Blog Tour: Awkward + Guest Post by Marni Bates

I am happy to announce a fun blog tour stop today! Marni Bates, author of Awkward, has written a fun guest post for you today, and I've got a review of Awkward below (as well as links to catch up with Marni around the interwebs). If you want to check out the other stops along the tour, just click the banner above.
Comedy is the first thing I look for when I start a book. If an author can make me laugh within the first fourteen pages, I will hunt down everything they’ve ever written and be anxiously awaiting the newest release by the end of the week. I really enjoy funny, thoughtful books that have a core of sweetness about them. Which doesn’t mean it has to be overly romantic, just . . . sweet.

I know. That’s descriptive.

Pet Peeve alert: if the girl is supposed to be “spunky” she can’t turn into a dishrag over some guy. Pride & Prejudice is the best example of a romance done right because Elizabeth Bennett is the coolest fictional female ever! She knows how to handle herself under pressure, even when some hot jerk announces that she’s not very attractive (“Not tolerable enough to tempt me.” Oh, Darcy, you’ll regret that!). She is fiercely loyal and values her friendships enough to speak up on the behalf of others even when that is uncomfortable. Oh, and she never stops teasing Mr. Darcy. That might be what I love the most about the novel: you really know that he fell in love with her because he never tries to force her to change. I would love to see more contemporary YA books with that kind of a dynamic. Whenever characters can acknowledge each other’s flaws and embrace them . . . it makes me go all mushy.

That’s what I mean by sweet.

I’m also a sucker for some good inner turmoil, although I’m not a fan of the my life is soo hard!!! PITY ME!!! rant. I prefer it when characters struggle to contain their feelings or when they evaluate them. When I was writing Invisible (Jane’s novel), I loved how much she cares about Mackenzie and Corey. She considers them her best friends and she wants nothing but happiness for them both. Yet, she’s also feeling a bit abandoned in the wake of their new relationships. For the first time, their bond comes into question and that propels Jane into her journey. One that leads her to some rather unexpected places . . .
To learn more about Marni, check out http://marnibates.com/. She's also on twitter!
Don't forget to add Awkward to your GoodReads page either, and now read on for my review...

Marni Bates
Kensington, 2012

Mackenzie Wellesley has always tried to avoid attention, especially at school. High school is a rough place, and as a member of the "Invisibles", Mackenzie knows not to attract the notice of the "Notables". Well, she does tutor Logan - THE most coveted Notable (male) of them all, but that's business. They could never be friends. And her long-time crush Patrick (also a Notable) has no idea she exists. Mackenzie's not a total loner though, she has her two best friends Jane and Corey, and all is right with her world. Until the day she accidentally flattens a football star and attempts CPR. Pretty awkward, right? It gets worse: someone videoed the fiasco and once it hits YouTube, it's viral. Uh-oh. So much for being invisible.

As Mackenzie adjusts to the sudden spotlight, she grows as a person. Realizing that not all the results of her sudden fame are bad (free designer clothes to drool for? backstage passes to THE rock show? yeah, these are good), Mackenzie struggles to find a balance. Swinging too far into the frenzy, she overreacts by pulling back and landing in a massive awkward pit of "now-how-do-I-fix-this?" But through it all, she has a great group of friends, including Logan - though she realizes this just as she loses him. Mackenzie's journey to normalcy puts the teenage drama of high school into a unique light, and though parts of the story seem amazingly far-fetched, there's also a sense of "this could actually happen". It feels real. It has realistic situations that could very well happen in a high school anywhere in the USA. But it's also fun, it's quirky.

Mackenzie has her faults, and at times I wanted to shake her into seeing what was really going on. Thankfully, she has a cast of supporting characters to do that for me, and things start progressing as they should. Awkward isn't just the story of how one girl handles unexpected fame and popularity, it's also about the universe process of growing up and learning to be comfortable in your own skin. There are so many people who haven't learned this yet, and I always appreciate when I find books that relay the message so winningly. The sneak peeks in the back of the book have me eagerly awaiting the next Marni Bates release!

Book provided by publisher for review.

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