Crash Test Love

( 95 )


The last thing Henry Arlington wants is a girlfriend. He's just very, very good with girls—reading their body language, knowing what they want to hear, and more importantly: getting them into the backseat of his car. But all that changes when he meets Garrett Lennox at one of the many Sweet Sixteen parties he crashes.
Garrett thinks she's done with guys. She was dumped by her ex when she moved from Chicago to Long Island, and now she ...

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Crash Test Love

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The last thing Henry Arlington wants is a girlfriend. He's just very, very good with girls—reading their body language, knowing what they want to hear, and more importantly: getting them into the backseat of his car. But all that changes when he meets Garrett Lennox at one of the many Sweet Sixteen parties he crashes.
Garrett thinks she's done with guys. She was dumped by her ex when she moved from Chicago to Long Island, and now she realizes that she needs to find out who she is by herself, instead of with a boyfriend. What she really needs is some good friends.
Fortunately for Garrett, the J Squad—the "it" girls of East Shore High School—want her in their clique. All she has to do is pass one little test: get East Shore god Henry Arlington to take her to one of the biggest Sweet Sixteens of the year, then dump him in front of everyone.
Garrett has promised herself not to fall for another guy, so playing with Henry's heart shouldn't be hard. Right?
And Henry doesn't fall for girls, so when he and Garrett start to click, it doesn't matter. Does it?
As William Shakespeare once said, "Love is blind," or in this case, the lovers may be, as Henry and Garrett fall in love—and into the trap that awaits them. Because neither of them can even begin to see what the girls of Henry Arlington's past have in store.
This hilarious, sharp, and surprisingly thoughtful novel is the teen Wedding Crashers, filled with love, hope, laughs, and surprising insights about the terrifying process of falling in love.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Henry Arlington is a self-confessed ladies' man (his personal rules include "Never tell a girl your real name" and "No hos before bros"). But all it takes is a chance encounter with knockout new girl Garrett, and he is contemplating breaking another rule--no girlfriends. Their relationship evolves in alternating firstperson chapters; Henry becomes more sympathetic as it becomes clear that his attitude toward women stems from abandonment by his mother, though his love of film (evidenced mostly by conversations that appear in screenplay format) feels as artificial as the incorporation of song titles and lyrics into Garrett's narration--"Then my thoughts turn to Ben and ‘The Day We Fell Apart' (Kelly Clarkson, 2009)." The secondary characters, from the J Squad clique to Henry's oafish cohorts, never amount to more than stereotypes. Still, the emotional intensity--sometimes passionate, sometimes tender--that develops between Garrett and Henry should help some readers care about them enough to want to find out whether, against the odds, they can make their love work. Ages 14-up. (June)
From the Publisher
"Ted Michael has found a totally unique (and irresistible) teen novel formula with his new book — think Wedding Crashers meets John Tucker Must Die. Be sure to check out this hilarious (and honest) portrait of what high school romances are really like."

"A heartening, sweet story - as refreshing as a road trip in a convertible with your funniest friend behind the wheel. I loved this book so much, I was laughing the whole way through!" — Lauren Kate, New York Times bestselling author of Fallen

