I picked Textrovert up on a whim because the premise looked interesting. The premise is interesting, and I liked many of the individual elements of the story … yet it just didn’t come together for me. Lindsey Summers has a fantastic idea of a story and competent writing, but there’s something missing.
Keeley thinks she has lost her phone; when she retrieves it, she learns it is actually another student’s phone, and he is away at football camp for a week. So they agree to forward messages, and then they get to know one another. Keeley finds she can be more forward when texting with Talon—almost flirtatious. But there is more to Talon than she knows about, and these secrets will interfere with her relationship with her twin brother, Zack.
Summers has a great set-up here, and I have to give her credit for all the moving parts she puts into the mix. Although some of the reveals, such as Talon’s identity, are telegraphed a little too overtly for my tastes, they are still executed in a satisfying way. And I don’t envy Keeley the choice she has to make in the end; I could see it going either way (though I’m not really surprised by the way it does go), because this is a good example of YA fiction where the love interest isn’t a stereotypically “good” or “bad” person but an actual, complex human being who has made mistakes. Often the hardest decision we have to make is whether or not we choose to give someone a second chance. Honestly, not sure what Keeley sees in Talon to begin with, but I guess that’s neither here nor there.
I got through Textrovert in a couple of hours—it isn’t very long. Moreover, it is extremely straightforward. Girl meets boy, girl falls for boy, there’s a twist that threatens their relationship, and in the final act we learn if they can surmount that obstacle and still be together. Keeley is worried about which colleges she should apply to; she is navigating the rocky transition of her and her brother’s relationship from adolescence to adulthood; her brother and Talon are both involved in football … in other words, very typical teenage stories.
I love some of these individual subplots. I really enjoyed the way Summers portrays the dynamic between Keeley and Zack. Despite being behind on schoolwork and constantly losing her phone, Keeley seems to be “the responsible one”, even though Zack is “the golden boy”. Zack defines himself, at least for now, around football—that’s how he is choosing a college. Keeley doesn’t know what she wants to do; she feels aimless, and she resents both her twin and her father for pressuring her to choose a California school. These are all readily identifiable traits, and I like how Summers develops the theme of choosing your own path. Similarly, there’s a small but significant conflict between Keeley and her best friend, Nicky, regarding the amount of time they spent together over the summer and Nicky’s opinions about Talon.
Unfortunately, these individual subplots don’t come together in a unified, harmonious way (at least for me). I’m left wanting more from Textrovert. Really, I think what I’m missing is a more profound look at Keeley’s character development. We’re told that she is only this way with Talon, that she isn’t nearly as outgoing with others … but we don’t get to know her very much before she meets Talon, so it’s hard to see that. We learn she has an ex, and we briefly meet him later on in the book, but we learn very little about their relationship.
Textrovert has some fun and successful elements to it. I like a lot of the set-up and the subplots. Nevertheless, I think it could have gone deeper into so many of those elements and delivered an even stronger, more kickass story. This was a pleasant diversion in the time I read it, but it hasn’t left much of an impression.