This was my second book for the 2010 Debut Author Challenge, and I actually bought this one. No more freebies, I got it in Chapters. :D Not that I did my famous PANIC LUNGE at the shelf when I saw it, or anything. Truly, I am so weird in bookstores.
Ahem. Anyways, I read it almost a month ago, and I have been very remiss about reviewing it. That's because I've been keeping it by my bed for cheerful reading before sleep. I can open it at random, read a paragraph or two, and always find something to make me chuckle, if not laugh outright. This is a very funny book. ^_^ I'll do the random open thing now, and find a quote. *opens to page 31*
"I thought today would be the first day of a fantastic senior year. Instead, it sucked. Now I have to spend the whole year SHACKLED to a person (who shall remain nameless, but his initials are TODD HARDING) whom I despise. I have been advised to try to find on redeeming quality in him to focus on. So far, the only I can think of is that he is breathing. But even that is questionable, because is very likely a zombie or some other form of the undead."
And that gives you a good glimpse of Fiona's voice to boot! As you may have gathered, Fiona has been paired with Todd (I'll explain why and how in a sec, be patient), and she doesn't think too highly of him. He shares this opinion. Of her, that is- he thinks he's pretty awesome. They would both be VERY happy never having to share space in the same room, only their principle has decided to instigate something called a "Marriage Education Class."
The whole senior class has been paired together randomly- which means that basically no one is with someone they like. But they will have to work together, all year. Or they don't graduate.
And not even just in class, the terms of the
class dictate that they'll have to work together OUTSIDE of school as well, earning money. All the money goes into a pot, and at the end of the year the "couple" with the best "marriage" gets the money. (Which is probably the primary reason the entire senior class doesn't drop out, right then.)
And then, as everyone unwillingly works together, they start to find that hey, there are actual human beings inside of that stereotype shell! (Not that it definitely means that we should be friends, mind you, but hey, you're a person! (And then later- hmmmmmm, maybe we can be friends! Maybe.
Okay, anyone who reads the back of the book knows that's the way the plot is going to go. "People Learn To Look Beyond Surface Appearances." But beyond that turn, it manages to avoid a particular- dare I say it- stereotype of a plot. ^_^ Most of my predictions for what was going to happen were off, and there were quite a few twists which I really didn't see coming. The people who I expected to end up with each other didn't, and most importantly, the characters really seemed like real people. It wasn't just a case of an outcast learning that the popular people aren't so bad because she's accepted into their group- the characters unwillingly were forced
to look beyond reputation and appearances. Nerdy Girl is still nerdy, and Jock Boy doesn't discover his artistic side, they just find out that there are people inside the uniforms. Which is a turn of events I like much, much more. :D
And can I say how much I liked Fiona? She's one confident girl! Yes, she's not "popular," but she's fine with that. She knows what and who she is, and the idea of changing herself to fit in never even comes up. This is quite a change from most teen female protagonists. ^_^ (Also, her parents are WIN. So much win. I want their relationship. :D)
Wow, this is a rambling mess of a review. :D Anyhow, I gave it three stars out of five, and I hope Mrs. Walker writes MANY more books!
One more quote. :D
Let me just pause to give a brief history of Todd harding and cheerleading. It's a legendary story at ECHS.
Freshman year, Todd moved to East Columbus and played football. He was some kind of prodigy or star or whatever. Anyway, halfway through the game with Lincoln High, Todd gets sacked and cracks four ribs. He's out for the season. Todd's mother goes mental and forbids him from playing football ever again.
Fast-forward to sophomore year. Todd and Amanda have been dating for a while. She's a cheerleader and convinces him to try out for the winter squad so they can spend more time together. Barf, I know. But he does, and, because he's strong, they can do these crazy mounts or stunts, and bigger pyramids and crap now. So the cheerleaders love him. But one day Brendan Jackson, who was the varsity quarterback, calls Todd queer because he's a cheerleader. And Todd says, (and this is the really famous part), "Lemme get this straight, Brendan. I spend all after noon with my hands between a hot cheerleader's thighs, looking up her skirt as I hold her over me. Meanwhile, you're bent over, sticking your fingers in some gat guy's butt crack again and again. But I'm the gay one?"
Funny, Funny times. :D