By Lauren Barnholdt
July 6, 2010
Simon Pulse, 256 pages
Two years ago, when Eliza Sellman was in ninth grade, her dad found out he was being transfered and the family was going to move. Having always been shy and not so confident about her body, Eliza took that opportunity to start a list in her private notebook of all the things she planned on doing when she moved but had always been afraid to—like wearing a miniskirt and asking guys to dance; singing karaoke in front of strangers; posting a photo of herself on her Facebook wall in a bikini...you get the idea. New town, new Eliza, right?
Well, she'll never know because the transfer fell through and they didn't move. But Eliza kept adding her goals and secret fears to the list in the notebook. Now it's two years later, and in that time Eliza has had and lost her first boyfriend. But this was more than your average breakup...turns out the sweet and cute Cooper was only dating her as a hazing stunt by a secret society. Eliza got her revenge by posting some pretty nasty (and only sort-of true) stuff about Cooper online. That posting has had major consequences and now Cooper and his buddies have stolen her private notebook and won't give it back until she performs all the things on her list in one night. It's torture...until Eliza steals something from the boys she knows they'll want to trade her notebook for.
What starts out as a night of humiliation turns into a night of revelations as Eliza learns what Cooper was really thinking when they dated, the real reason he's stolen her notebook, and how freeing—and life-changing—it can be to do the things you fear the most.
— GoodReads.com description
Dear Lauren Barnholdt,
Hi. You don't know me, but I'm Anna and I'm pretty sure we could be best friends. Do you agree? Please say yes. TTYL!
Your Future BFFL
Oh, I'm sorry, was that creepy? WHO CARES. Because if the dialogue in this book is any representation of how Lauren Barnholdt actually talks/thinks, our friendship is a done deal.
The characters are hilarious, frank and, best of all, realistic. I could not stop laughing out loud. Eliza's thought processes are genius, and she holds nothing back.
"I'm starting to a little bit warm inside, and it feels good, but I know enough to realize that there's a fine line between feeling all warm and good insane and ending up puking into the bushes while people shake their head sadly at you and mumble things about how you can't hold your liquor. Not that that's happened to me before. But I do know some people it has happened to, cough, Jeremiah, cough."*
The cast of characters was superb: Eliza's two best friends are loyal, quirky and endearing,** and Cooper is the perfect mix between popular and geeky-awkward. I read it in just two hours, so I can't recommend this book enough for someone who wants a quick read with plenty of laughs.
If you like this book, you might also like: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan, another book set over the course of one crazy night.
*For my favorite part and further evidence of her super awesome dialogue, please check out the exchange regarding "OMG" that begins on page 168. Thank you.
**Please note that Marissa and Clarice reminded me of two of my blogger friends, who shall remain nameless. This made it beyond enjoyable to picture them while reading about the girls' hijinks.