Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Anne Riley's Afterglow From GIRL WONDER by Alexa Martin

Coming out May 3 from Disney-Hyperion

It's senior year and Charlotte Locke has just transferred to a new high school. With no friends, a terrible math SAT score, and looming college application deadlines, the future starts to seem like a black hole.

Then Amanda enters her orbit like a hot pink meteor, offering Charlotte a ticket to popularity. Amanda is fearless, beautiful, and rich. As her new sidekick, Charlotte is brought into the elite clique of the debate team - and closer to Neal, the most perfect boy she has ever seen.

Senior year is finally looking up... or is it? The more things heat up between Charlotte and Neal, the more he wants to keep their relationship a secret. Is he ashamed? Meanwhile, Amanda is starting to act strangely competitive. Could Charlotte's new BFF be hiding something?

* * *

I finished GIRL WONDER about five minutes ago, and I think the best word to describe the afterglow would be "reeling."

To be honest, I had a little bit of a hard time getting involved with the story at first. Working with teens every day has given me an excellent sense of the way they talk, and in the first half of the book I didn't feel that the conversation was as authentic as it could have been. I also struggled to connect with Charlotte at first, as she came off a little perpetual-victim-ish.

Another reason I say the book left me reeling is that I wasn't prepared for the situations Charlotte dealt with. I expected a much more lighthearted, fun, surfacey book - and that's not what this is. Not at all. Charlotte deals with some serious stuff, and I didn't see it coming, so it caught me off guard.

Hold on, keep reading! I promise this review gets better!

By the second half, when I had a better sense of where the story was headed and what its message was (because it does have a message) I found that I could not put it down. I felt deeply for Charlotte when she fell to her absolute base point, and found myself wishing I could help her. Something inside me started to hurt when she let her boyfriend treat her with so little respect. I could feel the pressure she felt to be accepted by her new friends (haven't we all felt that pressure and done things we later regret so that we will fit in?)

In the end, I felt very connected to the story and affected by Charlotte's journey through her senior year. It wasn't a pretty journey by any stretch of the imagination, but I think Charlotte dealt with a lot of the same situations as many real-life high schoolers and the lessons she learned will definitely hit home with teens.

Rated: R for language, drug use, and sex

1 comment:

  1. It sounds life-changing! Thanks for the in-depth review! It's hard to balance between thoughtful discussion and spoilers, but you did a lovely job.