Book Review: The Way to Game the Walk of Shame – Jenn P. Nguyen


Title: The Way to Game the Walk of Shame (2016)
Author: Jenn P. Nguyen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 336 pages
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Goodreads Description

Taylor Simmons is screwed.

Things were hard enough when her single-minded dedication to her studies earned her the reputation of being an Ice Queen, but after getting drunk at a party and waking up next to bad boy surfer Evan McKinley, the entire school seems intent on tearing Taylor down with mockery and gossip.

Desperate to salvage her reputation, Taylor persuades Evan to pretend they’re in a serious romantic relationship. After all, it’s better to be the girl who tames the wild surfer than just another notch on his surfboard.


Before starting this review, I’d just like to say one thing: I really, really, really didn’t like the title of this book. I think The Way to Game the Walk of Shame is about five words too long and a complete mouthful. I also don’t think it’s catchy, despite its rhyme, and I think ‘Walk of Shame’ would’ve made a nicer title. But hey, what do I know! 😛

Okay, now that I’ve got that out of the way, this book is exactly what the blurb suggests — nothing more, nothing less. There’s two main tropes at play here: pretend relationships (my favourite, let’s be honest) and Bad Boy and Good Girl (something I’m kind of meh about). There are no deep, dark secrets, no heavy, tearful family conflicts, no forbidden romance or anything like that.

I don’t mind light-hearted books once in a while, of course, but I found the characters in this book to be quite cliched and completely forgettable. Taylor is an uptight perfectionist with one ambition driving everything else she does: she wants to go to Columbia U and be a lawyer. Evan is your typical Bad Boy who is of course really nice and liked by Taylor’s friend and family without having to lift a finger, though he is guilty of the Not Like Other Girls thing. We also have a Nice Guy (who Taylor ‘Should’ve Been With’ because they were Perfect on Paper) and a Mean Girl (who of course likes Bad Boy and is ‘popular’).

Another problem with this book was the amount of girl hate happening. The aforementioned Mean Girl here is Lauren, who still wants to get with Evan and is unnecessarily mean to all the other girls. Like all typical Queen Bee characters, she’s quite cruel to our protagonist, but in her defence, Taylor isn’t any better:

Was this hostility because [Lauren] didn’t think I belonged here or because she didn’t think I belonged with Evan? If you asked me, she never deserved him. She was clearly an A-rated bitch, while Evan was … well, Evan.

Other characters also throw around sexist remarks quite liberally. This quote below is said by Evan’s best friend Aaron, who only appears whenever Evan needs him and not anytime else — so pretty much a plot-device-character:

“Yeah, but you know how girls can get sometimes. All emotional and bitchy. Especially with each other. It’s probably a good thing that you’re blowing her off then, right? Just in case she goes crazy on you.”

There were some steamy scenes, but I was utterly uncomfortable with the fact that sometimes Evan and Taylor would make out in front of the whole school — as a part of their ‘pretend relationship’ deal — and everyone would actually watch and stare. It just felt kind of unrealistic to me? I certainly don’t mind if people want to make out in public, but I wouldn’t want to have to see it, let alone voluntarily watch it. Maybe that’s just me, though; I didn’t go to an American high school and wouldn’t know what’s a usual occurrence. 😛

When it comes down to it, the plot is predictable and cliched. Everything that generally happens in a contemporary romance YA happens: Girl meets Boy, Girl dates Boy for a bit, ~unwanted feelings~ start to appear, flirty banter, denial, temporary break-up, misunderstandings, etc. There’s some character development, but truth be told I just didn’t really care for these characters.

“You can’t plan everything. Things happen. And that’s okay. You shouldn’t do something just because it’s easy and neat. Because sometimes messy isn’t that bad.”

Nguyen’s writing style was alright — suited to this type of stories, but otherwise unremarkable. Overall, this book was fluffy, light-hearted, and fast-paced, but ultimately forgettable. I really wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re really wanting for some mindless story that you don’t want to think too deeply about (and even then, I think I can actually recommend you other titles). 😛

17 thoughts on “Book Review: The Way to Game the Walk of Shame – Jenn P. Nguyen

  1. I had my doubts when I first saw this one in everyone’s TTT posts at the beginning of the year. Like you, the name just really put me off. It definitely sounds like a bit of a disappointing read. There’s nothing worse than a cliched contemporary with a lot of unnecessary high school drama and girl hate. Also from the quotes that you picked out, I can already see that I’m not going to like the writing style. Will be giving this one a pass!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually had this on my TTT earlier this year myself – I LOVE fake relationships and honestly thought I would love this, haha. The name put me off from the start, but I was like eh well, what’s in a name. But yeah, definitely nothing special. :/

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was curious about this one, because the fake-relationship trope is one of my favorites, but once I saw that it was from Swoon Reads, I took a step back because none of the books from that line has worked for me.
    I would be bothered by the cliched and forgettable characters a lot, but what would especially make me want to chuck the book at a wall is the girl hate going on. It’s a huge pet peeve of mine and often times I’ve hated books that I normally would have loved because of girl hate.
    Sorry this wasn’t the best read for you. Hopefully, you find something cute and smart soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ughhh yes, maybe I should start looking out for that as well. I’ve read a couple from Swoon Reads too (All The Feels, Signs Point to Yes), and they both resulted in negative reviews.

      Yeah, I’m not sure why girl-hate is so common in YA fiction. Is it because kids are sometimes mean and don’t know better? But that would actually give the author the opportunity to call the character out… yet nope, nothing.

      Thanks, Nick! I hope so too. 🙂


  3. It’s a shame this book wasn’t a good one for you. I completely agree with the name as well, everytime I see it I’m always getting the words mixed up in my head because it’s too long and I have a habit of skim reading covers/blurbs. I think some books can be good working towards the cliches but it sounds like this wasn’t one of them, which is a shame because I kind of love the pretend relationship tropes, but only if they’re well written!
    Also why is girl hate such a big thing in YA contemporary? I always love books where there is a solid and strong friendship between two girls and I don’t think there needs to be girl hate for a story to create tension and give the main character some kind of competition/nemesis.
    Still great review, just a shame the book didn’t live up to expectations. 🙂


    • Yes, tropes need to be well-written for them to work! And I really should’ve known from the title and the fact that it’s from Swoon Reads, haha. I just completely dismissed it and went for it. :/

      I’m honestly not sure! The only reason I can think of is because kids, at that age, can be mean (in my experience) without knowing that they’re being mean, but that should provide an opportunity for the author to call these characters out and explicitly point out why it’s not good to hate on other girls for x, y, z reasons… but that doesn’t happen as often as it should.

      Thanks, Beth! Yeah, it’s such a shame.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s good you still picked it up despite your doubts, if only it had turned out better for you right? Sometimes there are amazing books that work to the tropes but I’m guessing this wasn’t one of them.
        I suppose, it’s been too long since I’ve been at high school but I definitely remember having more friends than people I didn’t like, it would be nice to see at least a balance in YA fiction. 🙂


  4. Thank you for this review, Reg! 🙂 I agree with you on the title, it’s just WAY too long and just Walk of Shame or something would have been way better. I’m a bit sad to hear that book wasn’t that good, I really enjoy cute and quick contemporaries like that, but I will stay away from that one for sure now. I hate unnecessary drama and girl hate and those sexist remarks are kind of a turn-off. Plus, ugh, YES I wouldn’t stand and stare at people making out. I haven’t been to high school in America, but I’m guessing just no one would want to watch that?! I don’t know haha.


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