Review of “Awkward” by Marni Bates

Mackenzie Wellesley, 17, is a self-described geek who explains, “I fill a certain niche at my school, the local nerd.” Along with her best friends Jane and Corey (the cliché male gay friend), she navigates the social waters of Smith High School in Forest Grove, Oregon, by sticking with the Invisibles and avoiding the Notables (“who exist in a sphere of coolness”).


It so happens the most notable of The Notables, Logan Beckett, has hired Mackenzie as his history tutor, because she is not only a nerd, but a fiercely smart one. Mackenzie isn’t so impressed by him: “Being born rich with killer genetics isn’t exactly a personal accomplishment.” Rather, she has a crush on Patrick Bradford, even though he hasn’t shown her any positive attributes either except for having “melty chocolate eyes.”

Mackenzie’s greatest accomplishment, besides her grades, seems to consist of humiliating herself in public. She outdoes herself as the book begins, when she crashes into a football player, and then tries to give him CPR:

“I alternated between shouting for the nurse and yelling, ‘Does ANYONE know if I’m doing this right? AM I KILLING HIM RIGHT NOW? Can SOMEONE make sure I’M NOT KILLING HIM RIGHT NOW?!”

If you think this sounds hysterical, you wouldn’t be alone: in the story, someone has captured the whole episode on a phone and sent it to YouTube. Before long the whole country is laughing at Mackenzie. Worse yet, a hot boy-band named ReadySet picks up the clip and incorporates it into a video with their new all-the-rage song. Pretty soon, Mackenzie is about as far from invisible as you can get!

Will fame change Mackenzie? Will she have a metamorphosis? Will she get the guy? She messes up at first, but quickly recovers, and also learns to use what has happened to her for the best outcome.

Evaluation: This is a delightful, sweet book for tweens with a fun (if predictable) plot and a feel-good ending. There are good lessons for kids in this book, which provides an entertaining read for all ages.

Rating: 3.5/5

Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation, 2012


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3 Responses to Review of “Awkward” by Marni Bates

  1. sandynawrot says:

    Probably a little young for my daughter, but it is always good to know some actual decent, clean books for tweens. You know, other than Twilight.

  2. I’m glad you enjoyed this too. I’ve read two of Bates’ books and thought they were both fun.

  3. Athira says:

    This does sound very delightful. I like that cover. I’ll probably keep this in mind when I’m looking for a light fun read.

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