School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Self-proclaimed player and party crasher Henry Arlington has every intention of following the "Crasher Code" that he and his buddies established, including never being with the same girl twice. But while cruising a Sweet Sixteen party with a fictitious identity, he meets beautiful and intriguing Garrett Lennox. New to East Shore High School, she struggles to make friends among the cliques of the senior class. While Henry ignores her and perpetuates the rumor that they hooked up at the party, Garrett is given a proposal by three mean girls, the J Squad. Lonely and missing her ex-boyfriend back in Chicago, she decides to accept the trio's challenge—in exchange for membership in their group, she must convince Henry to be her boyfriend and then dump him at a hotly anticipated, MTV-aired Sweet Sixteen party. As readers will anticipate, they wind up forming real feelings for one another and are faced with the consequences of their separate deceptions. Using interspersed movie-script format for dialogue and song references throughout, the narrative is trendy and indulgent. The evolution of Garrett's and Henry's characters is difficult to believe, and the supporting characters are stock and one- dimensional. However, romance fans will enjoy the familiar theme of reluctant, ill-fated love and entertainment aficionados will appreciate the popular-culture references. While the events surrounding the demise of the relationship stretch believability, the ending is realistic if not rewarding.—Lynn Rashid, Marriotts Ridge High School, Marriottsville, MD
Kirkus Reviews
Henry is "not the girlfriend type of guy." He enjoys crashing Sweet Sixteen parties with his buddies Duke and Nigel and conning gullible, pretty girls into sex. When he meets Garrett, though, Henry rethinks his boyfriend potential. Garrett desperately wants to be accepted at her new high school in her senior year, and the key to that is the "J Squad" clique. The admission price is to hook Henry and then publicly dump him in retaliation for how he's treated them. Predictably, Henry falls in love with Garrett, and she develops feelings for him, too. Their mutual love of motion pictures draws them together, but in the end, Garrett breaks up with Henry, although not for the J Squad. Henry is heartbroken but has the expected epiphanies about relationships, sex, etc. Neither Henry nor Garrett is particularly well developed, despite alternating first-person narrations (occasionally punctuated by script-like dialogue), nor is either especially likable. The movie-fan angle gives some novelty to a familiar story but not enough to make it more than mediocre escapism. (Fiction. 14 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385735803
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 6/8/2010
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 1,018,737
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: HL640L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.12 (w) x 5.28 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Ted Michael

Ted Michael was born in 1984 and grew up in Roslyn Heights, New York. He is a graduate of Columbia University and the Juilliard School and is a Presidential Scholar in the Arts. His first novel, The Diamonds, is available from Delacorte Press.

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Read an Excerpt



I am not the girlfriend type of guy.

I want to get it out there and be completely honest.

I am not the girlfriend type of guy.

I won’t: hold your hand, buy you flowers, have dinner with your parents.

I will: kiss you until your legs collapse and you beg me to lift you up and start all over again.

I’m sorry if that hurts your feelings, ladies, but you should know exactly what you’re getting into.

It’s only fair.


I am bored.


And I was like, really, you like my hair like this? On top of my head?


(blank stare)


Because I think it looks better in braids. I know that sounds so third grade, but it’s true!


(blank stare)


Don’t you agree, Reinaldo?


(even blanker stare)


Reinaldo? Hel-lo?

I forget she is talking to me because my name is not Reinaldo. It’s what I told her my name is, though, so it makes sense she’s calling me that. I try to remember her name—Marissa? Marisol? Something with an M?—but I can’t. I suddenly wish I hadn’t suggested we leave the party to be alone in my car. It’s much easier to tune someone out in a large group. But here we are, in the back of my Jeep. I think about how many girls I’ve been with in this very same position. Our legs are touching, and even though it’s the time I would normally make my move, I have a gnawing feeling this is not going to happen. Whoever this girl is sitting next to me, she seems incredibly . . . young. But it’s still worth a shot.


Did you hear a single thing I just said?


Maybe you should take your dress off—it’s really hot in here.


(giving me a look I don’t even have to describe)

You are a pig, Reinaldo! A pig!

She slams my car door behind her as she leaves. I am slightly upset. Not because I liked her (she was boring) or because she thinks I’m a pig (I am) or even because it’s pretty clear I’m not getting any tonight; I am upset because I can usually pick them pretty well. Girls, that is. I can see a girl and know within seconds what her deal is. What she likes and what she hates and whether she moans when she’s being kissed. It’s a talent I have. Some people are good with numbers. I am good with women.

Just not this one. The Hello Kitty hair clip should’ve tipped me off.

I get out of my car. It’s dark, but not too dark. Even though I’m standing in the parking lot I can hear the noise coming from inside the hotel. Music. Dance music. You should know that I love to dance. Love to dance. Not professionally or anything, but in a club where it’s loud and crazy. That’s one of the reasons I dig parties. I like to have a good time. And there’s nothing wrong with that—despite what anybody says.

This particular party is a Sweet Sixteen for a girl who goes to my high school. Usually when I crash Sweet Sixteens, I like to go where no one knows me and I can pretend to be someone else entirely. I get a rush from sneaking into a party I wasn’t invited to and dancing. Well, not just dancing. Finding a cute girl to hook up with and hopefully making a little mischief in the process. Escaping the monotony of life for a few hours. Duke and Nigel (my co-crashers) have never understood this about me, and they probably never will. They just think crashing parties is fun. They don’t know firsthand the need to escape. To flee. To invent fake names and fake pasts and know that someone, some girl, actually believes it all. This makes me feel powerful. It also makes me kind of an asshole, but I don’t really care.

