Two Across

Finished Two Across by Jeffrey Bartsch.  I received a copy from the publisher for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

Highly awkward teenager Stanley Owens meets his match in beautiful, brainy Vera Baxter when they tie for first place in the annual National Spelling Bee-and the two form a bond that will change both of their lives.

Though their mothers have big plans for them-Stanley will become a senator, Vera a mathematics professor-neither wants to follow these pre-determined paths. So Stanley hatches a scheme to marry Vera in a sham wedding for the cash gifts, hoping they will enable him to pursue his one true love: crossword puzzle construction. In enlisting Vera to marry him, though, he neglects one variable: she’s secretly in love with him, which makes their counterfeit ceremony an exercise in misery for her.

Realizing the truth only after she’s moved away and cut him out of her life, Stanley tries to atone for his mistakes and win her back. But he’s unable to find her, until one day he comes across a puzzle whose clues make him think it could only have been created by Vera. Intrigued, he plays along, communicating back to her via his own gridded clues. But will they connect again before it’s all too late?

I am a huge fan of crossword puzzles and spelling bees, so the synopsis made me really excited for this book.

It’s easiest to compare this to One Day, probably.  We keep checking in with Stanley and Vera throughout their lives, but it kept feeling like I was missing major chunks of the story.  (Also, Vera and Stanley both had a tendency to annoy me—Vera tends to run at any sign of conflict and Stanley is completely clueless.)

Even so, this was an interesting book and I was rooting for Vera and Stanley to figure out a way to be together.

I loved the beginning and the end, but the middle left me kind of cold.

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