Saturday, September 24, 2011

Book Review: Girl Wonder

Author: Alexa Martin
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Release date: May 3, 2011
Pages: 304
Read it in: 1.5 days

Summary: As if transferring senior year weren't hard enough, Charlotte Locke has been bumped to lower level classes at her new school. With no friends, a terrible math SAT score, and looming college application deadlines, the future is starting to seem like an oncoming train for which she has no ticket.

Then Amanda enters her orbit like a hot-pink meteor, offering Charlotte a ticket to something else: popularity. Amanda is fearless, beautiful, brilliant, and rich. As her new side kick, Charlotte is brought into the elite clique of the debate team—and closer to Neal, Amanda's equally brilliant friend and the most perfect boy Charlotte has ever seen.

But just when senior year is looking up, Charlotte’s life starts to crumble. The more things heat up between Charlotte and Neal, the more Neal wants to hide their relationship. Is he ashamed? Meanwhile, Amanda is starting to act strangely competitive, and she's keeping a secret Charlotte doesn't want to know.

Talented newcomer Alexa Martin delivers a poignant story of first love, jealousy and friendship, where the ups and downs of senior year have never been so complicated. What else can Charlotte do but throw her hands up and ride?

LC's Take:

This really was a great book, and I loved it from the first few pages. Girl Wonder was a realistic coming-of-age story, both charming and flawed at the same time. Charlotte was an amazing main character and it was very easy to relate to her, while also seeing both the good and bad pieces of yourself in her personality. She was slightly sarcastic, cynical, and insecure. But she was also endearing, and her narration of the story made you want to keep reading. Honestly, I couldn't put this book down.

The author, Alexa Martin, did an awesome job of describing the world inside a public high school, and how hellish it can be for a new student. The stereotypes weren't blatantly forced down your throat like they are in some other YA books, but you can still see the strict social structure of the school and all the cliques that exist there. All Charlotte wants is to fit in-- unfortunately, she's never been to a public school before and she suffers from a learning disability that makes her have difficulties with reading numbers.

The dynamics of Charlotte's family were just as intriguing to read about as her school life- her dad has just become a successful published author, but he's having an affair on the side with his young publicist. Charlotte can see the strain wearing off on her mother, while her over-achieving brother James Henry, destined for an Ivy League School, eclipses her in almost everything. Charlotte has to not only make her own way in school-- she also has to learn how to be her own person and be happy despite all the high standards her family has forced on her.

Then there was Amanda-- AKA "Girl Wonder." She's the Popular Girl, but she was actually a lot different than your typical Queen Bee. She has neon-pink hair, for starters, and she's the star of the debate team. She has everything and yet she cares about nothing. It was very hard to sympathize with her, and I was so glad that Charlotte was able to make peace with herself in the end and not depend on Amanda anymore.

Neal was the biggest jerk-- but then, I guess we have all had experience with them. (If not, then we're lucky!) Basically, Charlotte is highly vulnerable and she falls for the wrong guy. She gives up nearly everything to be with him and ends up... well, I won't give it away! Fortunately, Charlotte is able to come to terms with what happens to her and find a sweet guy who is worth her time and appreciates her for who she is!

Girl Wonder was a touching book that made me laugh and cry at different points. I thought the narrative told through Charlotte's perspective was both original and familiar at the same time. This was a great coming-of-age story that was a lot of fun to read, but made me happy that I'm no longer in that awkward teenage-high-school phase! 

LC's Rating:
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This is one of those books that you can just fly through without any effort. Girl Wonder managed to tell a familiar coming-of-age story from a new and unique perspective. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good, heart-felt novel that will make you both laugh and cry.

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3 comments:

  1. I haven't heard too much about this book, but it sounds like one I would really enjoy.

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  2. I don't think it is a very well-known book in the YA world, even though it did come out earlier this year, but I thought that it was really good and I would definitely recommend it as a contemporary fiction read! :)

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  3. whoa, awesome cover. glad to hear the innards are as good as the cover.

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