Jeane Smith is seventeen and has turned her self-styled dorkiness into an art form, a lifestyle choice and a profitable website and consultancy business. She writes a style column for a Japanese teen magazine and came number seven in The Guardian's 30 People Under 30 Who Are Changing The World.
And yet, in spite of the accolades, hundreds of Internet friendships and a cool boyfriend, she feels inexplicably lonely, a situation made infinitely worse when Michael Lee, the most mass-market, popular and predictably all-rounded boy at school tells Jeane of his suspicion that Jeane's boyfriend is secretly seeing his girlfriend. Michael and Jeane have NOTHING in common - she is cool and individual; he is the golden boy in an Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt. So why can't she stop talking to him?
I had never read a book from Sarra Manning before, so didn't really know what to expect. I guessed, judging by the cute title and front cover, that Adorkable was going to be a light funny read. Instead I got a surprise and found out Adorkable has a lot more depth than you'd have anticipated.
Jeane Smith, the infamous crazy blogger, champion Haribo-eater and eccentric dresser, was a character I found myself loving easily. As soon as I started to read about her wackiness, I knew we'd get along just fine. She's sassy, scarily bold and is on a mission to dominate the world in to total dorkdom. Like Jeane, I'm a Twitter, Facebook and blogging addict, and also quite a dork at times so I could relate to her. Maybe I also liked her because, unlike every other girly lead in YA, she wasn't a skinny size zero, didn't have the face of a model and was just overall plain. Ordinary. More ugly duckling than beautiful swan. But she was totally comfortable with everything about herself. (Although I do feel sorry for the cover model who's supposed to be Jeane after everything mean that's said about her appearance!)
Taking over from Jeane every second chapter was Michael Lee - a cool guy with brand-name clothes and styled hair. Normally exactly the type of guy Jeane keeps well away from. But that's before she finds out that he is more than just a pretty face and a toned body. Michael Lee turns into a sweet, caring guy that grew on me as the book went on. He also had adorable kid sisters! I'm really grateful that Michael was telling his point of view as well as Jeane, as the pair balanced eachother out quite nicely. And frankly, I couldn't have read the whole novel from just Jeane, who was very judgemental and a piece of work a lot of the time!Obviously, with Jeane being a "blogger to the stars!" , the Internet was incorporated into Adorkable in almost every chapter. Fourtantely for me, I am in love with books that involve Social Media right now! Reading as Jeane tweeted and wrote blog posts was really fun. She also has a massive fanbase, and some of her Internet friends were so lovely and proof that not everyone online is a 40-year old physoctic murderer.
The pace of Adorkable is why this lost one star from me. It was just so slow sometimes - especially nearer the end. During the middle section of the book everything was flowing brilliantly, but after that it just went downhill. It also annoyed me how when things should have been wrapping up nicely at the end, Sarra Manning decided to squeeze another problem in. It just felt rushed and didn't work at all for me. But this was the only thing that bugged me.
Girls who feel like they are an outsider really need to pick Adorkable up. It is an inspirational read full of important messages about being who we are and not changing for anybody.
So, if you're looking for a new read and pick up Adorkable, don't expect a typical fluffy YA. This is one British contemp that will take you on a bumpy ride full of excitement, romance, and Haribo!
Published: May 24th 2012
Number of pages: 387
Source: For review
Little precaution: There was a very, erm, descriptive "first time" scene between Jeane and Michael. While it was very awkward, a little funny and very realistic, it's definitely not PG! It certainly left me blushing and I'm used to scenes like that in YA now! Just letting you know in case you're not a teenager + and are mulling over whether or not to read this. Okay, embarrassing warning over!