Book: Geek Magnet
Author: Kieran Scott
K.J. Miller has a problem. She's surrounded by geeks, and she can't seem to give any one of 'em the heave-ho. They're impervious to body language, hints, or any other subtle form of discouragement. It's going to take a sledgehammer to rid K.J. of her entourage so she can focus on her ultimate crush, gorgeous Cameron Richardson.
Enter Tama Gold, lead in the school play (for which K.J. acts as stage manager). Tama is beautiful, popular, and never afraid to tell a geek to beat it or a beautiful boy to come closer. And she's going to teach K.J. everything she knows.
Strong characters and a serious subplot made this book more than the fluffy, predictable meringue I was expecting. One thing I noticed straight off was that the geeks were really, really annoying. It went beyond the surface trappings of geekdom and into truly teeth-gritting. This made K.J's frustration perfectly understandable, while their basically good hearts made me sympathize with her reluctance to hurt their feelings. (Although I would have made an exception for the one who stared at her boobs all the time. I mean, really. Honey, you're gonna have those things all your life; take control of it now.)
Of course, we all know what Tama is right from the get-go, but the neat thing about this book is that she actually does help K.J. stand up for herself. While Tama's tutelage leads her pretty deep into the bitch side of the Force, she and the people in her life need that.
K.J.'s problem with the geeks clearly stems from her experiences with her father, whose alcoholism and uncertain temper have the whole family cowering. K.J.'s newfound bravery at school crosses over into her home life. For awhile, there's a surfeit of losing-control and lid-flipping scenes, but it worked for me. Sure, she was pushing it a little, but given how passive she was at the beginning of the novel, it made sense that there was an awful lot of pressure building up inside that had to be let loose before K.J. could begin to understand how to be strong without being nasty.
Overall, this was a fun, funny book, with some darker notes, about a girl learning to take control of her life.