This is probably why I love movies so much. The idea of transforming into an entirely different person on-screen than who you are in real life. You would think that’d make me a wannabe actor, but I’m not. I do want to study film in college, though, and write screenplays. Like Charlie Kaufman or Alan Ball or Joel and Ethan Coen. I want to make movies, to create something from nothing. Every day I imagine my interactions as part of one big script; I see things as if my whole existence is on film. I’ve been this way for a while now, and I can’t imagine changing anytime soon. I want to be a writer so I can hide behind a computer or even a pen and paper and make decisions by myself. Without anyone interfering. Without anyone saying no.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 95 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 95 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 24, 2011


    i loved loved LOVED this book!!! i felt that Henry's and Garret's personalities were well-rounded and the plot was good. but i must agree with other reviewers, the ending sucked. i mean, i get the lesson that the author was trying to convey and all and i think that he did an amazing job! maybe too great of a job... **spoilers**spoilers** i mean seriously! after all that talk of "happy endings", why couldn't they have one? but it's still an awesome read <3

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 7, 2011

    Horrible Ending

    Honestly, this book would have been on my list of top ten romance books, despite the petty and annoying mean girl friendship, and i would have gladly given it five stars but really? I mean REALLY? I could think of numerous different ending that would have been a hell of a lot less disapointing! But, since theres nothing i can do about the actual ending of this book i guess i can just warn others that although i would definitely encourage reading this book, because it was reall

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2011

    crash test love

    the ending of this book was a disappointment

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2012

    Loved It

    I loved it but i think it needs like a sequel. I wish henry and garrett would have gotten together. :( but i still loved it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2012


    The only reason this book didnt get a 5 star was cuz the the ending sucked to a high made me kinda wish i nvr read the book cuz i inly like books with happy endings..if the ending was different it would have been x10000000000000 better

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2011

    Crash Test Love Book Review

    It¿s about this new girl, Garrett, who, in order to secure a place with the J Squad, the most influential girls at school, has to attend the biggest Sweet Sixteen party of the year with Henry, the popular and notorious God of East Shore, and dump him in front of everyone.

    Yes yes. Cliche right? Right, but I extremely enjoyed it. It was told from both male and female perspective and while I usually hate reading stories like that, the author nailed both characters great. And what surprised me even more. The author¿s a guy. Not that men can¿t portray woman¿s feelings accurately (ie. Shakespeare) or anything. But I¿m a fan nonetheless, and I want to read his other book now.

    The thing that really got me were the little details (like all books should, but sometimes I read a book and feel nothing from it). How Michael could pinpoint all the emotions of the characters perfectly and it totally made me ¿aww.¿ How both characters, guy and girl, were extremely flawed and stupid and human. How the climax was the best part because it totally caught me by surprise. I loved all the song and movie references and I¿m glad it ended with the audience to determine whether or not they ended up together (I really hope they did). However, when I think about the book in general I realize it¿s totally impractical that this situation would ever happen.

    Reading the book only reminded me of how I subconsciously compare boys in real like to be the characters I read from a story. I¿ve actually never met a boy like someone I would read out of a book. And I think because of this I never hold out on the possibility of ¿love¿ or even getting to know someone for that matter in the generation of young adults that I¿ve met or will possibly meet in the future. I should probably change this, but I haven¿t met anyone that¿s made me think twice of putting myself out there.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2011


    I personally didn't like the endind, but not all real-life relationships have a sugar coated break-up and re-hook-up. No. Life hates us too mutch to be that kind...

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  • Posted September 6, 2011

    Best book alive

    I absolutly LOVED this book! I hate reading so much and I stayed up for 2 and a half hours straight, till 1:30 a.m, just to finish this book! It has also tought me a lot about love and relationships. It even made me cry. I highly recomend this book!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2011

    Not a good ending! =(

    I reaally like this book except for the ending!!! Why couldn't they be together? I expected a better ending! Anyway it was a good book..!

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  • Posted May 5, 2011

    I recommend this book

    This book is a great read but i have say that i repulse the ending of this book. It was a great read all the way up to the end. I know that most peole say the like unsubtal endings but this was rediculous i dint want that type of ending i wanted more on the lines of ordinary endings. besides the preceding dislikes i reccomend the book.

