance plot. I chase this feeling in every book I write, and my favorite stories are full of it. Watching characters long for each other while something keeps them apart is just—*chef’s kiss.*
When I’m in the early days of brainstorming a new project, or if I’m running into a creative roadblock, I always go for a walk to think it out. Moving my body gets my brain whirring; it’s like magic. My favorite spot for a walk-and-thought is the 2.5-mile loop around Sloan Lake in Denver.
- Greek mythology
I fell down a complete Greek mythology rabbit hole during the early days of the pandemic, and I’m so in love with its lore and stories. I spent many a lockdown day playing Hades on my Nintendo Switch, got a The Song of Achilles-inspired tattoo for my twenty-eighth birthday, and made Alistair Miller—the love interest in Seven Percent of Ro Devereux—a mythology nerd who wants to study classics in college.
- Maintenance Phase
If you aren’t already listening to Aubrey Gordon and Michael Hobbes’s fantastic podcast, DO THAT! Maintenance Phase debunks wellness and weight loss fads, and has taught me so much about “health” culture, fatphobia, and junk science. I recommend this show to everyone I know.
- Harney & Sons “Paris” tea
The perfect black tea, if you ask me. I started drinking this tea in college because they sold it at the cafe in the humanities building, where all my creative writing classes were. Now I buy it in bulk!
I grew up in Ohio, moved to Baltimore for college, and lived in Chicago for a couple of years before moving to Denver in 2017. I had no idea how much I would love this state, and now I can’t imagine my life happening anywhere else. Being outside is inexplicably restorative, and I’m so grateful to live somewhere that I can hike, snowshoe, ski, and just enjoy nature any time I want to (which is all the time). Seven Percent of Ro Devereux is the first manuscript I wrote that takes place in Colorado—in a fictional mountain town called Switchback Ridge—and it was an incredible joy to write a setting I love so much.
- The em dash
I know, I know, I’m a walking cliche—but what can I say? I love ‘em.
My dogs are probably first on my addictions list as well (not counting human family, of course). And yes to the em dash. I can completely relate. My instinct is to use them constantly, and I really have to hold myself back! Thanks for helping us get to know you, Ellen!
What are your favorite romance tropes? I want to know!