Sunday, September 11, 2011

Geek Girl (ARC) ~ Cindy C. Bennett

Thank you to NetGalley for this arc of "Geek Girl".  (For some reason goodreads is showing the old version that was previously released but this is not the version I read.) 

In this book, author, Cindy C. Bennett takes us on a young girl's journey through incredible pain and misunderstanding to her discovery of her true self worth, love, forgiveness and hope.

Jen, (love her name, btw) a self imposed outcast at her current high school is a girl on a mission, to see if she can turn geeky Trevor, to the dark side. She makes a bet with her two BFF's, (and twins) Beth and Ella over lunch one day and what's her prize if she can pull this off?  They agree to pay for another lip piercing. Sounds um, fun, right?  (guess there's no cookies on this dark side, just piercings) Well, in their world, whoever has the most piercings, the worst attitude, parties the hardest or has the most overall disdain for anyone not like them is coolest. To each their own. 

Jen's a foster kid whose been bounced around to different homes over the years and doesn't expect to be with her current family for much longer.  She claims they're suffocating her with their stupid rules like no sneaking out, no drugs, no drinking and no facial piercings. (SO LAME, right?!) At least they don't make too big of a deal about her appearance which is totally goth.  She tends to get irritated at people's initial reaction to her and assumes the worst of them (like the first time she meets Trevor's Mom) but wait, isn't that the point of dressing the way she does? To get a reaction?  She fails to see that she's totally judging them the way she assumes they're judging her.

Once we get to know her more, we see that she has horrible self esteem, constantly referring to herself as a freak and dark. Her appearance and her attitude are just a few of the ways she tries to protect herself from pain and rejection, two things she knows way too much about.  It's hard to feel you're worth much when the people in your life who are supposed to protect you have done nothing but use and abuse you. Ironically, she has very high moral standards for herself even if the way she lives her life contradicts that at times.

Trevor is our story's heroic "hot guy in geek's clothing". (think "knight in shining armor")  He's everything Jen is not, at least that's the way it appears.  He's smart, funny, a good student, does community service and enjoys spending time with his friends and family.  He's skeptical at first when Jen starts paying so much attention to him but he decides to go with it.  He never once judges her and each time she refers to herself as a freak he corrects her and says she's "different" or "interesting".  He takes the time to listen and get to know her and is nothing but supportive even when Jen's making choice that he doesn't agree with. When she tells him she doesn't feel like she's good enough for him, he's patient and reassuring. OK, so where do I get my "TEAM TREV" T-shirt?

For her part, Jen starts to realize that "Trev" in all his sci-fi geekiness is actually a great guy who she's beginning to fall for...and hard.  She finds herself able to trust him with her story and doesn't want things to come to an end.  When her friends press her for answers about their bet, she repeatedly puts them off which only angers them.  Her relationship with Trev has a positive effect on not only her social life (she starts easing up on her appearance when he tells her she's beautiful without all the harsh makeup - sigh) but her home life as well. She can hardly believe it when he tells her he's in love with her because once again, she doesn't feel worth of him.  She knows she should tell him about the bet she made but she doesn't want to ruin things. She doesn't want to lose him, but the truth always comes out and when it does, it's heartbreaking and painful for all involved, including the reader.

When her life comes crashing down around her, Jen will find out who her real friends are, what she's really worth and just how strong the bonds of love and family are.

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