A girl struggling to find her own voice learns how to speak like herself.
Linden, an “average” white girl, feels as though she's invisible in the crowd and just goes with the flow—she's not like her Filipina best friend, Nikki, who's not afraid to call herself fat, or self-confident leaders like the popular girls. She wants to be a writer, yet she doesn't show anyone what she writes. To step out of her comfort zone, she volunteers to publicize the upcoming prom—and at the same time, cute, brown-skinned Mexican Alex starts showing her some attention. Then an app called Worthy hits their Texas high school, polling students whether girls in popular couples are “worthy” of the guys. Linden and Nikki, among other girls, both question why only the girls are subject to judging, and when each of them end up on Worthy, it shakes up their relationships—and their friendship. (Evidently same-sex couples are not worthy of Worthy, which goes largely unquestioned in the text.) In an uneasy melding of the two storylines—Linden’s poor self-confidence and cyberbullying—somehow, making it to Worthy boosts Linden’s sense of her own worth. The story turns: rather than Linden’s search for confidence through her writing it becomes about why others’ opinions matter, undermining both themes.
In the end, it’s a fairly conventional high school romance, slightly elevated by the feminist elements. (Fiction. 12-16)