Be the Girl by KA Tucker ~ Sarah A’s Review

From the national bestselling author of the Ten Tiny Breaths series and The Simple Wild comes a poignant story about a girl trying to change her future while evading her past.

Almost sixteen-year-old Aria Jones is starting over. New postal code, new last name, new rules. But she doesn’t mind, because it means she can leave her painful regrets behind. In the bustling town of Eastmonte, she can become someone else. Someone better.

With the Hartford family living next door, it seems she will succeed. Sure, Cassie Hartford may be the epitome of social awkwardness thanks to her autism, but she also offers an innocent and sincere friendship that Aria learns to appreciate. And Cassie’s older brother, Emmett—a popular Junior A hockey player with a bright future—well … Aria wishes that friendship could lead to something more. If he didn’t already have a girlfriend, maybe it would.

But Aria soon finds herself in a dicey moral predicament that could derail her attempt at a fresh start. It is her loyalty to Cassie and her growing crush on Emmett that leads her to make a risky move, one that earns her a vindictive enemy who is determined to splinter her happy new world.

I swear I have been staring at a blank screen trying to write this review for nearly a week. I have no words to do this book justice, I feel like I can’t say too much without giving away the power and beauty of this story, and I really want to convince people – especially those with middle school and high school age children to pick up this book, read it themselves then hand it over to their children so they can see the pitfalls of ‘harmless’ teasing and pranks. Be the Girl may be fiction, but the circumstances the characters encountered in the book, the consequences of their actions are all too real for a lot of people. Be the Girl is a timely piece of young adult fiction and contains a critical message.

Aria was easy to relate to. Her insecurities were so intrinsic to most people’s high school experience; there was no problem finding some part of her story that felt personal. I was often impressed with her empathy and acceptance of those around her, and when I found out why she had developed those skills, I was both a little shocked and a little heartbroken. Hers wasn’t an easy story to tell, but it was a highly important one.

Cassie was the shining star of this book. She is why all the other characters seemed so rich. I often found myself wishing I could have seen what was going on from her perspective, but I think seeing her through Aria’s eyes made Aria a more sympathetic character, and that was important in this story. I could feel Ms. Tucker’s personal connection to Cassie through the entire novel and after reading her note at the end of the book, I was so happy that she shared that special part of her life with her readers.

Be the Girl is a book based on looking past the surface, finding the truth of the situation and then distilling that truth into the most basic compulsions of human beings. Humans are inherently flawed, even the greatest among us make mistakes, and Be the Girl did a remarkable job of exposing those flaws, those mistakes, and then laying out the aftermath. I was highly impressed with the message of learning and forgiveness Ms. Tucker laid out in the book and will think of Aria and Cassie for a long time to come.

K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge.

She is the USA Today bestselling author of 18 books, including the Causal Enchantment, Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series, He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, The Simple Wild, and Be the Girl. Her books have been featured in national publications including USA Today, Globe & Mail, Suspense Magazine, First for Women, and Publisher’s Weekly. She has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance 2013 for TEN TINY BREATHS and Best Romance 2018 for THE SIMPLE WILD. Her novels have been translated into 16 languages.

K.A. Tucker currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband and two beautiful girls.

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