Genres: YA, Romance
Review Copy Provided By: K. A. Tucker
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Almost sixteen-year-old Aria Jones is starting over. New postal code, new last name, new rules. But she doesn’t mind, because it means she can leave her painful regrets behind. In the bustling town of Eastmonte, she can become someone else. Someone better.
With the Hartford family living next door, it seems she will succeed. Sure, Cassie Hartford may be the epitome of social awkwardness thanks to her autism, but she also offers an innocent and sincere friendship that Aria learns to appreciate. And Cassie’s older brother, Emmett—a popular Junior A hockey player with a bright future—well … Aria wishes that friendship could lead to something more. If he didn’t already have a girlfriend, maybe it would.
But Aria soon finds herself in a dicey moral predicament that could derail her attempt at a fresh start. It is her loyalty to Cassie and her growing crush on Emmett that leads her to make a risky move, one that earns her a vindictive enemy who is determined to splinter her happy new world.
I was provided a review copy; this did not influence my opinion of the book.
It seems there’s a bit a wave right now for authors to move out of their normal genre, and write “YA” books. But most of the books I’ve read about teenage love are not necessarily intended for young adults, but books that are intended for adults. KA Tucker’s newest book, BE THE GIRL is the exception. This truly is YA, and as a parent of two young adults, BE THE GIRL is a book I would encourage them to read.
Tucker takes on a subject that has become a buzz word in our time, bullying, and does it in such a way, that at some point the reader begins to gain a little understanding behind the motives of the bully. We may not agree with the actions taken, but a bit of understanding does occur. We see how easy it is to get caught up in the wake as things begin to snowball. While at the same time, I had so much empathy for those that were being bullied. I was so angry on their behalf.
Something Tucker also does brilliantly, is the creation of the character, Cassie. From the descriptions of her mannerisms to her voice inflection it was clear Cassie was born from love. (One of my favorite parts in the book comes when Cassie asks Aria if they will still be friends next year when Emmett goes away to college. Those paragraphs were written with such love and evoked such compassion, I couldn’t help but cry.)
BE THE GIRL was poignant, funny, heartwarming and redemptive, it was about looking past each other’s differences and accepting others for who they are. But above all, it’s about being kind to one another.