Awkward by Marni Bates

I’ve been reading a lot of adult, in depth novels lately, so I really felt like I needed a break; I needed an easy tweenie-bop story that I could demolish in a couple of hours. Sometimes it’s nice to just read something mindless. I don’t mean that as an insult! It’s just a cute story that doesn’t challenge you, which intsbsults completely acceptable. It’s similar to adults watching children’s cartoons  (don’t deny the fact that 90% of adults have seen Frozen, and we don’t have children to blame it on… no shame! It’s all about the fun and nastolgia). 

So there are two main reasons why I chose this book as my mindless read:

  1. It reminded me of some of the tweenie-bop books I read in high school, such as Meg Cabot’s All American Girl (girl because famous after saving the president’s son) and Robin Benway’s Audrey, Wait! (Girl becomes famous after her ex-boyfriend writes a chart topping song about her). Both are very humorous and the main female character in each story is relatable and likeable, which is probably due to their sense of humour.
  2. I recently won a shopping spree at my favourite second hand store, so the book was free… haha! So even if it turned out to be a terrible story, I didn’t really lose anything because of it (well, maybe time… but at least it eas only a couple of hours). Thankfully this wasn’t the case. The book was great!

The way Mack becomes famous is perfect for our technical generation: a YouTube video of her goes viral! Most people dream of the day when their videos hit a million hits, but Mack only sees it as a nightmare. The scene that is posted on YouTube is surprisingly funny. I was actually laughing out loud as I read Marni’s description of the incident, picturing Mack straddling that poor jock as she performed a horrendous rendition of CPR even though he was totally fine. When she began screaming things like ‘OMG CAN SOMEONE TELL ME IF I’M KILLING HIM?!’ and ‘DOES ANYONE KNOW IF I’M DOING THIS RIGHT?!’ , I completely lost it! Her video would be the type of thing I would giggle every time, like those montage video clips of all those people crashing bikes into trees, falling off stage, and other America’s Funniest Home Videos nonsense. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, it takes a special kind of author to actually make readers laugh; they know how to properly describe a scene to make it feel like we’re watching it play out, as if it were a TV show or movie. Marni also made Mack’s awkwardness realistic and relatable. The incident was not that far fetched ivemahes a teens like; you see someone unconscious, you panic, you make a fool of yourself without realizing it. I definitely had a few awkward moments as a teen… luckily they weren’t filmed! Haha

Logan’s attachment to Mack is also completely adorable. I like the fact that you can tell he’s crushing on her before the game and despite te awkwardness, and he doesn’t have a hidden agenda. He just likes spending time with her! I think I realized he was crushing on her before even he did. Whenever he grinned or laughed after one of her snarky remarks (despite the fact that the other popular kids didn’t find her amusing), and the fact that he even mentioned her crush on his friend made me realize he was sort of jealous. Even the sweet way he got to know he friends and protected her screamed CRUSH. It’s rare to find a book that has a romantic lead who shows his affection without ridiculous, unrealistic  grand gestures. I mean, I’d take a guy who smiles when I smile, pays for my two dollar coffee, and actively engages with my friends over someone who just buys me a dozen roses and fancy dinners. DON’T GET ME WRONG… those things are nice too, but if that’s all you have in the relationship, then it’s just not real. Logan’s feelings were certainly real, and not just some elaborate show that no high school boy would ever compare to.

Another thing I really enjoyed was Mack’s relationship with the famous band who used her video clip in their new music video. The laid back friendship she had with them reminded readers that celebrities are just people. Whenever I think of a possibly meeting with one of favourite performers, I don’t picture it the way that you usually see (screaming fans who snap a quick picture, autographs, and crying before they walk away). I hope that if I ever got to meet someone famous, I’d be able to have a normal conversation with them, just hang out as friends, and basically enjoy their company (enough to maybe become their friend? That would be amazing!). Mack is super lucky… if one of the backstreet boys casually called me on my cell back in high school (yes, I’m a ninties baby. I guess now it would be one direction?), I would lose my mind (only on the inside… I’d play it cool on the outside lol).

And the final thing I really liked about this story (even though it seems to be a small detail) was that we never get to find out who posted the video in the first place. In fact, it’s not even a topic of conversation! It’s only casually brought up in one of the final chapters when Mack is on Ellen, and Mack basically dismisses it. She doesn’t know, nor does she really care, who posted it. Usually in a situation like this, the identity and the motive behind posting it are integral to the plot line. Maybe an ex – lover getting revenge? Or a friend thinking they’re actually helping by posting it? Or a sibling who’s just teasing their sister? In Marni’s story, none of this matters because it’s all about the aftermath of the post… not the premeditation. Most of the time people post stuff on YouTube just for fun anyway, no evil or life changing motives required. So the fact that the reader AND characters don’t know who who the culprit was is simply refreshing.

I think any Book Baby in need of a quick read, decent laugh and a moment of high school nostalgia should pick up Awkward. It’s a decent read. Obviously not groundbreaking, but how many romantic YA novels are? And besides, that’s not the point! It’s all in good good fun, so enjoy Book Babies! 

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