Title: Girls Love Travis Walker
Author: Anne Pfeffer
Release Date: March 2013
Length: 323 pages
Source: CBB Book Promotions
He can charm any girl he meets, and yet down deep he fears he’ll always be a loser like his jailbird father. As the landlady threatens to evict him and his sick mother, Travis takes a job he hates and spends his evenings picking up girls at a nearby night spot.
When he enlists in a teen program at the local fire station, he finds out he’s amazing at it. Then he meets the smoking hot Kat Summers, enlists Kat’s friend Zoey to help him woo her, and falls in love for the first time ever.
But he keeps the details of his life secret. His girl will never love him back if she knows the truth about him…
Looking at the cover, I didn’t expect much from this book. My judgement was so very wrong.
I could’ve explained my problems but thought I’d do her a favor and let her peg me for an asshole early. She could do way better than me – she just didn’t know it.
Yes, Travis is a playboy, a jerk. The kind of guy that you would kill if he tried his moves on your daughter or the daughter of anyone you know. I find that this is his outlet, his escape from the realities of his life: his father’s a loser in prison, his mother is a basket case, and he’s dropped out of high school to work to support his family…but even a full-time job clearing brush isn’t enough to pay the bills. Travis goes in search of a second job, and strikes a deal with Zoey to work at the Community Center soup kitchen. This enables him to not have to take on an additional job, and he gets to know Zoey.
I was a quitter, a dropout. A nobody on the road to nowhere. But what was I supposed to do? Live in our car with Mom?
Travis takes his dad’s life choices, and that fact that he himself is a dropout, very seriously. Travis can’t see beyond dropout. He knows why he had to drop out, but he constantly calls himself a loser and downgrades himself for dropping out. He is extremely hard on himself.
As the novel progresses, Travis comes upon a wreck one day and steps into action. He is amazed at the firefighters that respond to the scene, and they praise him for his quick work in the face of the emergency. They invite him to their station, which has a Saturday program for high school students who are firefighter hopefuls. Travis decides to join the program, but there’s just one problem: he has to be enrolled in high school. He keeps going each Saturday, showing up all of the other guys, and getting on the ever-loving nerve of Garret, the rule-book lover and enforcer, who is in charge of the program. I thought the entire book, Garret would have it out for Travis because the Chief liked Travis, but I was pleasantly surprised and I immediately warmed to Garret.
I could tell her everything and be a loser, or keep my mouth shut and be an asshole. I was screwed either way.
Travis also starts morphing. He no longer goes to Chick’s to meet girls he’ll never talk to again. He is focused on paying the bills, the Discoverers program, and Zoey. I loved the changes I saw in Travis, the growth that he experienced and the internal struggles he had to overcome in order to express who he truly was and no longer hide behind the asshole facade. When everything crumbles around his ears, Travis holds it together, but hides it from Zoey. He knows that the second he opens his mouth and pours everything out, Zoey will be gone…but at the end of the day, she’s all he’s got left.
I highly recommend this read. Travis takes a long, hard, emotional journey throughout the book, and he is stronger than he looks, but sometimes too strong to let the emotional side of himself be expressed. Garret turns out to be a great guy who advocates for Travis and has his back. Zoey is a kind, sweet girl that grows in several ways when Travis walks into her life. She goes on her own emotional journey, prompted by Travis, and becomes a stronger person…too strong to deal with Travis’ seemingly lies.
I hate some of the things Travis does – the womanizing, specifically – but he is the type of underdog character you can’t help but love. Perhaps he reminds me a little of my own brother, who deep down is a good person, but sometimes chooses to look like an asshole. Travis is an endearing character, and I fell in love with the kindness and compassion that he showed throughout the novel.