Girl Wonder by Alexa Martin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Moving is difficult for any teen, and particularly difficult in your senior year. Making Charlotte's life worse is that she has a learning disability for math while her brother is a genius. Why Charlotte hasn't been given more tools with which to deal with her math issues is beyond me, but because of them she's not allowed to enter her new school's Gifted and Talented program. That the new school is a public school and not one of Seattle's many private schools is a huge disappointment to her father.
Something is clearly going on with Charlotte beyond normal teen angst, and her parents are too wrapped up in her father's new-found fame as an author (of a Lolita-esque book that creeps Charlotte out), his possible affair with his agent, and her mother's new job at Seattle University. Eventually she finds herself in the library (and that librarian? hated her!), which appears to be off limits to anyone except the GATE kids. There she meets Amanda, with neon-pink hair and a reputation for trouble, and falls under Amanda's spell. Through Amanda she meets Neil, school hottie and general BMOC... through both she starts on the debate team. Sex, drugs and little rock-and-roll happen, mostly under her parents oblivious eyes. That her younger brother appears the stablest of the family is problematic - but thanks to him Charlotte eventually finds her way to the end of senior year with a modicum of sanity and purpose.
While what Charlotte is going through isn't going to be new to anyone who felt sidelined in high school, there just seemed something slightly off about the book. Perhaps it was because at times the plot felt deliberate and forced, as though the author had a checklist of things she needed to go through or experience.
ARC provided by publisher.
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