The story focuses on 16 year old Elise Dembowski, a girl who is unpopular for no specific reason, who during the summer desperately attempted to change herself, in order to fit in, not necessarily with the ‘cool’ kids, but just anywhere. However changing your outward appearance, still means you’re you on the inside, with all the same inhibitions, doubts and uncertainties.
change the fact that I was still a shy, anxious kid, who never would have gone out of her way to talk to people. Therefore my hope of making new friends was never really going to become a reality, because what my 10 year old self didn’t realize is that the outward change isn’t important. It’s the growth and self-discovery that occurs on the inside that will ultimately make you happy in the end.
The book has some pretty dark overtones, bullying, suicide, and self mutilation. But the author does a nice job of keeping the book light, and not overwhelming (not that any of the things mentioned should be taken lightly). But the book contrasts its darker side, with themes of friendship, accepting yourself and finding a place where you fit in. As for the main character Elise, I absolutely adored her. Her narration of the story was funny and relatable, and she felt like someone I could have easily known in real life.
I feel like no matter who picks up this book, they will find some part of themselves in Elise Dembowski, or at least have felt as she has at some point in their life. At 24, I still have moments where I feel like I struggle to fit in, but as I get older, fitting in seems less and less appealing and overall less important, and I’m learning to accept myself, flaws and all. I would recommend this book all teens, and adults, anyone who has felt like they never fit in, or who are still searching for their place in the world.
Things I loved about the book:
- The main characters narrative, was so enjoyable. Funny, witty and headstrong.
- There was romance, but it didn't take the main stage, and Elise's problems were not solved by a boy sweeping her off her feet.
My rating: 5/5