Title: Be the Girl
Author: KA Tucker
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 21 Jan 2019
Synopsis from Goodreads
Almost sixteen-year-old Aria Jones is starting over. New postal code, new last name, new rules. But she doesn’t mind, because it means she can leave her painful regrets behind. In the bustling town of Eastmonte, she can become someone else. Someone better.
With the Hartford family living next door, it seems she will succeed. Sure, Cassie Hartford may be the epitome of social awkwardness thanks to her autism, but she also offers an innocent and sincere friendship that Aria learns to appreciate. And Cassie’s older brother, Emmett—a popular Junior A hockey player with a bright future—well … Aria wishes that friendship could lead to something more. If he didn’t already have a girlfriend, maybe it would.
But Aria soon finds herself in a dicey moral predicament that could derail her attempt at a fresh start. It is her loyalty to Cassie and her growing crush on Emmett that leads her to make a risky move, one that earns her a vindictive enemy who is determined to splinter her happy new world
Be the Girl is a difficult story to review without spoilers, it is a thought-provoking read as well as a sad reflection of the negative aspects of today’s society. How hate and unkindness spreads and thrives causing repercussions on so many levels. From personal experience having my own children as well as working with children and teens, the tendency to drag people down in order to feel better about themselves is a devastating trend; where meanness is thinly disguised as banter 😢
Aria is a complex character, flawed and imperfect but striving to become the person she most wants to be. Aria and her mother have moved across the country, for reasons that are divulged piecemeal through the narrative. Rebuilding their lives and coming to terms with the events leading up to the move.
Aria’s character development is the cornerstone of the plot with a lot of issues revealed and reflected upon along the way. As you have often known me state, it is the negative events in our lives that shape our personalities the most. The use of journal entries/letters allows an intimate glimpse into Aria’s psyche along with providing
I adored the next-door neighbours, from the cute boy to the quirky, autistic girl, both of whom teach Aria valuable lessons in kindness, compassion, empathy and friendship. The romance within the plot was merely the icing on the cake 😍 Emmett is a true role model for teen boys showing that you can be both popular and kind 😍
Growing up is hard in any generation, the price of popularity often a steep one, where the naivety of youth can blind people to the right path. However, there is room for personal growth and change even if that transformation comes at a cost. We as human beings tend to learn our lessons the hard way, in this case so does Aria.