Well, That Was Awkward – by Rachel Vail


   Well, That Was Awkward – by Rachel Vail, Viking, (9780670013081), 2017.

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5:  (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

What did you like about the book? Best friends Gracie and Sienna and best buddies AJ and Emmett take center stage in this Cyrano de Bergerac themed story, much of which takes place in text messages. When Gracie realizes that she likes AJ, she asks Emmett to see if AJ likes her back only to discover that AJ likes her best friend, Sienna instead. Trying to be a good friend, Gracie helps the somewhat reluctant Sienna to acquire her first boyfriend, even taking over when Sienna can’t think what to say when texting with AJ. Why is it, though, that Gracie connects with AJ so easily when they exchange texts but not when face-to-face? Readers will notice how well Emmett, not AJ, relates to Gracie long before Gracie does. Vail captures the awkwardness and triumphs of middle school years perfectly. Side stories include bullying by mean girl Riley and how Gracie feels about being the surviving sibling in her family that used to include an older sister. Though slightly predictable, this engaging middle school dramedy rings true.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  Keeping the characters straight is a little confusing in the beginning but they quickly sort themselves into distinct personalities.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommend to fans of realistic books with protagonists who are basically nice kids, such as Lauren Myracle’s Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen series, Wendy Mass’ Willow Falls series, and Rachel Vail’s other book that features social media, Unfriended.

Who should buy this book? Middle school libraries and public libraries.

Where would you shelve it?  Shelve in Fiction.

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Top quarter of the pile.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Mary Melaugh, Marshall Middle School Library, Billerica, MA

Date of review:  4/9/17

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