Review: Blaine for the Win by Robbie Couch

Review by Samwise McGinn

Robbie Couch is a breakthrough author in the young adult genre, publishing his debut novel in 2021. In 2022, Couch published the novel Blaine for the Win. I am always skeptical about contemporary novels, especially when the story takes place in a high school. However, I was utterly blown away by this story. The writing is humorous, playful, and charming, while still capturing the obnoxiousness that is the high school experience. 

This story follows Blaine, a junior in high school who does not get the best grades but makes up for it with his big heart and passion for art. His (now ex) boyfriend is especially popular, the senior class president, and rich, which Joey explains is why they are incompatible. Blaine is crushed and spends his spring break laying in bed, despairing at the loss of his dream boyfriend who dumped him on their one-year anniversary at the fanciest restaurant in town. 

Blaine’s friends help dig him out of the depths of his depression by getting him an artistic project at the local coffee shop they all love to go to. However, he declines, explaining he needs time to think and maybe take the season off from his art, admitting that this is indeed related to the breakup. After thinking for a minute about what he wants to do moving forward with his life, he decides to win Joey back by running for student council president. 

The reason that Blaine thinks that this will win his ex back is that Joey, himself, is the current student council president for the senior class. With the memory of Joey calling Blaine too “unserious” for him to date, Blaine wants to prove that he can be an austere person as well. Thus, if he can win this coveted position, Joey could, hypothetically, take Blaine back. 

Blaine realizes that running for student council president is going to be an uphill battle for someone who has had no presence with their peers. His friend group is reluctant to assist him in this endeavor, but knows how important it is to him. Their support helps him through some of the most trying times thus far in his life and even gives him space to feel his pain and grow from it. 

The quote that will best show what I mean is “Never give someone else the authority to dictate your self-worth.”

This story in essence is about healthy growth, while also accepting that you shouldn’t have to change for someone else. This story is heartwarming, hysterical, and full of little nuggets of wisdom. This novel is a fast-paced read that keeps you on your toes and laughing with every turn of the page.