Geek Girl – Cindy Bennett

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“Think I could turn that boy bad?”

My two best friends–my only two friends, really–follow my gaze and laugh.

“Trevor Hoffman?” Beth scoffs. “No way, Jen.”

“I bet I could,” I say, shrugging.

“Why him?” Beth asks. “Why not any of the other nerds sitting there with him?”

“Because,” I say slowly, “he isn’t your typical run-of-the-mill geek. Trevor Hoffman is different. He would be a little more difficult to take down–more of a challenge, you know?”

Jen’s teenage life of rebelling and sneaking out is growing stale. In an effort to combat her boredom, Jen makes a bet to turn Trevor, a nice geek, into a “bad boy.” Unexpectedly, she is pulled into Trevor’s world of sci-fi movies, charity work, and even–ugh!–bowling. Jen discovers that hanging out with Trevor isn’t so bad after all.

But when Trevor finds out about the wager, all bets are off.

There aren’t many “first love” stories that I think are spot-on, but Geek Girl truly captures the rollercoaster of emotions that not only constitute first love, but also first heartbreak. It’s also utterly un-put-downable. It’s impossible not to immerse yourself in Jen’s life, to feel every emotion right along with her. This book will make you laugh out loud, give you butterflies, bring you to the verge of tears, and quite possibly curl your toes as often as Jen does.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Jen is what you might call a “bad girl.” She’s been bounced around from who knows how many foster homes and she’s developed a pretty tough exterior. On a whim, she decides she needs a project and that project becomes turning Trevor, King of the Geeks, into a “bad boy.” But Trevor’s not as malleable as Jen first assumed and, after awhile, she realizes she doesn’t even want to change him. Instead, she might just want to change for him.

So begins the whirlwind romance of Jen and Trevor. Oddly enough, I found Jen to be one of the most relatable and likable characters I’ve ever read about. She’s charming, endearing, and ridiculously witty, though she’d probably only take the latter as a compliment. She also knows how to get exactly what she wants from guys – at least, when they’re playing by her rules. But Trevor’s different. He’s polite to a fault, honest, and genuinely good. He’s intrigued by Jen, but not intimidated. In essence, they’re perfect for each other.

Cindy Bennett is clearly a master at character development. Every time Jen and Trevor are together I feel as if I’m there with them. In fact, I feel as if I’m one of Trevor’s lame friends, joining the game for a sci-fi movie marathon. Bennett perfectly and accurately captures the high school experience, including the awkwardness that comes along with befriending those outside your “clique” and dealing with the backlash of the typical teenage drama. Bennett forges relationships with realistic, snappy dialogue and common interests (something many authors forget is one of the most important aspects of any relationship). Each secondary character is sufficiently explored, creating an entirely three-dimensional world.

In addition, Jen embarks on a rigorous journey of self-discovery that leaves the reader fascinated, empathetic, and rooting for her the entire way; I can’t imagine anyone failing to fall in love with her. Or Trevor, for that matter. This book is not for the faint of heart. It is filled with powerful emotions, both good and bad. And yes, it appeals to the geek in all of us, whether that part of you is big or small. I’ll admit I was more than a little proud of myself for recognizing almost all of the sci-fi references. Star Trek humor, anyone?

Pages: 271
Publication Date: December 2011
Publisher: Cedar Fort Publishing
Challenge: N/A
Rating [rating: 5]

Teaser Quote: “I look back at him and he’s smiling at my (very) little jokes. He has dimples, which I haven’t noticed before. Pretty cute—though they don’t cover his dorkiness.

 

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