Author: K.A. Tucker
Publication date: January 21st, 2019
Target Audience: Young Adult
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Find It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
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.
My eyes are closed and rhythmic music pulsates through my earbuds when a knock sounds on my bedroom door.
“Come in!” I hit pause on my playlist.
The door eases open.
“Hey, your mom asked me to—bring these in.”
I bolt upright in bed as a towering guy with wavy chestnut brown hair strolls in, his arms loaded with two cardboard boxes, his lips pressed together firmly as if trying not to laugh.
Cassie trails him, her mouth splitting wide with a grin when she sees me. “Your face is green!” she declares with a bark of laughter.
And burning red beneath this mud mask.
“Why is your face green?”
“It’s just … nothing,” I mumble.
“Is it a face mask?” she presses.
“Where do you want these?” the guy asks, having the decency to avert his gaze.
“Over there?” I croak, pointing to the shelves by the window, desperate to tunnel beneath my sheets. As if the mask isn’t bad enough, my hair is piled messily on top of my head and I’m wearing an old cotton T-shirt with my former high school’s logo and boxer shorts that, while comfortable beyond compare, are far from cute.
“This is my brother, Emmett. He just got home from the United States,” Cassie introduces proudly as he leans over to set the boxes on the floor, giving me a great view of his muscular arms and the shape of his broad back, straining beneath the weight. “This is Aria with a green face. She likes dogs, just like me, and she hates tomatoes, just like me.” The introduction comes out in one long string of words, using her slightly offbeat inflections.
Emmett eases to his feet. “Hello, Aria with a green face who likes dogs and hates tomatoes.” His smile is wide and broad, and shows off his perfect white teeth and two deep-set dimples in his cheeks. His eyes are a rich, dark brown and they complement his olive-toned skin. His nose is angular and in perfect proportion. His jawline is square and solid, any hint of boyishness gone.
Much like my ragged ensemble, this guy is far from cute.
I swallow my embarrassment. “Yeah. Hey.”
“Look what Emmett brought me!” Cassie holds up a stuffed animal in a burgundy jersey with a yellow “M” across the front. “His name is Goldy Gopher. He’s a hockey mascot. I love mascots. Do you like mascots?”
“I don’t know? Maybe?” What I do know is that I really don’t want to carry on a conversation about mascots with my hot neighbor and his sister while I look like this.
“So, we’ll … uh …” Emmett casts his thumb toward the door.
“Yeah. Good. I mean …” I shake my head, cringing at myself.
“You have stars!” Cassie’s wide eyes lock on the stickers above my bed.
“Yeah.” More humiliation to add to tonight’s collection. Mom “stumbled upon them” in the wallpaper section at Home Depot. Truthfully, I think she went looking for them. She’s like that when she gets something in her head. I plastered on a fake smile instead of telling her I’m too old for glow-in-the-dark stars.
“I like your room. It looks different.” Cassie’s eyes drift, scanning the space as if memorizing it.
“See you around, Aria.” Emmett ruffles Cassie’s hair on his way past, and then hooks an arm around her shoulders and steers her toward the door. She stiffens. “Come on. Let’s give green-faced Aria some privacy,” he mock-whispers, earning her burst of childlike laughter.
He pulls my door shut, but not before turning back to offer one last devastatingly handsome look, his brown eyes twinkling with amusement.
And in that moment, beneath a cluster of tacky glow-in-the-dark stars, my face green with clay and red with embarrassment, I fall hopelessly in love with the boy next door.
As soon as the door clicks, I flop back into my bed with a groan.
When I say that K.A. Tucker should be on everyone’s auto buy list, I do not exaggerate. She never fails to bowl me over with each new book. Just when I think that she can’t get any better…she does.
Be The Girl is an amazing read on so many levels. Honestly there is no review I could write that would do this book justice. It has it all.
This is a story about coming of age, learning from ones mistakes, learning to trust, learning to forgive others and perhaps the most difficult to forgive oneself. It’s themes include: young love, bullying, divorce, autism, second chances, surviving widowing and so so much more….
When young almost sixteen year old Aria Jones and her newly divorced mother move across country to live with her great uncle…it’s apparently the fresh start that they both need. They’ve changed their last name, changed locations are are starting over. What exactly they are running from…aside from Aria’s cheating father and his new family…is a bit of a mystery.
As we get to know Aria and her mom, her curmudgeonly uncle and the family that lives next door…including the gorgeous, athletic, smart and kind Emmett…we grow to really like her even as we know and suspect that she is keeping secrets from us and Emmett. Her friendship with Cassie, her crush on Emmett, her love of animals, her sincerity in caring for her mom and uncle all add up to building a great if someone immature (hey she’s only fifteen) character.
Eventually those secrets are revealed and everything blows apart. In the aftermath Cassie, Emmett, and the reader too are all left conflicted and confused. We are left perhaps even evaluating our own behaviors and decisions as well as our thresholds for forgiveness and our ability to believe in change and second chances.
Go out a grab a copy of Be The Girl by K.A. Tucker. You won’t be disappointed.