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GIRL WONDER by Alexa Martin


by Alexa Martin

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: May 3rd, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4231-2135-0
Publisher: Hyperion

A solid debut captures the social maelstrom that is high school. Charlotte, 17, lands in an awful public high school when her family moves to the Pacific Northwest. Worse, instead of going into its accelerated program, she’s placed in low-level classes instead, because of a math disability. Unable to make friends, she watches a rebellious, wealthy girl with flaming hair who’s been kicked out of all the best schools yet aces her advanced classes with no effort. Charlotte becomes a regular sidekick to Amanda, the “girl wonder,” gaining entry into high-school society. Charlotte also can’t resist Neal, the hunky leader of the debate club, and signs up for the team even though she learns that she’s terrible at public speaking. Spectacular debater Amanda joins too, and it becomes clear that she and Neal have a past. As Charlotte becomes more involved with Neal, however, she worries that he won’t commit. If Charlotte can’t keep up with the debate team and doesn’t trust her new friends, can she live without a social life? And why should she even try for college? Martin keeps readers involved with her distinctive, colorful and believable characters and by placing Charlotte in a fractured but realistic family life. The prose moves along nicely, mixing Charlotte’s introspection with active scenes. Amanda may be wonderful, but Charlotte is the one who shines. Insightful—and entertaining too. (Fiction. 14 & up)