Back in school, stuck-up Ava Brenner may have been Peyton Moss's personal mean girl by day, but different kinds of sparks flew at night. Now the tables have turned, and Peyton's about to make his first billion while Ava's living a bit more humbly--to put it mildly. He needs her to teach him how to pass in high society, if they can manage to put old rivalries to bed. Soon, that's exactly where they end up But will Peyton still want her when he learns about the scandal that sent Ava from riches to rags?
Fantastic book - I loved the parallels to My Fair Lady. Ava was stunned to see Peyton back in Chicago. Back when they were in school he had sworn that he would never come back. She rescues him from a sticky situation and finds out why he is back.
I really liked both Ava and Peyton. Ava had been a true mean girl when she and Peyton had attended an exclusive private school. Her parents were rich and Ava had everything given to her. She was snobby and snotty and made life hell for those she saw as not fitting in. Peyton was a scholarship student from a bad part of Chicago. He was the star of the school hockey team, but other than that was not accepted by the other students. They had a short time when they were assigned to work together on a school project and spent time together. At the end of that project the heat that had been building propelled them into one incredible encounter, which they both called a mistake. At the end of the school year Peyton graduated and left town. Shortly after that Ava's circumstances changed and she was suddenly walking in Peyton's shoes.
I loved the changes that Ava had gone through and how she came out the other side. Spending her senior year at a different school in a different state as one of those scholarship students she had despised opened her eyes to a whole new world. Instead of going to an exclusive college, she worked her way through community college, earning a business degree. Then she put that degree to use, opening a store that carries high-end fashions that ordinary women can rent when they have need of them. She had seen the need and filled it. She is also one of her own best customers. She has become a much kinder and more sympathetic person.
Peyton left town and put his ambition to work for him. He is now the owner of a multimillion dollar business. But he is also still very rough around the edges and is ruthless in his business dealings. The members of his board of directors have told him that he needs to come to terms with his past and learn how to handle himself in the world he's now part of. But facing those memories sent him on a drinking binge that brought him together with Ava.
I loved the scene in the bar as she talked him down out of his obnoxious behavior then took him away. His confusion the next morning was fun to see. Seeing Ava reminded him of all his old insecurities and he was pretty obnoxious in his comments to her. He told her why he was there, then left, not expecting to see her again and glad to get away from the memories and the feelings that were still there.
It was fun seeing him show up at her store, basically begging for her help. He needs lessons on how to behave and the "Henry Higgins" he had hired just wasn't working out. I loved seeing their exchange as he tried to talk her into helping and she was trying to resist. Once she said yes and the lessons started it was great. The parallels to My Fair Lady were so much fun. It was funny watching her try to get him to stop cussing, especially since he admitted to himself that half the fun was watching her get all worked up. The scene in the matchmaker's office was hysterical, especially with the input that Ava had. It was also fun to see how much Ava was enjoying being with Peyton, even though she had started out just wanting to make amends for how terrible she'd been to him in the past.
The interactions between the two them during the lessons was wonderful. They really got into challenging each other over everything, but not in a nasty way. I loved seeing how their opinions about each other changed as they really got to know each other. The culminating scene at the ball was absolutely one of the best I have ever read. Ava and Peyton had finally grown into the people they were meant to be. The epilogue was a terrific wrap up.