Friday 25 September 2009

This Girl Isn't Shy She's Spectacular by Nina Beck

This Girl Isn't Shy She's Spectacular
Nina Beck
ISBN 9780545017053

This book is the follow up to This Girl Isn't Fat She's Fabulous. It begins shortly after that book. This time the main character is n
ot Riley Swain, but one of the girls she met at New Horizons, Samantha Owens. Samantha Owens has planned on going to UCLA in the Creative writing program; she has wanted to be a writer since she was 8. But her writing samples are too bland. Her academics are exceptional so she has been asked to reapply. On receiving this news she decides to return to New York City for her final term of high school.

Once back in New York she makes a list - a list of all the things she has never done and wants to do. And she teams up with Riley Swain to change her life. Her list includes:

1. Try to change
2. Stay out all night
3. Do something that is definitely a bad idea
4. Go with the flow
5. Make new friends
6. Go out on a date with someone uncontrollable
7. Learn how to deal with things in a more productive manner

To start with, Riley takes her to a salon for a makeover, and helps her revamp her style. Then they slip out and into a bar. There she meets a strange man with a British accent and she finds him incredibly beautiful. The next morning before school, she discovers that this strange man is Riley's best friend D - Michael D. Hammond III. There is a strange tension between them. But Riley starts a dating pool for Sam. A group of 4 will vote and decide, based on applications and first dates, who will take her to the spring formal.

The story is written in parallel chapters; both D and Sam are trying to change their lives. D is trying to clean up his image and his life and decide what he really wants to do. Sam is trying to sully her image and get more experience in life. Their goals are at odds and the tension between them escalates as Sam has more and more dates from the dating game.

This is an incredibly well written book. It has solid characters, great pace and the story woven through two different first-person accounts is well balanced and remains interesting. The book also has the power to stand on its own if you have not read the first one. It is some great fun light reading.

(First published in Imprint 2009-09-25.)

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