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Better Than the Best Plan

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Lauren Morrill's Better Than the Best Plan is a fresh, funny, romantic YA novel about a teenage girl who finds an unexpected silver lining in her life when plans get turned upside down. Plans are made to be broken. It's the last day of junior year, and seventeen-year-old Ritzy--short for Maritza--is pretty sure she has a great plan. Summer job--check. Hang with friends at Lauren Morrill's Better Than the Best Plan is a fresh, funny, romantic YA novel about a teenage girl who finds an unexpected silver lining in her life when plans get turned upside down. Plans are made to be broken. It's the last day of junior year, and seventeen-year-old Ritzy--short for Maritza--is pretty sure she has a great plan. Summer job--check. Hang with friends at the beach--check. Keep looking after herself as she's been doing since her mom bailed to follow her bliss--check. Or no check? After someone reports that Ritzy is living alone, a social worker shows up and puts her into foster care. That's surprise enough. Even more surprising? Ritzy has been in foster care before, as an infant, and the woman who cared for her then takes her in again. But maybe the greatest surprise of all for Ritzy is that living with her foster mother, Kristin, in Kristin's gorgeous house, isn't all that bad. And neither is the cute, friendly boy next door. If Ritzy's mom hadn't gotten her back all those years ago, this is the life she could have had. But is it the life she should have had? When Ritzy's old life catches up with her new one, she has some decisions to make. Can she plan for the worst, but still hope for the best?


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Lauren Morrill's Better Than the Best Plan is a fresh, funny, romantic YA novel about a teenage girl who finds an unexpected silver lining in her life when plans get turned upside down. Plans are made to be broken. It's the last day of junior year, and seventeen-year-old Ritzy--short for Maritza--is pretty sure she has a great plan. Summer job--check. Hang with friends at Lauren Morrill's Better Than the Best Plan is a fresh, funny, romantic YA novel about a teenage girl who finds an unexpected silver lining in her life when plans get turned upside down. Plans are made to be broken. It's the last day of junior year, and seventeen-year-old Ritzy--short for Maritza--is pretty sure she has a great plan. Summer job--check. Hang with friends at the beach--check. Keep looking after herself as she's been doing since her mom bailed to follow her bliss--check. Or no check? After someone reports that Ritzy is living alone, a social worker shows up and puts her into foster care. That's surprise enough. Even more surprising? Ritzy has been in foster care before, as an infant, and the woman who cared for her then takes her in again. But maybe the greatest surprise of all for Ritzy is that living with her foster mother, Kristin, in Kristin's gorgeous house, isn't all that bad. And neither is the cute, friendly boy next door. If Ritzy's mom hadn't gotten her back all those years ago, this is the life she could have had. But is it the life she should have had? When Ritzy's old life catches up with her new one, she has some decisions to make. Can she plan for the worst, but still hope for the best?

