God, I loved this book. I can’t believe I didn’t read this when it came out in 2001, when I was actually in the target demographic. But Jessica Darling is such a wonderful young adult character and I love her just as much as a 26 year old as I probably would have as a 14 year old.
Jessica’s best friend Hope moves away, stranding Jessica in her New Jersey high school with the rest of their group of friends, who Jessica strongly feels are significantly inferior to Hope. Jessica has her best guy friend, who has clear ulterior motives as he’s been in love with her since middle school. The remaining girls – one a little “slutty,” one pretty girl with impossible dreams and a boyfriend, and one follower – are just not Hope.
What I think this book captures about high school better than most is that the drama of high school isn’t the build up to a Major Event. How many young adult books have you read that centered around prom, or homecoming, or a major sporting event, or some Very Special Event?