Things don’t work out as intended when an overorganized, fiercely determined girl tries to get a handsome boy to like her by following a rigidly detailed “Love Plan.”
“Just act like yourself,” Chrissy tells her friend Lauren. But Lauren, who is nothing if not prepared, has been observing Charlie for some time and is absolutely determined to be the kind of girl who will knock his socks off. That’s if she can ever get his attention, though naturally she has a plot for that as well. Even before Lauren pulls out the flow chart, savvy readers will know that her scheme is doomed to failure. Many cringe-worthy moments follow as this initially rather emotionally tone-deaf rising seventh-grader learns to trust her instincts, be a more genuine person and also how to be a friend. This G-rated, nascent, not-quite-romance novel, which takes place during a three-week beach vacation, is squarely aimed at preteen girls and ends on a feel-good note that should please and satisfy them. Although the material never transcends its genre and the characters are somewhat generic, Lauren’s personal evolution is welcome and feels earned.
The story has a lesson worth learning: If a girl has to change “the way she looks and acts” to interest a guy, then maybe that guy isn’t worth interesting. (Fiction. 8-12)