Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: January 21, 2019
Format: eARC, 313 pages
How I got it: From the author
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon
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 received a complimentary copy of this book for review consideration.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
In Review: My Thoughts
Oh wow, Kathleen. What did you just do to me? And how do I write a review that does Be the Girl justice? What a gorgeous book. Her first YA contemporary was absolute perfection.
I won’t say I’ve been in a book funk lately, but I’ve definitely been struggling with my focus when I finally get time to read. Be the Girl pulled me out of that funk within the first chapter. As soon as I started reading, I knew I wouldn’t get anything done until I finished it. I found Aria relatable, Emmett swoony and Cassie adorable almost immediately. I went into the story blind — literally not having even read the blurb — and I’m glad I did. Be the Girl blew me away.
I’m not going to dig deep down into the plot here. All you really need to know is Aria is a girl trying to escape her past and shape a new future in a new town. We don’t know what all that past contains in the beginning, but it unfolds throughout the book. Her new neighbor is delightfully sweet and swoony — a genuine great guy — and I basically just wanted to hug him and his sister, Cassie, who is autistic. Actually I just loved the whole Hartford family. Aria’s mom and uncle were wonderful, too. But, I digress. Aria’s a new girl in a new town with new situations and new people to deal with. Plus she has a crush on her neighbor — I don’t blame her — who has a “perfect” girlfriend. So, yes, there’s some teenage angst. But I was here for it.
I could list a million little things I loved about Be the Girl, but I won’t. Instead I’ll just tell you that you should read it. It was a thought-provoking, unexpected and absolutely gorgeous book. Oh, my feels! They got pummeled for sure during this book. But, in the best way possible. Both sad and happy tears were shared and, I swear, at one point I didn’t even realize I was crying until a tear hit my iPad.
Sure, he’s nice, and cute, and funny. But I just didn’t feel that thing. You know that thing… when you meet eyes with a guy you like, and then they smile at you, and you have to remind yourself to breathe.
This whole crushing-hard-on-your-neighbor-when-he’s-in-love-with-his-beautiful-and-saintly-girlfriend thing sucks, big time. But, at least I get to see him every day. Friendship is better than strangers, right?
Years from now, if anyone asks me what I did for my sixteenth birthday, I’ll tell them I kissed Emmett Hartford. That’s all I’ll remember, and it will have been the best birthday of my life.
“Any rose can succumb to rot, given the right conditions. But, with enough attention, it can come back better than before.”
Do you plan to read Be the Girl?