Summary: "I think I could turn that boy bad? My two best friends--my only two friends, really--follow my gaze and laugh.
"Trevor Hoffman?" Beth scoffs. "No way, Jen."
"I bet I could," I say, shrugging.
"Why him?" Beth asks. "Why not any of the other nerds sitting there with him?"
"Because," I say slowly, "he isn't your typical run-of-the-mill geek. Trevor Hoffman is different. He would be a little more difficult to take down--more of a challenge, you know?"
Jen's life of rebelling and sneaking out is growing stale. In an effort to combat her boredom, Jen makes a bet to turn Trevor, a nice little geek, into a "bad boy." She is immediately pulled into Trevor's world of sci-fi movies, charity work, and even--ugh!--bowling. Unexpectedly, Jen discovers that hanging out with Trevor isn't so bad after all. But when Trevor finds out about the wager, all bets are off. (Book given free for review. Summary from back of the book and image from publisher.)
My Review: I don't think I've ever given a book that was given to me free for review 5 stars. I'm breaking that record today. I loved this book. I couldn't put it down. While having our regular Silent Friday Reading day with my students I kept finding myself so absorbed in the book that I forgot to remind the kids to clean up before the bell rang. Yes, I was that absorbed--which really is saying something because even slight twitching of my students during Silent Friday distracts me...teachers have a hard time turning off their second set of eyes and ears.
Jen is painted so very realistically. I felt like reading her story was like reading many of my students' stories, their journal entries in class. Teaching at a school of poverty, with many foster care kids, I see this stuff all too often. Her anger, her rejection of all things good, her pessimism, her hatred of people she cannot relate to, her lack of self-esteem, all spot on. Even her desire to defile Trevor was authentic.
Bennett does a masterful job of peeling back the layers slowly, or reeling you in and helping you understand Jen and actually take her side. She also does a masterful job of depicting a truly good person in Trevor. I think it would actually be harder to depict a guileless person than it is to depict a person with serious flaws. Yet, she pulls it off. What makes it even better is that she still makes him human, gives him real failings, ones you could believe someone as good as he is truly has.
The love story should also be of note. I'm not the gushy type of girl who loves to read romance, but this story took me in. I enjoyed the playful banter, the clean relationship, and even the demolition of their relationship when the truth unfolds. I found myself with tears slowly rolling down my cheeks and I wished for both characters that the pain wouldn't have to be--not many stories make me actually cry. I'm telling you, I really liked this book.
I think my favorite aspect to the story is the message that your past doesn't define you, that change is possible, and that you should never judge a person based on an outward appearance especially during their teenage years. I loved Jen's transformation and how Bennett made her so easy to relate to and like. I've never been a Goth girl, I don't pretend to understand her upbringing from a personal perspective, but watching it for eight years now I do believe Bennett created a believeable story and one that I'd gladly have on my classroom shelves.
Do pick this up. It's a great read.
For sensitive readers: Nothing to offend here. Jen's tragic past is disturbing, but without it you can't truly believe her anger and damage.
Rating: 5 Stars
Sum it up: A spot on read depicting a broken girl learning to trust and love.
Visit the author's blog, her website, or read more reviews of Geek Girl on Cedar Fort's blog tour.
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