Publisher: Random House
Released: January 24, 2012
Source: Cavalier House Books
Justin has two goals for sophomore year: to date Chuck, the hottest boy in school, and to become the king of Cool U, the table in the cafeteria where the "in" crowd sits.Justin Goldblatt is tired of being the overweight, gay kid sitting at the loser table. So he contrives this less-than-believable plan to switch things up and become popular. Of course, this plan also involves sharing his first kiss with the high school quarterback who happens to prefer kissing girls.
Unfortunately, he has the wrong look (short, plump, Brillo-pad curls), he has the wrong interests (Broadway, chorus, violin), and he has the wrong friends (Spencer, into Eastern religions, and Mary Ann, who doesn't shave her armpits). And Chuck? Well, he's not gay; he's dating Becky, a girl in chorus with whom Justin is friendly
But Justin is determined.
In detention one day (because he saw Chuck get it first), Justin comes up with a perfect plan: to allow Becky to continue dating Chuck, whom Becky's dad hates. They will pretend that Becky is dating Justin, whom Becky's dad loves. And when Becky and Justin go out on a fake date, Chuck will meet up with them for a real date with Becky. Chuck's bound to find Justin irresistable, right? What could go wrong?
The writing really keeps me from loving this novel. It switches tenses, which becomes confusing, and I feel like some of the transitions to and from flashbacks are forced. These things make the prose somewhat choppy, and I wish these things could be smoothed out. That said, I think the subject matter is important enough for me to overlook the less-than-stellar writing.
In a world where it isn't always okay to be different, Rudetsky's novel shows teens that staying true to themselves is really the most important thing there is. There is obviously the LGBT issue (of which I am a huge supporter), but there's also the struggle Becky goes through, which makes this novel empathetic to all teens - not just gay ones. It is a cute story with a good message, I just find it lacks in the execution.
FTC: I received an ARC of this novel from Random House via Cavalier House Books in exchange for an honest review.