In this debut, a shy girl finds herself thrown, literally, into the arms of her dream boy, the boyfriend of a girl who’s bullying her.
Bea may be shy, and she may not cope well when former friend Pearl mercilessly mocks her and sends her threatening text messages, but she can’t help dreaming about Ollie. Pearl has become the queen bee of the school, leaving Bea hiding in the shadows. Even Bea’s best friend, Kat, has entered Pearl’s orbit. Sadly, Ollie appears to be on the verge of becoming Pearl’s official boyfriend. When Bea reluctantly agrees to enter a televised dance contest Pearl is also in, she learns that Ollie will be her partner. The two learn jive dance from Ollie’s big sister, Lulu, who owns a dance studio. Bea turns out to be a natural jive dancer, and her shyness melts away while she dances. She and Ollie get along well, but Bea’s awareness of his relationship with Pearl keeps her from trusting him completely, threatening their success. Many of Pearl’s pranks feel more appropriate to middle school than to high school, but McLachlan takes the bullying seriously. American readers may find a few British references unfamiliar, but they should have no difficulty accessing the story, particularly as it offers plenty of humor to leaven the bullying storyline.
Spunky fun. (Fiction. 12-18)