Seven Percent of Ro Devereux | Ellen O’Clover


Seven Percent of Ro Devereux by Ellen O’Clover

Out now from HarperTeen; 320 pages

Content Warning: Parent abandonment, attempted sexual assault, strong language, underage drinking, character dying of cancer, death of a loved one, mention of depression

About the Author: “I write YA novels about finding your people, falling in love, and figuring it all out (or trying to, anyway). But I wrote a lot of other stuff first: I grew up in Columbus, Ohio, where I wrote piles of angsty love poems at the Thurber House Young Writers’ Studio, and then moved to Baltimore where I spent four years writing grim, minimalist short stories at the Johns Hopkins University. Since then, I’ve written a bunch of ads for a bunch of brands. But always, always my heart has tugged me toward YA and the types of stories I grew up reading. The ones that made me fall in love with writing in the first place. And today you can read my debut novel, SEVEN PERCENT OF RO DEVEREUX, out now from HarperTeen! Writing—like so much in life—is a journey. I’m really glad your journey brought you here” (Bio taken from author’s website).

Find Ellen O’Clover on the following platforms:

“Human behavior’s ninety-three percent predictable. MASH peers into your brain, takes a look around, and uses those predictable patterns to show you what the future looks like.”

Ro Devereux’s passion for algorithms and interest in behavioral science created the perfect senior project: an app called MASH, based on the game “Mansion Apartment Shack House.” Ro’s project quickly makes waves on social media when her app goes viral. Now she just has to prove the app works by falling in love with her one true MASH-match: her former best friend, Miller. With both of their futures on the line, Ro and Miller have to move past their history and pull off the greatest media-trained love affair the internet has ever seen. 

As someone who has played MASH many times, an app based on this iconic game was a promising premise. Right off the bat, I fell in love with Ro, her family, and the ensemble of characters we meet throughout the story. Ro is determined and fierce, and her emotional arc feels relatable and authentic. A major part of Ro’s arc is grappling with the fact that her mother left when Ro was a baby while also dealing with the changing relationships with her dad and grandmother figure. These relationships are explored with nuance, and they reveal how complex familial love can be. I also enjoyed how Ro’s story put a fun spin on tropes like childhood-best-friends-to-enemies-to-lovers and fake dating. Seven Percent is advertised as a slow burn, and I definitely think we get that build up and pay off with Ro and Miller. In addition to family and romance, a really compelling aspect of this book is the focus on app development and influencer culture. There are keen moments of clarity on the manipulation of social media and marketing schemes, particularly when it comes to celebrity couples and trendy new products. Without giving too much away, Ro is challenged to be true to herself as the creator of the app while navigating a competitive and fast-paced tech developer lifestyle. This is something that made the book stand out to me, especially in our current social media-obsessed culture. 

Ellen O’Clover’s debut balances a whirlwind of love, grief, and fame in a perfect contemporary novel that reminds us life isn’t dictated by algorithms. You may think you can predict how this book will end 93% of the time, and still, that 7% will make your heart race with eager anticipation. 

(Pine Reads Review would like to thank SparkPoint Studio for sending us an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change upon final publication.)

PRR Assistant Director, Erika Brittain


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