Wit is the order of the day as the good girl who never fights back learns to do just that when she’s forced to defend her friends in this high school takedown.
Jane Smith feels invisible not only in school, but too often to her own friends. But when the football hero insults her equally shy friend, Isobel, Jane literally punches him on the nose. The school counselor punishes her but not the hero. To make matters worse, she is assigned a hard-hitting front-page story for the school newspaper by the bullying editor and intimidating teacher—with pushy photographer Scott as her collaborator. When Jane’s story appears in the paper, everything goes wrong in a way that readers easily will predict. Of course the plot is absurd; it’s a comedy. The author continues the formula she concocted for her previous books (Awkward, 2012, etc.), keeping the wit dialed up to 11 in a comedy of errors. Constant quips about school, life and current situations will delight readers. Nearly everything works for laughs, but Jane also learns some solid life lessons about bullying and courage, and she teaches some lessons about friendship to her own circle as well. Some romance, also transparent from the start, adds interest.
Next to be featured? The school queen bee. Readers who like Bates’ formula will want to stay tuned. (Comedy. 12 & up)