30 review for Better Than the Best Plan

  1. 5 out of 5

    emma

    Here's the thing. I said I was going to review this book when I had more feelings on it, but the issue is that I don't feel anything about this at all. This was a totally meh read for me. In all sincerity, I have nothing else to say. That's the review. -------- this is a book that i read. the above comprises just about all of the feelings i have on this at the moment, so...review to come when i have more of them? 2 stars -------- this book looks like summer incarnate so i am of course obligated to read Here's the thing. I said I was going to review this book when I had more feelings on it, but the issue is that I don't feel anything about this at all. This was a totally meh read for me. In all sincerity, I have nothing else to say. That's the review. -------- this is a book that i read. the above comprises just about all of the feelings i have on this at the moment, so...review to come when i have more of them? 2 stars -------- this book looks like summer incarnate so i am of course obligated to read it immediately (thanks to FSG for the ARC)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    Take a nifty summer trip to coastal Florida! Ritzi or Maritza, is living with her “free spirit” mom, going into the summer before her senior year. Her mom “discovers herself” anew every few months, dragging poor Ritzi along for the ride. They’ve been all over the country, been vegans, lived on communes, abolished nightshades, eaten everything raw, and now her mom wants to go to a school in Mexico where she will learn spiritual cleansing and each level will earn her a pebble, then ten pebbles Take a nifty summer trip to coastal Florida! Ritzi or Maritza, is living with her “free spirit” mom, going into the summer before her senior year. Her mom “discovers herself” anew every few months, dragging poor Ritzi along for the ride. They’ve been all over the country, been vegans, lived on communes, abolished nightshades, eaten everything raw, and now her mom wants to go to a school in Mexico where she will learn spiritual cleansing and each level will earn her a pebble, then ten pebbles earn her a stone, and soon she can teach others to be cleansed. Ritzi is like, whatever mom, but it’s senior year, I actually need to graduate, and we’re barely making rent! Basically, mom ditches Ritzi alone in Florida, and she gets put into foster care, and it turns out to be the same foster care she was in as a young child (surprise!) This one had an interesting cast of side characters, an ongoing mystery to unravel, and I liked the main character. Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    DNF. At 150 pages in, I realized I just didn't feel anything for the story or characters. I really wanted to see this angle on foster care discussed, but the emotion wasn't there on the page. Sorry, book. I'm moving on.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Possibly my new favorite from Lauren Morrill (I'll have to reread My Unscripted Life to be sure) this book was really good! I really liked Ritzy and I loved Kris. I can tell that I'm officially in Momland now because I saw everything from Kris's point of view so much clearer! Lol! This book was really enjoyable and felt like I should have been reading it while at the beach!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Caro Herrera

    As a social worker who is used to books that portray social workers as total incompetent idiots who are too burnt out to care anymore, with whom kids never actually feel comfortable, and with no fashion sense to boot, I just want to take a minute to say thank you to the author for including a competent, well-dressed, put-together social worker who forms an actual bond with the main character in this book. Also, this book was a fast read, and it was very sweet, cute, and endearing. There are a As a social worker who is used to books that portray social workers as total incompetent idiots who are too burnt out to care anymore, with whom kids never actually feel comfortable, and with no fashion sense to boot, I just want to take a minute to say thank you to the author for including a competent, well-dressed, put-together social worker who forms an actual bond with the main character in this book. Also, this book was a fast read, and it was very sweet, cute, and endearing. There are a couple relationship things I would have liked to see get hashed out a bit more because maybe they felt a little bit too easy (i.e., Lainey) but for the most part I really enjoyed this book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Trudi

    Ritzy is abandoned by her mom at the age of 17 and she is placed in a well-off foster home until she is legally allowed to be on her own. Her foster parents have rules and expectations that she never had to deal with when living with her mom. And then she meets a boy who plays tennis and fights with his dad. Super sweet read all about family, friends, and what's it like to live on "both sides of the tracks".

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Adding this one to my extremely exclusive "Almost Like a Sarah Dessen Book" list...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    3.5 stars Summer read? Yes and it's a super quick, happy one at that. Love & romance? Just a wee little bit, more of a budding romance type of story. It's really the best part of the story. Depth? It tried but then it fell apart at the end when one main character had a personality-lobotomy that I personally feel can't happen in real life (personal experience). Me thinks the author should have stuck the course with her story and not gone the direction she ended up going with the story. I was 3.5 stars Summer read? Yes and it's a super quick, happy one at that. Love & romance? Just a wee little bit, more of a budding romance type of story. It's really the best part of the story. Depth? It tried but then it fell apart at the end when one main character had a personality-lobotomy that I personally feel can't happen in real life (personal experience). Me thinks the author should have stuck the course with her story and not gone the direction she ended up going with the story. I was reading the ARC so hopefully this got fixed in the final copy. Crossing my fingers on that one! Overall, a good beachy, summer YA read. Just nothing earth-shattering, ya know?

