Gorgeous, uber-harsh, and uber-stylish, Kacey Simon is the undisputed social dictator of Marquette Middle School. That is, until an eye infection and a visit to the dentist leave her with coke-bottle glasses, a mouth full of metal, and… a littttthsp! Dissed and dismissed by her popular friends, Kacey is forced to hang out with a boy who wears skinny jeans and jams in his own band. But as she adjusts to life as a loser, she’s surprised to find that Skinny Jeans is kind of hot and his band is pretty cool. Suddenly, hitting rock-bottom feels oddly uplifting. Could rocking braces and glasses be the best thing to ever happen to her?
In this hilarious reversal of the cool crowd versus the nerd herd, a popular girl finds herself in Loserville and realizes it’s about time she paid back all the bad karma she built up as Queen Bee.
Discovery: I received this book in a reviewer’s challenge prize pack in September and thought it would be a fun read because I used to wear braces and glasses as a kid.
+ Writing style. Meg Haston has a knack for capturing that confident-yet-insecure voice of a teenager on the edge. The edge might be high school, a new crush, family troubles or even just braces and glasses, but every teen knows how utterly terrifying it can be. I liked how Haston’s writing seemed to grab me by the wrist and haul me along for Kacey’s story–the breakneck pacing was almost exactly how I remember middle school.
+/- Plot. I didn’t pick up this book expecting some grand realization or insight from Kacey or her friends, so the simple truths that they discover were perfectly placed and explained. There were a lot of fun moments to be had as Kacey tried to adjust to her new circumstances, and I did find myself laughing more than I thought I would. After all, having braces and glasses weren’t a walk in the park when I was 13. I could put myself in Kacey’s shoes and understand what she was going through.
Unfortunately, I do think I’m a little too old for her story. It’s been ten long years and since then, I’ve grown into the realization that braces and glasses aren’t the end of the world. Age does give you different perspectives into the teenage mind, and while it was a good story, it’s not something I can relate to anymore.
– Kacey. I won’t lie, I found Kacey a little insufferable at times. Whether that’s age speaking again, I can’t tell you, but I did find her difficult to stomach when she went off on her peers. I know it’s part of the character, and if Meg Haston meant for her to be a challenging narrator, then she succeeded.
Recommendations: While I might be too old for this story–*tear*–it is one that younger readers will happily devour. Great lessons in self-esteem and confidence can be found in this book, and I would definitely pass it on to cousins and siblings.
Next review: How to Save a Life, Sara Zarr