Title: Girl Wonder
Author: Alexa Martin
Pub Date: May 2011
Genre: Realistic Fiction
As if transferring senior year weren't hard enough, Charlotte Locke has been bumped to lower level classes at her new school. With no friends, a terrible math SAT score, and looming college application deadlines, the future is starting to seem like an oncoming train for which she has no ticket.My Thoughts:
Then Amanda enters her orbit like a hot-pink meteor, offering Charlotte a ticket to something else: popularity. Amanda is fearless, beautiful, brilliant, and rich. As her new side kick, Charlotte is brought into the elite clique of the debate team—and closer to Neal, Amanda's equally brilliant friend and the most perfect boy Charlotte has ever seen.
But just when senior year is looking up, Charlotte’s life starts to crumble. The more things heat up between Charlotte and Neal, the more Neal wants to hide their relationship. Is he ashamed? Meanwhile, Amanda is starting to act strangely competitive, and she's keeping a secret Charlotte doesn't want to know.
Talented newcomer Alexa Martin delivers a poignant story of first love, jealousy and friendship, where the ups and downs of senior year have never been so complicated. What else can Charlotte do but throw her hands up and ride?
I've been trying to read more realistic contemporary fiction. I think I need a break from paranormal and dystopian novels. Girl Wonder was an excellent change from apocalyptic things I've been reading lately.
I really liked Charlotte; she seemed totally real to me. Her struggle to fit in with her supper smart family is what really made her likable and really realistic. Charlotte's father's responses and reactions to Charlotte's academic choices and issues totally reminded me of some of friend's parents. Charlotte's need to fit in with Amanda and Neal and the downward spiral her life goes into because of this need may seem a bit over the top to some readers, but I thought it was pretty realistic. A lot of teens really struggle to fit in and go to extremes to do so. I had several friends in high school who went through very similar situations. Charlotte's not obsessed with popularity; she just wants to fit in somewhere and the super smart kids' clique is the sort of place her highly academic parents would (in her mind) like her to fit in. I also loved her little brother and his friend Milton. They're both super smart, but not in the same show-off-y way that Amanda and Neal are.
My only issue with the novel is the romance aspect. Charlotte's relationship with Neal wasn't all that interesting and (I thought) pretty predictable. He wants to hide her and doesn't really act all that interested in her, and she's just dying to fit in and have someone actually like her. It's so clear right from the beginning that this isn't going to work out. But even with my dislike of the romance between Charlotte and Neal, I still felt that Charlotte's struggle to fit in and her downward spiral were true-to-life and interesting.