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  • Posted January 3, 2011


    This book is so good! I loved that it was told from both main character's view points, which I think was necessary for the plot. I also liked that the story line was something that could totally happen in real life; nothing about this book seemed fake/unreal at all. The ending definitely surprised me, but once I thought about it, I believe it was the best ending for the book. I thought there was only one downside -- I thought it was a bit slow in a couple parts. I would highly recommend it and would be surprised if there was someone who did not like it!

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  • Posted September 6, 2010


    This book was totally awesome! It has twists and turns that you would never expect! YOu will love the beginning, middle, and mabye even the ending....who knows, maybe you will read it again. This book is about a girl, Garrett, that has to mess with the Man-Slut of the school, and get really close to him, but then dump in front of everyone and on television. Will she fall for henry, or will she dump him right away? You can read and find out!

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  • Posted August 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jaglvr for

    Henry Arlington is a player. He and his best friends enjoy crashing Sweet Sixteen parties all around Long Island and picking up girls there. He never goes out with a girl again, once he dumps her. So he wasn't prepared for Garrett Lennox. Henry meets Garrett at one such party. She's so different from the other girls, and he breaks one of the rules he and his friends invented...he tells her his real name.

    Imagine Henry's surprise when he returns to school only to find Garrett there. Garrett's family has moved from Chicago to New York. Garrett is noticed her first day by none other than the most popular girls at her new school. Garrett knows they are trouble, but she realizes they could make her school year much better. There's only one catch with these girls...for Garrett to be a full- fledged member of their group, she has to get Henry to take her to THE Sweet Sixteen party of the season - and then she has to dump him in front of everyone.

    As you can imagine with that scenario, it doesn't go smoothly for either Henry or Garrett. Henry falls hard and fast for Garrett. And Garrett finds Henry endearing. She doesn't want to hurt him, but she needs good girl friends to make the year go well for her.

    I enjoyed CRASH TEST LOVE far more than THE DIAMONDS, also by Mr. Michael. However, the two stories are quite different, so that could be the main reason I enjoyed it more. The differing points of view were perfect for the story. The author creates Henry in a way that you want to hate him for being such a player, but he gets under your skin and you really start hoping that everything ends well for both Henry and Garrett.

    I took CRASH TEST LOVE to the beach, and it was a perfect distraction for me. It was an easy book to get lost in, and I didn't want it to end.

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  • Posted June 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Entertaining and Addictive!

    My Rating: 4.5

    Crash Test Love was an amusing story about teens who deal with peer pressure and falling in love for the first time. Ted Michael's writing was fast-paced, entertaining and addictive. The story wasn't necessarily new but the author's interpretation was refreshing. Garrett, the female protagonist, was a gorgeous and intelligent teenager. She just moved to Long Island, New York from Chicago which labeled her the "new girl" at school. Coming into a new school with no friends was difficult and it got even harder once she started dealing with the J Squad. A group of popular girls who were manipulative, conceited and ignorant. I seriously did not like their attitudes and hoped Garrett wouldn't give into peer pressure.

    Now, the main character Henry, was a good-looking heart breaker with a complex personality. At first he came off like a total jerk but, there was something that pulled me to him. I understood why all the girls gravitated to him, even though they knew he was bad news. He was known to crash Sweet Sixteen parties with his two best friends, Duke and Nigel. They were both hilarious and not the brightest colors in the crayon box. Their goofy personalities reminded me of Tweetle Dee and Tweedle Dum. All of them planned to pick up chicks and seal the deal. However, the only person who seemed to have luck was Henry. He never expected to ever fall for a girl until Garrett walked into his life.

    Garrett initially liked him until the J Squad approached her to use Henry and to humiliate him at the Sweet Sixteen where MTV was going to be filming. She had major decisions to make and the struggle within herself was frustrating. Their relationship developed interestingly enough even with their hidden agendas. I thought they were simply adorable together. But, once there are secrets involved, it changes the course of things. I don't want to give too much away because the story has many aspects to it. Overall, the ending was bittersweet but well-balanced. Ted Michael's story-telling was amazingly written and I can't wait to read his future releases. Crash Test Love was a fun ride and I recommend it to those who are looking for a light and funny read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2010

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    Posted March 22, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2011

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