This novel with two protagonists has authentic teen voices but nothing new to say.
The students at Julius P. Heil High School are shaken up when several boys transfer out, losing "[t]welve percent of the population" and "sixty percent of the hotness." Boys like Hunter, a slacker who hangs out with Derek the pyromaniac and Eugene the beer supplier, suddenly become much more appealing. Kelly, a girl who just blends in, wonders how she can compete with the "spandexers." Amid budget cuts at their school, Kelly and Hunter become better friends by teaching music to third graders. When Hunter reveals his musical skills during the school talent show, spandexer Diva sinks her hooks into him. Kelly knows she's fallen for Hunter, and Hunter knows what a great girl Kelly is. Can these two teens find a way to make it work? The dialogue is witty and crisp, capturing the rhythms of teen conversations. This authenticity is reflected in profanity and mentions of underage drinking and pot-smoking. Male characters are particularly well-drawn, yet the plot is thin and standard.
Teens who enjoy novels in two voices will pick this up, but they will find little new. (Fiction. 14 & up)