Gemma can’t believe her luck when the star football player starts flirting with her. Max is totally swoon-worthy, and even gets her quirky sense of humor. So when he asks out her so-called best friend Addison, Gemma’s heartbroken.First Line: "As I opened my locker, an envelope fell toward me with Gemma written in Robert's tight scrawl. My majorette tryout was in ten minutes. He must have known I'd stop here to dump my books and grab my batons before I ran down to the gym. For two years we'd been sending each other Grandparent's Day cards on our birthdays and Halloween cards on Christmas. Now he had sent me this St. Patrick's Day or Father's Day card to wish me good luck."
Then Addison pressures Gemma to join the date with one of Max’s friends. But the more time they all spend together, the harder Gemma falls for Max. She can’t help thinking that Max likes her back—it’s just too bad he’s already dating Addison. How can Gemma get the guy she wants without going after her best friend’s boyfriend?
I had to give you the first paragraph. The first line itself isn't telling by itself, but what comes after is. We immediately know Gemma has someone close to her and they both have a quirky sense of humor. This quickly, with five sentences, we've established the status quo. And just as quickly, it's uprooted. We very quickly (key word here--quickly--sorry for the repetition) learn a little back story about how Gemma used to be overweight and she'd always been held back by a lack of self-confidence, but also that she was so motivated by her love of twirling (the "it" thing for girls in the school instead of cheering) that she lost a lot of weight and came out of her shell enough to tryout. Also established in the first few pages is that her friends are kind of asses but she doesn't realize this. Gemma is a real and tangible character, one any girl can relate to, she's flawed and fallible. I'd describe her as a Lola meets The Duff type character, with a character arch and personality everyone can root for.
Brownie Points: I have to give it to Jennifer Echols, no matter how many books of hers I read, I'm always so impressed with how fast she wins me over. Honestly, the synopsis didn't appeal to me. Yay, a love triangle and teenage emotions (insert sarcastic finger twirl here). But there is so much substance here, characters that defy the premise and make it so interesting. I might have called Addison an ass earlier, but she isn't a one dimensional character you come to hate. No, you come to understand her and sympathize with her, even root for her too.
Recommendation: If you love YA contemporary, or just novels with complex characters that find full redemption, or a summer type read, or something that makes you smile, definitely this is for you.
Would I represent it? For sure!