Everything has always come easy to Jake West. But when Amy, the girl obsessed with him, commits suicide, the entire town of Raynesville is quick to blame Jake. Now Amy's cousin, Dani, has moved into town. And suddenly Jake has an obsession of his own. Dani Spencer has always dreamed of a home and normal life. When her beloved cousin and grandmother die, her wild, impetuous mother inherits their house in Raynesville. With Amy's diary in hand, Dani intends on finding out what happened to her cousin. And there's an obvious place to start... Jake West, the guy who broke Amy's heart.
My review (also available on goodreads)
A Little Less Girl by Tess Oliver
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Another quick and fun eBargain find.
Tess Oliver took us back to high school in this book. The beginning of a new school year, a town recovering from tragedy and now a new hot girl in town to rip open healing wounds. Tess Oliver's depiction of high school interaction read authentically. The cast of characters was small, but each played a pertinent part and played it well.
I fell in love with the two main characters - Dani and Jake. Dani's character was thoroughly likable - an intelligent girl, strong in mind and spirit, despite the hard knocks in life she suffered. Dani's move to Raynesville was the beginning of a new life for her - the end of a nomadic, chaotic expeirence with her mother, finding a place with her peers and developing a relationship with someone who cared about her just for her. I liked Dani because she served as a great role model for girls. Dani found a way to be caring and unbiased in her view of life. She was a thinker, with just enough spontaneity to be fun. Because of her mother's irresponsibility, Dani developed a maturity beyond her years and it was with this maturity that she set out to determine what truly happened to her cousin Amy. Jake, our male main was also great. A smart, handsome guy who was the town's golden child, yet not full of himself. Through the eyes of Amy and Dani, we find that Jake is also a caring character who took the time to spend notice the "invisibles" in his world. After the death of Amy, Jake found himself squirming under the heavy gaze of the town - the same gaze that had followed him adoringly all his life, was suddenly scrutinizing and judging. Jake was almost too good to be true, but not in a sickly sweet way.
I liked that Dani acknowledged very quickly in the story that she liked Jake and believed him innocent of Amy's death. Granted Amy helped Dani come to this realization, Dani was already walking the path of the thought from the moment she met Jake. I wish the dynamics between some of the characters was fleshed out a little more. For instance, the friction between Jake and his father seemed out of place and undeserved. Jake was as fresh as most teenagers often are, but he was also respectful of his parents. That example and some others felt contrived in the story.
The story telling was fast. It seemed that Dani found the answer she was looking for in like 4 weeks. I couldn't really get a sense of time passage, which left me a little disoriented, but did not the story negatively. For a cheap find ($0.99), this was a quick, simple and fun read. Brava Tess Oliver. Looking forward to reading more of your work.
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