Girl Wonder

Alexa Martin. Disney-Hyperion, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4231-2135-0
In Martin's debut novel, Charlotte feels like an outsider in her own family. Her parents are hugely successful, and her younger brother is a genius who's attending the best private school in their new home of Seattle. But Charlotte has a learning disability that excludes her from any prep school. Starting her senior year in a tough public school, Charlotte meets Amanda, who's confident, sexy, and smart—everything Charlotte longs to be. Then there's Neal, a boy so hot Charlotte can't believe he is interested in her. At first, hanging out with Amanda and Neal is just what she's looking for, but keeping up with Amanda's partying (an acid trip goes poorly for Charlotte) proves difficult, her schoolwork suffers, and Neal's desire to keep their relationship a secret triggers insecurity. These friendships blow up just as problems surface at home, leaving Charlotte feeling lost and alone, save for a quirky neighbor boy. Charlotte's voice is honest and relatable, and while readers may be frustrated with the treatment she tolerates from Neal, her ultimate self-acceptance is gratifying. Ages 13–up. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/21/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
Genre: Children's
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