By: Diane Vanaskie Mulligan
Release Date: August 20, 2012
Lizzie Richards isn’t excited to be starting over at a new school for her senior year, but she’s trying to take her mother’s advice and make the most of it—the only way she can: By disobeying her strict parents’ rules. Lizzie’s father has moved the family around every few years to advance his career, so she has never had a chance to develop the kind of “BFF” relationships she thinks most kids have. She’s bracing herself for another lonely year at her third high school when her neighbor Maura gets sick of watching her little brother when she could be partying. Thanks to Maura’s plotting, Lizzie becomes everyone’s new favorite babysitter. Seeing her opportunity, Lizzie decides to break her mother’s rules by using Maura’s computer to create a secret Email address and Facebook account. She is quickly friended by Missy, a fellow transfer student as eager for a friend as she is. Things are looking up for Lizzie until Maura’s ex-boyfriend Paul sets his eye on Missy. Caught between her new best friend and the neighbor whose friendship promises instant popularity, Lizzie doesn’t know what to do—because she’s fallen for Paul, too.
This story really had me from the very beginning. Maybe it was the very nature of the main character and her cynicism that I can completely relate to or maybe it was just the story itself. You know how some people always think the grass is greener on the other side, that is until you get there. People are very fickle and can never decide exactly what they want and this is very true of teenagers. At least that’s my experience and it goes without saying that it is the same in this book.
We meet Lizzie who has recently moved to a new town the beginning of summer, so here is her chance to reinvent herself and make some friends before she starts her senior year in high school. But with her parents being extremely strict it’s hard to try and be social with everyone she wants to be. Her neighbor seems very two faced but her mom wants her to be like her just because she’s popular. But even popular people like Maura have their secrets. Then there is the ever perfect and outgoing Missy who she meets online. Things are great between them, that is until Paul gets in the middle.
Paul is someone who befriends Lizzie but in her eyes it’s only so that he could get closer to Missy. No one but herself knows how she feels about Paul and again I can completely relate to Lizzie and this love she has for a boy who just doesn’t see her in the same fashion. When her heart breaks, so does mine. That’s how much into the character I am. She’s a cynic, who tries to fit in with the popular kids, but is that really what she wants?
Sometimes when you lead a sheltered life and your are given just that small taste of freedom things can get out of control before you know it, and when you are young this tends to happen more often. There are so many secrets teenagers keep between themselves and others but there are always deeper lying issues that sometimes need to be brought out into the forefront.
I used to think the line between good and bad was so clear-cut. That’s what my parents always taught me. But senior year, I saw the good in people I once saw as villains, and I saw an awful lot of bad in myself. You just never know what’s beneath the surface until you start poking at it. I used to be jealous of kids who had a normal high school experience, but now I see that no one does. There is no such thing as normal. That’s pretty reassuring when you think about it.
Overall this book was a really great read; I couldn’t put it down and was so intrigued by the main character where I just found myself rooting for her so many times. But she is more like a real person where she doesn’t know what she wants and therefore sometimes misses out on things that could have been. Again I sympathize with this character and I can’t wait to read anything else by this author because I respect the way the characters were written.
from Chapter 1:I swear, every time we move to another town and I have to start over at another school, my mother looks at me and thinks, “Maybe this time she’ll make some friends.” She’s a realist. She never advises me to go out there and be myself. Instead she tells me to use this fresh start to reinvent myself, which means to fix whatever is wrong with me.
All I want is to be invisible. My plan for senior year at my new school: Get straight A’s and get into a top-tier college. But this move is different from all the others. This time, my dad keeps reminding me, we’re moving home, to the town where he grew up. This isn’t Texas (which is like another planet) or California (which is like another universe). My entire life, this has been the one place we’ve always returned to, but up until now, only for short visits. There’s the park where I learned to ride a bike, the ice cream shop that makes the world’s best mint chocolate chip, the hill behind my grandmother’s house where my brother and I used to go sledding on snowy Christmases. Maybe this time I can let my guard down a little and not just be the quiet new girl. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking.
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