Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: January 12, 2010
Source: Contest Win
Synopsis: Looking for a new beginning after a terrible mean girl past, Charlie Healey realizes there’s no escaping high school drama.Charlie Healey thinks Harmony Falls is the beginning of a whole new life. Middle school was brutal. But high school is Charlie’s big chance to start over and stay out of drama, except that on her first day she runs into Will, her ex–best friend, who had moved away. Now a varsity athlete and hotter than Charlie remembered, Will hangs with the crowd running the school. But Charlie doesn’t understand their power until an innocent delivery guy falls victim to a near-deadly hazing prank. Torn between doing what’s right and her secret feelings for Will, Charlie must decide whether to turn in her very best friend or live with the guilt of knowing what he did. Rosalind Wiseman’s first novel for young adults is a fresh, funny, and juicy read about friendship, betrayal, and how far some will go to be accepted.
Charlie's big dilemma throughout the novel is deciding on whether she should tell someone that the older boys on the lacrosse team are forcing the freshman varsity players to do these dangerous initiation traditions so they can be "part of the team". Charlie thought she escaped manipulative mean girls once she switched schools.... she didn't expect that manipulation to cross over to high school boys. But it does and it's much more deadly-especially for Will, one of the freshman involved in these initiations. As the narrator, Charlie was a good character but I wish I could say I felt the same towards the rest of the characters; the recurring characters could've been a lot more developed than they already were. Any reader would be able to distinguish who was who but they seemed...very one-dimensional. And then there were other characters that I wanted to show up more (like Gwo and Josh, two of Charlie's friends at the newspaper. Or Charlie's brother Luke.) but they tended to fade within a few chapters. Then there's the sequence of events. Sometimes they felt a little choppy: one minute I'm reading about Charlie's sleep-over with Sydney (one of the first girls that Charlie befriended) and then once the chapter ends I'm abruptly thrown into a completely different situation with Charlie. (like them being in the school's annual homecoming parade) What I can say was exceptionally portrayed was how far people go in order to be accepted; the hazing that the older players inflict on the freshman is pretty scary. I can only wonder why people would tolerate such crap... but Charlie didn't. She made the right decision, even though she knew she was going against the tide.