Thank you to K.A. Tucker for the chance to review an ARC of Be the Girl.
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.
K.A. Tucker became one of my favorite authors last year when I finally checked Ten Tiny Breaths off my TBR list and was able to read an ARC of The Simple Wild, which made my favorites list of 2018. I’m impressed with K.A.’s easy writing style and relatable storytelling. I was eager to check out Be the Girl, especially since this will be published Independently of Atria. While my attention has recently drifted to more traditionally published books, my heartstrings are still tugged by Indie books.
Guys, Be the Girl is an important book. It’s likely one of the most influential YA books I’ve ever read. The topics discussed here are incredibly important and there are things I wish I could discuss in greater detail, but for the sake of avoiding spoilers, I need to keep certain points mum.
I especially enjoyed the beginnings of each chapter starting with a journal entry from our main character, Aria. This added an element of mystery and a link to past events that kept me eagerly turning the pages, particularly in the beginning of the story. This allows readers to get to know her on a more personal level, rather than reading her through interactions with friends and family members. My thoughts on Aria as a character are up in the air at this point. One thing I can truly say is that she seems like one of the most realistic teenage characters I’ve ever read.
The hero of the story to all readers will be Emmett, without a doubt. He’s the guy everyone wants to know and be around in high school. The guy you would assume is a jerk, due simply to his magnetism, only to discover he has a soft heart. I couldn’t help but love the guy. The ways he showed his care for his autistic sister, Cassie, were incredibly heartwarming. Emmett made me want to be a gentler person!
I could go on and on about each character, but I don’t particularly enjoy reading reviews about characters I’ve yet to meet myself, so I want to dive into the meat of the story without giving too much away. The first half of this book flew by as I was baited each chapter by interesting tidbits that made me eager to see what would happen next. As the story drew on, however, I felt it became a bit predictable and found myself reading faster if only to get to the twist. One of the things that is a challenge for me with YA books as an adult are the mundane life scenes – going to school, coming home, doing homework. I hate for my age to start showing, but these scenes bore me. This was no fault of K.A. Tucker’s, as this book fits smack dab in it’s intended genre. This aspect only reflects on my personal enjoyment.
Despite my three-star rating (due to my enjoyment, not the story), because I find myself moving further away from YA every year, I believe this book will be well received by readers of all ages. Its importance in informing the young and old of the bullying teenagers face in the world today is unparalleled. If I was a teacher, this book would be recommended to students constantly and hopefully very rarely on my shelf. K.A. Tucker did an amazing job of bringing real-world issues to life with her characters and making me feel such intense empathy toward kids growing up today. None of us are perfect, but with the help of books like this one, maybe we can slowly become better people.
K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge.
She is the USA Today bestselling author of 18 books, including the Causal Enchantment, Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series, He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, The Simple Wild, and Be the Girl. Her books have been featured in national publications including USA Today, Globe & Mail, Suspense Magazine, First for Women, and Publisher’s Weekly. She has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance 2013 for TEN TINY BREATHS and Best Romance 2018 for THE SIMPLE WILD. Her novels have been translated into 16 languages.
K.A. Tucker currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her family