Pages - 309
Published by Corgi Books, an imprint of Random House Children's Book
Book kindly sent to me by the author.
I am in a cupboard, and I'm snogging the coolest and most gorgeous boy in the whole world. And it's a big school. And really, we're kissing, not snogging. In a closet, not a cupboard. They don't really have snogging or cupboards here - they would laugh and tell me those are dodgy phrases. Except they wouldn't say 'dodgy'. That's just as dodgily British. And - quick tip - don't ever let them catch you saying 'tomato and basil'- that will have them laughing for like a year. I learned that the hard way.
Jo has just moved to America with her mum to start afresh. She was never popular at her school in England, so she is amazed to find that the popular girls in her new school want to be her friend. She is even more surprised to discover that the hottest boy in school would really like to get to know her better. During a party, she discovers that kissing Jake isn't as fabulous as she hoped. She is stuck in a dilemma. Should she be honest and tell him where to go, risking becoming an outcast from her new found friends or should she just go along with it and be his girlfriend, so that everyone continues to love her. She is stuck and doesn't know what to do. So she splits! She is Josie the Cool as well as Josie the Nerd - will she ever become one person again!
I want to applaud Luisa Plaja on such a clever plot, I couldn't help but think how wonderful it would be to just split in half and continue down both pathways set out before me. This book is like a YA version of Sliding Doors, which makes you laugh out loud as you read it. Luisa's writing is really witty and charming and I found myself yearning to be a teen again. I felt like Luisa had taken my teenage dreams of living in America and turned them into a book. I was brought up on a diet of American sitcoms and Brat Pack movies, so I found this book easily transported me back to that era. I loved the American feel of this book completely. If I hadn't of known the truth, I would have probably have believed that Luisa was American. As far as I was concerned, her American voice was authentic.
You follow the story from both of Josie's viewpoints, so you get to see the decisions she makes as Josie the Cool and Josie the Nerd. This is set out really well, so you are never in doubt about which voice is talking. I found myself leaning toward Josie the Nerd more than Josie the Cool, as she was so much more sensible and level headed like myself. I also think it might have been because I could see traits from my youth in Josie the Cool, which made me feel a little embarrassed.
This book does look closely at the choices you make in life. It was really interesting to see how certain decisions led Josie down different pathways. I found how Josie the Cool made completely different choices to Josie the Nerd really fascinating, as well as the way the author managed to bring both girls back together as one.
The story also looks at sexual relationships between teenagers, showing the pressure young girls often feel to go 'all the way.' I have to admit to being a little naive to the stages of relationships discussed in American lingo. As a teenager I always wanted know what was actually involved with first base and onwards and Luisa has come to my rescue and filled me in. I think many of us UK readers have always been baffled by this.
I loved nearly all of the characters. Albie is just gorgeous from the moment he comes into the book. He is the type of American boy all girls dream of. I adored Rachel, just because she was so different from the norm; she would be the girl I would want as my friend. Chelsea and Jake, I could not help but dislike,as they are just so false and pretentious. I would have liked to get to know Kendis better, but she found herself a hottie, quite early on in the book.
This book is the type of book I would have loved as a teenager. It is a refreshing read, full of comical scenes sitting side by side on the touchline with teenage angst. It will appeal to the young teens of today as well as their 40 year old mothers who grew up with a yearning for an American dream!