Monday 4 March 2019

Book ~ "Be the Girl" (2019) K.A. Tucker

From Goodreads ~ 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 - 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.

Fifteen-year-old Aria and her mother move from Calgary to a small town about an hour outside of Toronto to escape their past and start over.  They move in with Merv, her mother's elderly uncle.  Next door live the friendly Hartfords.  The Hartfords have a daughter named Cassie, who is a year younger than Aria and autistic.  She is friendly and happy and thinks everyone is her friend.  They also have a son named Emmett who is a year older than Aria, and popular, a hockey star and protective of his sister.

Aria and Cassie become friends and Aria and Emmett become friends, though Aria would like more.  Emmett, though, has the perfect girlfriend in Holly.  When Aria discovers that Holly isn't so perfect, she debates whether to let Emmett know.  She eventually decides that Emmett needs to know the truth.  Emmett breaks up with Holly, who does everything she can to win him back, and Emmett and Aria become close.

I've read lots of books by this author.  I liked this story (there was twist at the end) and the writing style.  It's written in first person perspective in Aria's voice.  It was interesting to read a book where an autistic character had such a prominent role.  As a head's up, there is some swearing and "adult" activity.

I think this book is written for teens so I'm not the target audience.  I found it hard to believe that Emmett would be dating perfect Holly for a year, drop her and pick up with awkward Aria the next day.  Also, I found the scenes where Aria and Emmett are making out kind of icky considering they are teenagers and just started dating.

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