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lisa (Remarkablylisa)

    it was just overall such a BLAND book. I was only reading to get more juice/tea of the main oc's perspective and seeing the male oc's problems. his problems had been done before so many times i snored. full review to come.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

    This is a perfect YA summer read. If you're a Sarah Dessen fan, PICK THIS ONE UP!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Erin Colvin

    This was really interesting- entering a foster home at age 17. Was a good book about family and relationships. Teens will enjoy this sweet book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    Ritzy is used to her mother's flaky demeanor and plans; so when she takes off to Mexico one morning Ritzy isn't all that surprised. When her mother is still MIA two weeks later, Ritzy begins to worry and then she really, really starts to worry when a social worker comes to place her in foster care. But foster care is something Ritzy wasn't at all expecting, especially when her foster mother is someone who has already cared for her. As she settles into this new life, Ritzy begins to relax and Ritzy is used to her mother's flaky demeanor and plans; so when she takes off to Mexico one morning Ritzy isn't all that surprised. When her mother is still MIA two weeks later, Ritzy begins to worry and then she really, really starts to worry when a social worker comes to place her in foster care. But foster care is something Ritzy wasn't at all expecting, especially when her foster mother is someone who has already cared for her. As she settles into this new life, Ritzy begins to relax and pretty soon she meets Spencer, the boy next door that has problems of his own. When Ritzy's mother re-enters the picture after months of no contact Ritzy doesn't know what to do; she has fallen for Kristen and Pete but she still loves her mother. This book was a slow burn for me, but when I fell I fell hard. I loved how Morrill wrote about family; how family is sometimes blood, sometimes friends but family always, always puts what is best for you first. Thanks to MacMillan for the ARC!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan for the E-arc copy of this novel. I found myself loving this book the more pages I read. It is at the heart about family and the choices they and we make for ourselves as we grown up. Ritzy learns first hand that what we choose and how we deal with those choices will influence us going forward into our future. We love our family, Ritzy's birth mom, but that doesn't mean they make the best life for us. I love this book for teens who have the maturity to Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan for the E-arc copy of this novel. I found myself loving this book the more pages I read. It is at the heart about family and the choices they and we make for ourselves as we grown up. Ritzy learns first hand that what we choose and how we deal with those choices will influence us going forward into our future. We love our family, Ritzy's birth mom, but that doesn't mean they make the best life for us. I love this book for teens who have the maturity to understand that family is more than blood. Families can be what you make them. A group of individuals who care for your emotional and physical well being without having to be ask or made to care about you.

  14. 4 out of 5

    April

    Better Than The Best Plan by Lauren Morrill came into my life at the best possible time. I was coming off of a longer, more involved sort of book and really wanted to read a book that would absorb all my attention. This book did that! It absolutely grabbed me immediately and I am so thrilled that it did. Read my full review here

  15. 4 out of 5

    lauren

    this was the first of Lauren Morrill's books that i've read and i loved it. i don't read a ton of YA and wasn't sure what to expect, but Ritzy is a smart, relatable character who i would like to know in real life. though this book touched on some serious topics, it was a very fun read and i raced through it. it was a perfect little gem for summer :)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Crystal ✬ Lost in Storyland

