Awkward by Marni Bates
The Skinny: Mckenzie Wellesley is your typical awkward teenager: she’s not popular, she rambles on when talking to those who are, and oh yeah, she knocks a football player out with her backpack and tries to give him CPR. Unbeknownst to her, however, someone catches this on video and within hours she is a YouTube sensation. Her life is suddenly turned upside down, getting filled with designer clothes, invitations to the hottest events, and even a guest appearance on Ellen. McKenzie’s new-found fame also catches the eye of the most popular boy in school… who just might have liked her before she became the queen of awkwardness.
BFF?: I had a really difficult time with McKenzie. She was all I love in a YA character… heck, she’s all I love in a PERSON! She’s warm and caring but still kind of droll and sarcastic, aware of her awkwardness. She’s evolved, mature, forward thinking… as much as I love all these traits, I feel like they’re a little unrealistic. McKenzie goes through these “epiphanies” that I couldn’t help but wonder who went through these at 17? I’m 29 and I only RECENTLY got whiff of these!
All this aside, McKenzie really is a fantastic main character and I think we all have this friend in our lives (if we’re not that person to begin with!). I tried to remember how I was in high school – I’m sure I was awkward – but looking at McKenzie I think that maybe I wasn’t as bad as I thought! I at least knew how to talk to people without rambling on and on! But the more I got to know McKenzie, the more I realized that she’s not all that awkward at all… she has her moments, but who doesn’t? She’s actually pretty cool, smart, funny… she just needs to get over the whole “I’m not part of the in-crowd” vibe she keeps putting out!
Readability: Bates manages to capture a true teen voice, writing not only the way teens probably talk (okay, and probably me as well) but also using references that would most likely come up in an average teen’s conversation. I’m sure everyone has done this, but her writing style has a faint Meg Cabotness tone to it, writing simply and purely, not relying on literary elements or flowery speech to entertain us.
Crush Level: 6ish
Logan, to me, is super hot… and he really could have gotten maybe an 8, because he has some amazeballs moments. But you remember how you felt about Freddie Prinze Jr in She’s All That? How you thought he was great, the way he showed up at Janie’s house on prom night and was so sweet and your heart NEARLY swooned but then you remembered the only reason he talked to her was because he had bet someone he could turn her into prom queen? Yeah… that’s how I feel about Logan. I think he genuinely liked McKenzie before all the YouTube stuff happened, but it was only after it happened that they got closer. And he still thought she was kind of weird. I dunno… I think I couldn’t get over his more prickish moments to give him a higher number. Now… had he not been like that in the beginning, he would be a solid 8. SOLID.
I don’t talk about my BGFF on here that much, mainly because a) he isn’t aware that I refer to him as that and b) he would kill me if he knew I was blogging about him, but there’s a scene between McKenzie and Logan (which involves too many drinks) that the entire time I read it I thought “OMG, this is so me and BGFF in college!!! They are so cute! WE are so cute! We should totally make out and get married!” (because you know, once you make out, marriage is certain to be on its way) Needless to say, this was one of my favorite parts of the book.
Teen Movie Montage
There’s really not a montage in the book, but there are several moments that I thought “hey, that’s from ___.” And I loved them all because it made me feel like a teen all over again. Some of the movies I saw similarities were She’s All That, 10 Things I Hate About You, Princess Diaries… so if you like these movies, you’re gonna like this book.
Ha, this scene is like one line but it had me laughing loudly. I even highlighted it in the book – something I NEVER do. There’s a scene where McKenzie’s BFF Corey comments that McKenzie yelled at a sub because he was wrong about something. I TOTALLY did this my junior year of high school. That’s right, Mr. I’m-in-grad-school-and-you’re-just-a-dumb-high-school-girl… I’m talking about you.
McKenzie has a gay best friend named Corey. I had a gay best friend named Corey. Seriously, Marni must have met my Corey because there were so many similarities I wanted to go call Corey and see how he was doing.
Commencement Speech: First off, I am SO beyond excited to be part of this blog tour. Marni Bates has produced such a fantastic, cute book that I hope it does more than well and you all get a chance to read it.
I was a little hesitant at first reading this book. The first few chapters had me doubtful that I’d enjoy it and I was really worried it wasn’t going to be good. I know, I know… not what you wanted to hear, right? It was just full of things that normally turn me off when I’m reading YA: cliques, populars vs. non-populars, excessive “I’m such a nerd/geek/loser” comments… But then all that changed. While those elements were still there I quickly found myself excited about the book, laughing at McKenzie’s antics and her woe-some, ridiculous predicament. Sure, it was completely unrealistic, but still hilariously funny and fresh. McKenzie was a girl I could root for, do a Homer Simpson “d’oh” for, laugh with, cry with, cringe with. While the main plot was pretty unrealistic nothing else was. And that’s what I loved best about it. I could easily see McKenzie suddenly getting popular and having to deal with the problems that come with it; I could easily see her interacting with her friends and enemies… the characters were well developed and I didn’t find them falling flat.
Overall, this is a great debut novel for Marni Bates, one that’s fun and easy and carefree – you can lose yourself on an afternoon and just enjoy the story. I’m really looking forward to more from Marni!
Yearbook Quote: “Okay, I’ll give you a name, date, or event. You tell me everything you know about it.” … “Samuel Adams.” “Beer,” he replied promptly.
(Maybe I should have given the boy an 8…)
Superlatives – Most Likely to make you rethink your own high school awkwardness
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