This was another ARC read for me, and the book comes out on March 28th — so SOON!!! And since I’m about to endorse this book so highly, I wanted to remind everyone that it’s on a pre-order sale for only $1.99. So seriously, snatch it up. It’s worth full price, obviously, but who doesn’t love a sale? Trust me. You’ll be kicking yourself if you don’t.
My body suuuucks. After lounging around on my butt all summer (okay, so maybe that was my bad), this body decided to become something completely foreign. So now I’m trying to make the track team and I feel like I’m a baby learning to walk again.
A couple pounds wouldn’t have been so bad. Work those off, run like a mad woman, no problem, yeah? But no. I’ve also developed a couple of things that I definitely didn’t have before. And now my guy friends are all sitting in a pool of drool as they not-so-subtly stare at my chest.
Combine all that drama with the fact that the new track coach is getting major flack for being a little chunky, and all I’m trying to do is convince the team that I’m not running slower because of her coaching style.
Oh, and did I mention that I’m totally falling face-first in “like” with some guy I met in a cemetery? And no one understands it just because he’s also a little chunky. But he’s also adorable and wonderfully weird and I don’t care what they say, his look sure does it for me.
But… I don’t know… how can I be in “like” with someone, when I have no clue how to like myself anymore?
5 stars — I’ve been staring at this cursor trying to figure out how to put into words what this book did to me. (oh, and I received an advanced copy of this book from the author b/c I’m a lucky son of a … But I preordered it too, b/c that’s what happens when a favourite author finally puts up a preorder for a book I’ve been waiting forever on)
So… Where do I even begin? I feel like I had all the words earlier when I was reading, but now that’s it’s 2am and I’m trying to sound coherent, it’s just all fallen into the abyss. All I know is this book made me cry at least 4 times. (With a huge 5th time when I got to the acknowledgements, but that’s between me and Ms. Mae.) So why did I cry? B/C reading this book was like taking a long hard look at myself — both the me that I am now, and the me that I was in high school. Ginger just embodies the experience of growing up and all the insecurities that we face while that’s happening. My heart ACHED for her. Just ached. It’s not that I was faced with her particular problem growing up (or rather her two HUGE problems). But it’s not about Ginger’s particular insecurity, it’s how Ms. Mae just perfectly captures the experience of hating something about ourselves…regardless of the reason that we come up with for the hate. And what’s sad and scary is that I think most of us never truly let go of those high school insecurities…no matter how much we change and grow as adults, those scars remain with us to some degree. And that’s why this book is so important. It’s 100% relatable. It’s SO unbelievably relevant to teens going through this part of life now…and for those of us looking back, it’s like that hug that we so desperately needed then, and probably could still use now.
Ginger is wholeheartedly the star of this book. She’s. Just. Everything. She’s hilarious and adorable. She’s awkward and weird. And watching her grow throughout this book was a treat. And along the way she has help from some amazing people. I don’t think this book would have been what it became without Coach Fox. Her side story was almost as powerful as Ginger’s…I felt for all that she was going through even though it wasn’t the focus of the story. And between her and Aunt Heidi, I was glad to see such positive role models for Ginger to look up to.
I appreciated the diversity of Ginger’s friends and fellow classmates. There were no caricatures, but rather a whole slew of realistic teens — from the ones you wanted to smack, to the ones you wanted to give an extra hug to when they got things right. I loved how you got a glimpse of Tiff (the bff) battling her own insecurities, even though in Ginger’s eyes she was perfect…b/c that’s how it works. We’re all dealing with something, even when our closest friends don’t realize it.
And then there’s Oliver. While I think the strength of this book is in Ginger’s “coming of age” type story, I will admit that I went ga-ga for the adorable side of romance that Ginger experiences. Ms. Mae just knows how to capture all those beautiful fluttertastic moments of first love…from the epic crush to more. I honestly can’t even describe it. Every time Ginger goofy grinned, I was already right there with her with my own matching smile. Oliver made my heart smile and happy sigh. The beauty of that relationship, and the peace and love and friendship that Ginger receives through Oliver was the perfect compliment to all the upheaval she was dealing with in the rest of her life.
So what can I say? I loved it. I know, you’re shocked. I can only hope this book gets into the hands of a teen girl facing down her own demons. I want that girl to be able to read Ginger’s story and know she’s not alone, and that it’s ok to love yourself. I think we could all stand to do a little bit more loving of our whole selves. Now I’m off to find a mirror and embrace what Ginger taught me. Cause you’re never too old to learn that lesson.