Awkward by Marni Bates

Awkward Cover

Wonderful young-adult chick lit with a terrific romantic subplot

Awkward (Smith High #1) by Marni Bates

Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: December 27, 2011
Pages: 300 pages
Publisher: Kensington Books
Source: Library
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

Seventeen-year-old Mackenzie Wellesley is an excellent student, but she’s unfortunately both socially and physically awkward. Her clumsiness has become a way of life for her during the past ten years, ever since she tripped at a ballet recital, yanked down a curtain, and exposed her father’s kissing her dancing instructor. Mack has blamed herself for the resulting divorce, and has been estranged from her father ever since, because he remarried, moved out of state and essentially abandoned poor Mack. As a result, she has been distrustful of the entire male sex, other than her kind and light-hearted, gay best friend Corey, and she has never dated. In addition, Mack has purposely chosen to remain socially invisible, existing on the outskirts of the various social groups at her high school. Her only relationship other than Corey is her other best friend, Jane, a fellow, studious, introverted geek, until the day that Mack accidentally knocks down a huge football player with her backpack. While he is lying, stunned, on the ground, Mack assumes his life is in danger, and unknown to her, a fellow student records her hysterical and wildly funny attempt at administering CPR on the fallen jock. When the video is posted on YouTube, Mack becomes an overnight sensation, originally due to being a laughingstock, but soon after because a famous boy band cuts clips of the infamous CPR video into their own music video of one of their most popular songs. This new mashup video receives millions of hits, and paparazzi begin stalking Mack everywhere she goes.

This is a humorous and endearing chick lit novel. Mack is an extremely sympathetic heroine, and her overwhelmed but witty reactions to the events surrounding her YouTube fame are enormously entertaining. I love her existing best friends Corey and Jane, as well as the new friends Mack makes after she is catapulted from obscurity to a national limelight.

I was also delighted with the terrific romance subplot. Mack’s love interest, Logan, is a great guy, and the repartee between him and Mack is my favorite part of the book. Amidst all the other craziness befalling poor Mack, there isn’t as much on-stage time with Logan as I would personally have liked, because he is one of the best YA male love interests I’ve read this year–not just a handsome face but compassionate, responsible and very smart.

I’m looking forward to reading more books by this talented author. Mack’s friend Jane has her own novel in the sequel, Invisible.

I rate this book as follows:

Heroine: 5

Subcharacters: 5

Chick-Lit Plot: 5

Romantic Subplot with Logan: 5

Writing: 5

Overall: 5

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