    Better Than the Best Plan hooked me from the first pages. The characters fit into standard tropes. I never felt like I got to know them beyond a superficial level. Nevertheless, the protagonists are likable. Maritza is nice girl who enjoys to read, has a crush on a cute boy, and thinks carefully about her future. She’s mature for her age, having had to take on so many responsibilities at home. And she enjoys a good book. I loved seeing Martiza’s relationships with her foster parents and Spencer, Better Than the Best Plan hooked me from the first pages. The characters fit into standard tropes. I never felt like I got to know them beyond a superficial level. Nevertheless, the protagonists are likable. Maritza is nice girl who enjoys to read, has a crush on a cute boy, and thinks carefully about her future. She’s mature for her age, having had to take on so many responsibilities at home. And she enjoys a good book. I loved seeing Martiza’s relationships with her foster parents and Spencer, the cute boy next door, blossom. Seeing her learn what it means for a parental figure to provide security and stability, even if it means placing boundaries on her freedom. And seeing her learn that the wealthy don’t all coast through life; the teens work during the summer too, if at nicer establishments, and experience conflicts with parental figures. If any character breaks the tropes, it’s Spencer. Spencer initially comes off an the arrogant rich boy, but he’s actually not the troubled jerk hiding a nice heart. He’s a genuinely kind person, albeit with some issues of his own, who thinks about others and, like Maritza, is carefully considering his future. I especially love his relationship with his rowdy younger brother. Ryan was born with a gestational amputation and is missing one of his forearms, but he’s super hyperactive and finds ways to work around his disability. Spencer is an advocate for treating his younger brother normally, and he demonstrates this by example. He’s also fixing up a car and enjoys playing tennis competitively, though he doesn’t plan to go pro. The book progresses quickly from scene to scene, never lingering long on any one character, activity, or setting. This causes some discontinuity in the story. For example, Maritza is roped into creating a children’s program for a July 4th celebration. After she accepts the role, the next time the program comes up is on the day of the performance. Still, enough is given that I understood where the story was going, and the end didn’t come as a surprise, though it felt rushed. Pretty much everything wraps up in the last few chapters, some a little too neatly and some given to us without showing us the process. Although the problems and central conflicts of the novel resolve rather quickly and neatly, Better than the Best Plan is an enjoyable, heartwarming story about the importance of communication in relationships, finding first love and new love, and opening oneself to new beginnings. As it takes place during summer vacation and features some beach scenes (set in Florida, by the way), it’s perfect for a summer read. INITIAL THOUGHTS Hooked me in from the beginning. I did feel like I'd only just plashed into the characters' lives. The ending felt rushed, but it is conclusive. I enjoyed my stay with this book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lana

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book was an easy read for me. I read it in two days. I kept waiting for the moment she really connected with her foster parents but I didn't feel it. From the blurb I was under the impression she actually connected to Kris and Pete but it never happened. I liked this book but it was also a huge let down. Most of the time good foster parents aren't represented in books and this had a very good example of good foster parents. Matriza was almost always out with her old friends, new friends, This book was an easy read for me. I read it in two days. I kept waiting for the moment she really connected with her foster parents but I didn't feel it. From the blurb I was under the impression she actually connected to Kris and Pete but it never happened. I liked this book but it was also a huge let down. Most of the time good foster parents aren't represented in books and this had a very good example of good foster parents. Matriza was almost always out with her old friends, new friends, her job always out, and she avoided talking to Kris at almost every turn. Most people would probably find this a boring read. I honestly felt like nothing happened. Just a teenage girl going out and having fun with some inner turmoil. I called the romance between Ali, ritzys crush, and Lainey, matriza's bff. That was predictable from the first time you see them all 3 together. Spence and Matriza were pretty nice to see. I thought they were cute and it's like one of the few things I actually liked about the book. I hated the ending. I get why she chose to stay with Kris and Pete but still have a connection with her mom, but her mom didn't seem sorry at all about the situation. I felt like she would have just done the classes and requirments to get her back but still be flaky and probably eventually leave her again. I am glad she is giving her foster parents another chance but like I said I saw no connection which was disappointing. There were only a few moments were she somewhat let them in, but even that was really small. Overall I don't recommend, but if you want to read it it's not that bad and its a cuteish little read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Greene

    I'm torn on how to rate this. I enjoyed reading it and flew through it, but I feel like it lacked a lot of depth that it had the potential for. The premise is great, with Maritza being abandoned by her mother and placed in a foster home, facing a new life and having to confront her mother's obvious pitfalls...but it just didn't really develop the way it could have. We really don't get to see any of the characters' emotions, see them wrestling and working through difficult situations, etc. I'm torn on how to rate this. I enjoyed reading it and flew through it, but I feel like it lacked a lot of depth that it had the potential for. The premise is great, with Maritza being abandoned by her mother and placed in a foster home, facing a new life and having to confront her mother's obvious pitfalls...but it just didn't really develop the way it could have. We really don't get to see any of the characters' emotions, see them wrestling and working through difficult situations, etc. Everything just sort of...happens...and is happily ever after, without really *dealing* with things. So, while a good book, just had the potential to be so much better.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Layla Smith

