Kelsey Finkelstein is fourteen and FRUSTRATED. Every time she tries to live up to her awesome potential, her plans are foiled – by her impossible parents, her annoying little sister, and life in general. But with her first day of high school coming up, Kelsey is positive that things are going to change. Enlisting the help of her three best friends — sweet and quiet Em, theatrical Cass, and wild JoJo — Kelsey gets ready to rebrand herself and make the kind of mark she knows is her destiny.
Things start out great - her arch-nemesis has moved across the country, giving Kelsey the perfect opportunity to stand out on the soccer team and finally catch the eye of her long-time crush. But soon enough, an evil junior’s thirst for revenge, a mysterious photographer, and a series of other catastrophes make it clear that just because KELSEY has a plan for greatness… it doesn’t mean the rest of the world is in on it.
What a fantastic middle-grade/young adult title this was. I knew it was going to be good from the reviews that I have seen around but I really enjoyed this book!
I loved the character of Kelsey, she was funny and clever and ambitious but she was also different from a lot of the middle-grade/younger teen main characters we see because she is relatively popular, she has a close knit group of friends and never feels excluded. I mean, the pretty new girl latches onto Kelse because she's cool, which is a good contrast to the unpopular protagonists that we often meet in this genre.
The situations that Kelsey goes through are so realistic and relatable. She sees her best friend hooking up with the guy she likes, she has to deal with the pressure of not having sex whilst she thinks that everybody else is and she sees her friendship groups breaking apart. I actually loved reading about it because it's all things that people go through at that age and it was so well written and well dealt with!
And wow, the humour! The play scene with the beard had me absolutely cracking up and Kelsey as a narrator was hilarious!
There was a little issue with the pacing at the start of the book and I wasn't completely into it until 50 pages or so in, but as soon as I got to know Kelsey a little more I was gripped!
Also, I think the age range for this book is probably the higher end of middle grade... 13/14 ish as Kelsey has situations in which sex and alcohol are involved, though these issues are dealt with well.
Overall, a funny and addictive story with an awesome narrator and main character and plenty of humorous hijinks! Recommended to fans of funny contemp books!
Overall Rating: A-
Book released March 1st by G. Putnam and Sons
Book received (eBook format) from the publisher.