my thoughts in a few sentences: Awkward by Marni Bates is a delightful, short little thing that packs a punch that's gone epically wrong. HOLD ON. You’re probably like, was the book really that bad? The answer is NOT ON YOUR LIFE. What I mean by that statement: You ever witness someone TRY to punch someone else, but when it doesn’t work and their fist flops back leaving no marks, bruises, or internal bleeding, you have to laugh hysterically because they look ridiculous and don’t care. Like Kristen Stewart in that one movie where she played that girl in my favorite books-turned-movies, and she hit that guy, her best friend, the one that turns into a freakishly huge dog. Awkward made me laugh hysterically, and while the story is light and frivolous, the characters do leave a mark, but in a place where it’s not visible. HINT: That place beats.
hooking first line: "You probably think you know me... and I understand why."
Kensington • Borrowed • Contemporary Romance • 1/1/12 • $9.95
Mackenzie Wellesley has spent her life avoiding the spotlight. At Smith High, she's the awkward junior people only notice when they need help with homework. Until she sends a burly football player flying with her massive backpack and makes a disastrous - not to mention unwelcome - attempt at CPR. Before the day is out, the whole fiasco explodes on YouTube. And then the strangest thing happens. Suddenly, Mackenzie is an Internet sensation, with four million hits and counting. Sucked into a whirlwind of rock stars, paparazzi, and free designer clothes, she even catches the eye of the most popular guy at school. And that's when life gets really interesting...I’ve been hearing LOADS of stuff about this book. I read this mainly because I enjoy main characters who are awkward—a social pariah, with an insanely stupid crush on a stupid boy but ends up with the right one who has seen her all along and likes her anyway, awkwardness and all. That may seem like a predictable story line, a formula that’s easy to pinpoint, and, in a way, it is, but, not only is it a fun, enjoyable one that I never get tired of, Awkward by Marni Bates does it with quirky flair, an endearing main character who manages to be oblivious even while being self-aware and not inclined to change, and a whole SLEW of adorable friends and family members and evil bishes that make us grin along with everything else that goes down.
Mackenzie Wellesley has a whole heck of a lot of humor, which becomes an immediately recognizable quality once we get into the swing of things. After a brutally heart-wrenching opening, in which we glimpse the heart-numbing event that stole her father from her childhood and onwards, a connection is drawn and we can’t help but relate to this nerdy girl who reluctantly chats with one best friend about boys and school, manages to become a Youtube sensation with a cringe-worthy act that is downright EXCRUCIATING and uncomfortable to say the least, and is strangely flustered by Logan Beckett, the boy she tutors after school for some extra cash. We are forced to squash the urge to *face-palm* several times, because between the babbling and other awkward social skills, Mackenzie is PAINFULLY clumsy, although she is a good girl with a head full of smarts, a fabulous sense of humor, and who is very serious about her independence. Watching her go from pariah to socialite, experiencing all her firsts (drinking, concerts, and kissing), and then retain the person she is, shifting only in how she’s come to view herself, is fun, entertaining, and seriously warming, as we feel almost as if we’ve taken this girl under our wings, casually protecting her and rooting for her triumph!
Sexy, sweet jock with reading problems aside for a second, the other characters in the story highlight the delightfulness of this book. From Jane, fellow nerd extraordinaire, to Corey, fashionister extreme and excellent dance partner, to Tim Goff, fast friend and neighborhood rockstar, Mackenzie makes so many new friends, who are happy to get to know her, even while staying true to her best friends, never succumbing to the hideousness that tends to overcome a person so that fame is all they define themselves by. With a family at home that comforts and defends and supports when push comes to shove, and friends who really matter, Awkward by Marni Bates only gets more enjoyable with each person we meet.
The romance strikes as very obvious, yet the tension can be spooned with a mechanical crane, that’s how spectacularly and deliciously huge and palpable it is. Mackenzie, never having dated and already admitted less-than-knowledgeable about boys, is quite oblivious to the feelings she’s forming and to the fact that the boy she is developing them for has been subtly hinting that he returns them. It’s sweet, how Logan is constantly dropping subtle hints, protecting her from his crowd at school, looking out for her when she finds herself in sticky situations. Realization may come slowly, but the reward is gushiness-worthy and brimming with swooniness in an adorable, sweet way.
Awkward by Marni Bates ends with a slow-shift, where everything is all crazy in the climax and grows to gradual by the time we get to the resolution, giving us a teaser as to Mackenzie’s future with an embrace we’ve been waiting for and totally leaves us grinning. Every moment flows and feels completely natural, the build-up fanning our anticipation, but when that delicious conclusion happens, happiness bursts from us in tsunami-like waves.