Dani has big dreams of being a journalist, and so she joins the newspaper staff in her high school. She didn’t expect to run into Jarret, an old childhood friend that used to live down the street. Yet, his appearance has changed so dramatically that she almost doesn’t recognize him, skinny and fit after years of obesity. She is thrilled when one of her first assignments is to interview Matt, an exchange student from New Zealand. Mr. Beautiful has an accent that makes her insides melt, but she has competition in the form of her beautiful sister Trista. Dani has lived in her more beautiful and popular older sister’s shadow her whole life, and Dani can tell that Matt likes her. During homecoming royalty nominations someone plays a cruel joke on Jarret. Yet, Dani is determined that the joke will be on the pranksters, and she’ll make Jarret into the homecoming King. Teaming up with her popular sister, Dani works to defend her friend, and finds the appeal of “Matt the Beautiful” fading, as she spends more time with Jarret.
I enjoyed this high school fiction read. Though, I felt that some of the dialogue was awkward and forced, especially in a few beginning scenes. Some of the religious aspects are incorporated a little awkwardly, as in they become a little too obvious or preachy. I felt these were more minor flaws as for the most part the characters remained consistent and interesting. The main character Dani narrates in a humorous tone, yet the author still tackles serious themes—obesity, bullies, courage, and self-worth. She really hits a nice balance between being funny, and telling a meaningful story.
I felt that the plot moved forward at a nice pace, and had conflicts that I could really get behind. I found myself hoping that Jarrett would be vindicated, and that Dani would figure out her love life. I also really like how the romantic interest flows in the book because the author creates a good chemistry between them.
Overall, I had a good impression of this book and think that those that are in the Kay Lynn Magnum or Allie Condie camps will enjoy this read also. Though, this book is much more funny, and light.