Geek Girl

Geek Girl - Cindy C. Bennett Cindy C. Bennett's "Geek Girl" is a story of love in several dimensions - learning to love oneself, learning to love within a family and learning to love a significant other. I love reading stories where young adult characters come to terms with the reality around them, form relationships, and learn from their mistakes. It certainly helps that Jen is an identifiable leading young woman within the perspective of the novel, one whose voice is clearly distinct, fun in spurts, and emotionally honest when the more difficult parts of the story come to light. "Geek Girl" begins with a familiar premise of two teens from separate social circles, with one (Jen) wanting to change the other (Trevor) as a part of an experiment with her friends. I've seen teen novels do this before in such books like Jenny O'Connell's "The Book of Luke", but I think Bennett takes the familiar premise one step further and with a level of depth that I didn't expect coming into the novel. Jen, on the surface, seems secure and has a protective shell that involves her not allowing others to incorporate her in their lives - determined to blow off her foster family and change Trevor into someone who's "like her" - which implies a bad influence among other things. However, as Trevor's relationship with Jen grows, and she learns more about how true he stays to himself and his collective relationships, she learns to come to terms with herself on so many levels. She not only faces up to her abusive past, but also learns how much she's valued by the people who surround her, including her foster family. Watching Jen's progressive metamorphosis is endearing, sweet, and one that made me want to root for her as her relationships deepened. Of course, it doesn't come without significant weights and collision courses based on the decisions Jen's made, but it feels real. I would say the only thing about the novel that I could constructively critique is that the latter half of the novel ran a bit long, but it did feel realistic in terms of the emotions that both Jen and Trevor have to come to terms with following the reveal of the central conflict of the novel. In the end, I enjoyed the journey, and I think teens will find Jen a great character to follow, and be able to identify with her struggles as well as her triumphs. A wonderful novel that I would certainly recommend.Overall score: 4/5