Perfect hair, perfect teeth, perfect brain.
Impulsive Lottie – heavy-metal fan, expert tomato-grower and frequent visitor to the principal’s office – is in even more trouble than usual.
Her best friend Grace has dropped an unlikely bombshell: she’s dating Lottie’s mortal enemy, good-girl Evelyn Tait.
Studious Jude, the boy next door, has the perfect war plan. Lottie will beat Evelyn at her own good-girl game, unveiling Miss Perfect’s sinister side in the process.
Taking life more seriously starts as fun, but soon offers its own rewards … so long as Lottie can manage gorgeous Sebastian’s sudden interest, Jude acting weird, and the discovery that she might actually be good at something.
This book was an absolute delight from start to finish, and it is the kind of book to keep on your shelf to reread the next time you need a heart-hugging comfort read.
I really got along well with the writing style – I often find there is something about 1st person POV (especially in YA) that grates at me a bit, but I didn’t even think about that as I was reading this one, I thought the Lottie’s voice was humourous and intimate and charming. The characters felt really relatable – both in terms of the issues/self doubt/coming of age kinds of things that Lottie and here friends are facing, but also (now that I’m old) the parents in the book. There is a scene between Lottie and her stepmum that is just so perfect and moving and genuine that I still think about it all the time. The family dynamics felt authentic, and the theme of the way families change and grow was brought out really well.
Speaking of perfect – the development of relationships in this is also spot on, and Poppy absolutely nails the chemistry between Lottie and one of the guys in another perfect scene. I can’t say much more without spoiling anything, but picture me doing Kermit arms and heart eyes while I tell you that this is a scene that could teach adult romance writers a thing or two, but without it moving beyond PG level action. The way the writing captures the tension and the feeling to make them feel real and so relatable is stunning and did I mention the perfection?
I loved seeing Lottie grow throughout the story – there were some passages where she has realisations about the world and her relationships with others that I just thought were so wonderfully worded – like this one, about her music teacher:
“No teacher has offered to spend more time on me before, or believed in me enough to offer me anything except detention slips and complaints…. And I think that maybe, just maybe, I never gave any of my teachers a real chance to offer me anything before.”
I really enjoyed the way Lottie and Grace were interested in words, and this is another quote I loved, which I felt spoke volumes about Lottie and her growth was this one:
“Sonder. It means to understand that everyone around you is living a life as complex and vivid as your own.”
Isn’t that beautiful?
In case the above isn’t clear, or you need a TL;DR, I loved this book – definitely one to pick up if you are looking for some contemporary #loveozya to fall into (and in love with). This is Poppy’s second novel – I have her first one, Making Friends with Alison Dyson, on my shelf and I’m looking forward to reading it soon.
Source: I received a free copy from Wakefield Press (Thank you!)
Category: Contemporary Australian YA
Themes: family, friends, LGBTQ rep, coming of age
Format: Paperback (264 pages)