A teenage he said/she said caper.
With her opening line—"I am in so much trouble"—17-year-old prep school refugee Kelsey draws readers into her complicated existence, studded with white lies and whoppers. On her first day at the local public school, the gimlet-eyed heroine meets her match in Isaac, the hot, reckless son of a senator. Their sarcastic sparring, brimming with pride and prejudice and f-bombs, builds a Lizzy-vs.-Darcy chemistry as they each struggle to overcome their mistakes. The first-person narration alternates between them, providing insight into their separate journeys toward authenticity as they work together on a school project that is designed to save them both—and goes horribly awry. Although the chaotic aftermath is detailed early on, Barnholdt's snappy dialogue and deftly woven flashbacks will keep readers turning the pages in comic suspense.
Romance fans will find the conclusion satisfying even as it is refreshingly messy. (Fiction. 14 & up)