On the outside, Reed is the high school hottie, but on the inside, he's still the clueless dork with braces and thick glasses who has never been kissed. Reed simply doesn't know how to talk with girls, and it's up to the Internet to get him up to speed and out on the market. Reed's friend sets up a website to help him figure out how to meet girls and get in to dating circulation, but he's confused about what he wants in a relationship. Soon, the website develops into more than just a way to get Reed a girlfriend.
The Girlfriend Project reveals the struggle of teen dating with all it's extraordinary highs and heart breaking lows, with rare insight into the vulnerability and insecurity guys often hide. This book is for any teen who has ever felt like the odd one out when it comes to dating--or in other words, every teen.
Seventeen-year-old narrator Reed, a "Card-Carrying Dork," has never had a girlfriend or even kissed a girl, so his popular best friends launch "The Girlfriend Project." Twins Ronnie, a girl, and Lonnie, a guy, provide Reed with a "tip list," and Ronnie builds a Web site where classmates answer survey questions, creating an instant buzz about Reed. But even with his new social life, the hero struggles with some big questions, from how important appearance really is, to how to tell Ronnie that sheis the girl of his dreams. Friedman (How I Survived My Summer Vacation) adds some clever touches here: she blends Reed's own identity search with his home state's search for a motto, which leads to some fun exchanges between the characters ("New Jersey," Reed suggests after a heart-to-heart with his grandma, "We'll Let You Know When We Figure It Out"). Readers might be unnerved by Reed's first kiss with a girl so drunk that she is nearly "lifeless," or when he begins watching another girl play basketball from his car, making confessions that she cannot hear. The plot does take a creative turn towards the end, but even so, readers may wish for more about Reed's dates and Web site--and less of his angst. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
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June 22, 2008
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