Geek Girl by Cindy BennettReviewed by Aimee
Violence: Jen is physically abused by her father. He made her stand still and shot a gun all around her. He also beats her. He is killed by police in a shootout. Jen’s mother kills a man who is trying to rape her daughter by stabbing him to death.
Sexual Content: Jen makes a show of taking her clothes off to show bathing suit underneath. There is hand holding and frequent kisses throughout the book. Jen talks about her mom’s boyfriend trying to rape her after she begins to develop. Kids go to a party where there are couples making out.
Adult Themes: Jen is put into the foster care system after her abusive father is killed and her mother is put into prison. She is frequently in trouble, going to parties, doing drugs, drinking alcohol and sneaking out. Jen’s mother abandoned her and tells her she left because of abuse and because she hated Jen and resented her. There is underage drinking and drug use. Social groups at high school are portrayed.
Jen has grown bored and is looking for a new challenge, so on a whim she makes a bet with her friends. She will turn the good boy geek, Trevor, into a bad boy. As Jen starts spending time with Trevor she begins to see him in a different light. The activities she attends with him begin to change her mind and her heart. The hard protective shell she has built around her from years of disappointment and abuse begins to soften. Jen realizes that she might be able to find some peace, happiness and love from her new foster family and maybe even from Trevor, but there is one problem. The bet.
This is one of the best contemporary YA books I’ve read in awhile. I found the developing relationships with Jen, her family and Trevor to be endearing. I could feel the struggle Jen had as she wanted to be loved, but was so afraid of being hurt and abandoned again. The emotional transformation as well as the physical transformation Jen makes is genuine and sweet.
I know this book touched on many heavy, sad topics. But, for all that, it was still hopeful and happy and fun too. It was real but not overdone. The happily ever after wasn’t easy and it didn’t just fall together. Jen made mistakes and I liked that there was an accountability for that. This book left me feeling like love can make a difference. Helping and understanding people takes effort, but it is worth it.