Girl Wonder by Alexa Martin
Synopsis (From Goodreads): As if transferring senior year weren't hard enough, Charlotte Locke has been bumped to lower level classes at her new school. With no friends, a terrible math SAT score, and looming college application deadlines, the future is starting to seem like an oncoming train for which she has no ticket. Then Amanda enters her orbit like a hot-pink meteor, offering Charlotte a ticket to something else: popularity. Amanda is fearless, beautiful, brilliant, and rich. As her new side kick, Charlotte is brought into the elite clique of the debate team—and closer to Neal, Amanda's equally brilliant friend and the most perfect boy Charlotte has ever seen.
But just when senior year is looking up, Charlotte’s life starts to crumble. The more things heat up between Charlotte and Neal, the more Neal wants to hide their relationship. Is he ashamed? Meanwhile, Amanda is starting to act strangely competitive, and she's keeping a secret Charlotte doesn't want to know.
Talented newcomer Alexa Martin delivers a poignant story of first love, jealousy and friendship, where the ups and downs of senior year have never been so complicated. What else can Charlotte do but throw her hands up and ride?
Charlotte has always been encouraged to achieve her highest and in her family where her father's a professional writer and her mother's a university lecturer, it's important to score the highest grades and think about what she needs to get into the best colleges. Unfortunately life isn't that easy for her. Being diagnosed with a learning difficulty which hinders her maths level, she doesn't have the right grades to get accepted into the same gifted school that her brother is in, it doesn't even admit her to the gifted program at her new school.
So, with a new school, no friends, the need to please her parents and college applications all on her shoulders, she doesn't shy away from Amanda the "Girl Wonder" when she offers Charlotte friendship and also a chance at popularity. When Charlotte and Amanda join the debate team, Charlotte meets Neal and as the two of them get closer, the more Neal urges Charlotte to keep their relationship secret. But, why does he want to keep it secret? As Charlotte's life begins to crumble, Charlotte must discover what true friendship is and how to make her own decisions without worrying about what anyone else thinks.
Alexa Martin has created a realistic portrayal of family expectations and all the trials someone would go through to find acceptance, especially one with a learning difficulty. Charlotte turned out to be an interesting character as she searched for a place to belong, both in her family and at her school.
Even though the plot started off slow, by the time Charlotte had integrated herself into the school, I was hooked. In a story that doesn't shy away from the serious issues, Charlotte is faced with many heart wrenching decisions to make as she's faced with sex, drugs and family problems. A wonderfully written story from debut author Alexa Martin. I look forward to seeing what else this author has to offer.
Release Date: May 3rd 2011
2011 Debut Author Challenge: #9 of 20
2011 YA Reading Challenge: #15 of 50
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