    A very enjoyable summer read! I very much liked the characters of Ritzy, Kat, and Spencer, but most of all I loved Ryan. Spencer's younger brother was definitely the scene stealer whenever he was around. I liked how the story progressed and showed that while change it is hard, it can be a good thing. The growth that Ritzy makes in a short time was good, and it was nice to she see her going from the responsible one in the guardian-child relationship, to learning how to be an everyday teen.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joann M

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A perfect anytime read. You don't see/read to many clean YA nowadays and this fits the bill. It does have a few cuss words but I recommend every teen to read this! Will not be my last book from this author

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    Cute, light read with some heavy topics thrown in.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Janelle Hackbarth

    This is the third book I've read by this author, and it certainly won't be my last. After being left to fend for herself by her single-parent mother, Ritzy is discovered by social services and forced to live with a Foster mother she had when she was a baby on a Floridian island called Helena. As she starts adjusting to life there, what will happen when her past returns? I really enjoyed this book, loving the setting the most. I also enjoyed that things were not only new to us readers but new to This is the third book I've read by this author, and it certainly won't be my last. After being left to fend for herself by her single-parent mother, Ritzy is discovered by social services and forced to live with a Foster mother she had when she was a baby on a Floridian island called Helena. As she starts adjusting to life there, what will happen when her past returns? I really enjoyed this book, loving the setting the most. I also enjoyed that things were not only new to us readers but new to her as well. The changes in the book felt realistic. They weren't all of a sudden or forced or rushed. They happened naturally. I wouldn't mind seeing a little short story to this story. Maybe even a little Christmas story. All in all, this is a good light beach read with some contemporary romance in it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    This was such a fun summer read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    Perfect for summer and lounging at the pool or the beach, BETTER THAN THE BEST PLAN is my favorite Lauren Morrill book yet! This book hits all the marks of a classic YA summer rom-com while still telling a fresh story and giving you characters you enjoy spending time with (and don't feel like you've already read a million times).

  25. 4 out of 5

    Candice (Beachwood Schoolhouse)

    A quick summer beach read is how I would describe this. I love to sit by a pool during the summer and this was the perfect story to dive into poolside. Expecting a bit deeper on the foster care, child neglect I was surprised she sort of zips through that and concentrates more on Ritzy’s adjustment to living with her rich foster mom. I can see that appealing to those teenage readers wanting more of fun storyline and less thought provoking or triggering. I really had fun reading this and zoomed A quick summer beach read is how I would describe this. I love to sit by a pool during the summer and this was the perfect story to dive into poolside. Expecting a bit deeper on the foster care, child neglect I was surprised she sort of zips through that and concentrates more on Ritzy’s adjustment to living with her rich foster mom. I can see that appealing to those teenage readers wanting more of fun storyline and less thought provoking or triggering. I really had fun reading this and zoomed through it way to quick. I loved all the characters and I liked how it wasn’t really focused on the romance bit. It was present for a lot of it but it didn’t feel overbearing and all in composing like most contemporary YA. review : https://beachwoodschoolhouse.com/bett...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I won this book on Good Reads giveaway! I loved it! Perfect for your summer reading list!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Perfect summer beach book!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    This was an emotional story without being heavy. Each time I thought "oh, here's where it is going," it subverted my expectations. It didn't rely on miscommunication. The characters were honest and actually said what they thought and felt rather than relying on their inability to draw out the plot. The adults were present and not caricatures. It was quiet and cute and exactly what I needed. This was an emotional story without being heavy. Each time I thought "oh, here's where it is going," it subverted my expectations. It didn't rely on miscommunication. The characters were honest and actually said what they thought and felt rather than relying on their inability to draw out the plot. The adults were present and not caricatures. It was quiet and cute and exactly what I needed. 

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marcia

    A perfect summer read. One of my favorite things about LM’s writing is that she teases at classic tropes and then blows past them with actual conversation and real life situations. Read in less the two days.

  30. 5 out of 5

    caitlin

    I liked the originality of this plot: girl discovers she was once a foster child when she’s 17 and abandoned by her mother just before her senior year of high school and is sent to the former foster mom again. Sarah Dessen fans should take note of Lauren Morrill books, this especially.

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