Narrator Josie, 15, is a bossy, Styx-loving, gifted eccentric and happy to stay that way, but the family status quo—her loving parents and older sisters—is about to be shaken up.
Not only does Josie detest her sister Kate’s fiance, she misses Kate, who’s changed. Josie tries to enlist her parents and equally gifted best friend, Stu, in her crusade against catastrophe. While they agree with her that Geoff’s hard to like, they’re willing to try since Kate chose him. However, romantic love’s a language Josie hasn’t learned. Her campaign to stop the wedding alienates Kate and annoys her parents. Josie’s efforts to speak this foreign language herself aren’t going well, either. Classmate Stefan wants to be loved, not liked. She crushes on Ethan, then discovers he’s teaching her sociolinguistics class at the college she and Stu attend part-time. Beneath Josie’s buoyant exterior, anxieties work their way to the surface—accepting the inevitable isn’t her strong suit. Pushed, Kate proves to have sharp edges. She ridicules Josie’s appearance, demanding she get contact lenses and a push-up bra for the wedding. Josie’s a rarity in teen literature, a genuine original. Being gifted sets her apart. Armored by arch mannerisms, trying to control what can’t be controlled, wanting and fearing love, she’s one of us.
Lively characters and a satisfying plot foil reader expectations in the best possible way. (Fiction. 12-18)