by Wendelin Van Draanen
Juli has liked Bryce since she first laid eyes on him when they were 7 and he moved in across the street from her. Bryce thinks she’s super annoying and weird, and tries for years to get away from her, until he takes a second look at her and realizes she’s amazing. By this time, Juli has come to the conclusion that Bryce is a coward and a jerk.
The story is narrated in turns by Bryce and Juli. You get to see how differently both of them see the same situation, and you can start to see when they both start seeing each other differently too.
The only problem I had with this book was the weird way in which Juli’s family acted toward her father’s brother, who suffered brain damage when he was a baby. Juli’s dad tells her to keep him a secret because kids will make fun of her for having someone mentally challenged in her family. She is 13 and has never even met her uncle, even though her father visits him regularly. This is all presented as normal, and Juli’s family is supposed to be seen as hard-done-by because they have a soft spot for this dirty little secret of a relative. Not a great representation, especially for a book published this century.
Still, it’s one of the only books you can give to a parent who wants their teen to read something “clean”. It’s a nice enough read and a lot of teens genuinely enjoy it.