Expected Publication: August 1st, 2013
By: Marni Bates
Jane Smith has survived three years of high school without making a single enemy, all by keeping a low profile. Not even her three best friends, Kenzie, Corey and Isobel, can say the same. But with Corey dating the lead singer from ReadySet and Kenzie in a relationship too, being invisible tends to be lonely. But now she's written an article for her school newspaper that has accidentally snagged the attention of some celebrities. Turns out, people get really upset when their innermost secrets are splashed all over the front page. And new her well-ordered life is being blasted to hell, with results that are wildly unexpected.
Jane Smith has managed to fly under the radar for her entire time in high school and she liked it that way because she still had the support of her truly awesome best friends. But than Cory started dating a famous lead singer and Kenzie became America's Most Awkward Girl AND got the guy. Now they never have any time for her and are always going places/doing things that they don't invite Jane along for. Not to mention they take her for granted any time the opportunity arises. This does nothing for her already non-existent self-esteem. Than she punches school bully Scott in the lunchroom and gets forcibly teamed up with Scott, a boy she can't stand (because of a perceived snub) for a front page article in the school newspaper that she never even wanted. All Jane wanted was for someone to let her add a fiction page into the paper - quietly! Now she's breaking rules, making changes and forcing everyone to actually look at her for once. But not everything that happens as a result is good and Jane ends up hurting the people she cares for most unintentionally. Can she fix things before she really does end up invisible and alone?
To be quite honest, if you have read the first book with Kenzie you may be kind of wary of this one like I was. And the synopsis is really misleading, because the blow-up with the article doesn't even happen until the last 25% or so of the book. The main focus is Jane learning to stand up for herself and assert her own needs to the other people in her life. Also, learning that we can't choose who we have romantic feelings for and that you shouldn't be a douchebag because of it (that last part is something she's REALLY slow at learning, but having Scott on the other end does nothing to help the point across!!!). Jane got on my nerves for a good majority of the book and that's putting it mildly and politely. She was one of the most milquetoast 'heroines' that I've read so far this year in the realm of YA. Yes, teens are not a species of perfection which is perfectly okay. But she has no self-respect, which kind of detracts from when she does something really awesome (like punching Scott in the face or...yeah can't think of anything else right now). The whole book is spent with her whining about how no one sees her and her friends are ditching her. Of course she does NOTHING about it until she blows up at Kenzie closer to the end of the book. Also, there's something borderline call-the-suicide-prevention-hotline about coming up with ways to die when you're bored, etc. It kind of creeped me out. I loved Isobel and honestly thought a book with a romance between her and the girl in the baking club would have been lots more interesting and majorly cute (Mabye I'm inferring something there, but that's what I saw anyways).
The romance with Scott wasn't swoonworthy at all. He spent most of the book acting like a complete manipulative, blackmailing douchebag to Jane (who spent the whole book being an a-hole to him cause she wanted to pretend she didn't like him). Scott crashes her first date, provides the pictures for the ruinous article and goes to a horrible family dinner at Jane's being her fake 'boyfriend.' All while doing his best to be an arrogant jerk and make her life a living Hell! And this is supposed to make me root for them as a couple? WTH??? Their whole dynamic is borderline abusive and after spending the whole book just wanting him to jump off a cliff and with the meanest interactions possible, they suddenly like like each other? A world of no! Just not a thing I could get behind. I did like Jane's crazy old lady, bookstore boss who wanted them to take a picture in the makeout section. She was hilarious. The real highlight character-wise for me though was the nice side of somewhat mean-girl Chelsea. At times she was a better person than Jane's supposed best friends. By the time the story broke, I had already started skimming through it because this book was boring me and making me cringe. Some may identify with this book and really like it. They may even find it somewhat funny and cute. I just really didn't and wouldn't really recommend it to anyone. Just re-read Awkward instead, it'll be a much more satisfying experience!
VERDICT: 2.25/5 Stars
*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication is August 1st, 2013.*