Book Review: Adorkable by Sarra Manning

3Welcome to the dorkside. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Jeane Smith’s a blogger, a dreamer,ย a jumble sale queen, CEO of her own lifestyle brand, and has half a million followers on Twitter. Michael Lee’s a star of school, stage, and playing field. A golden boy in a Jack Wills hoodie. They have nothing in common but a pair of cheating exes. So why can’t they stop making out?ย 

This novel is about an unlikely relationship, but it’s also about roller derby, dogs on skateboards, dogs on surfboards, dogs doing any form of extreme sport, old skool hip hop, riding your bike downhill really fast, riot grrrl, those boys you want to kiss but punch in the face at the same time, dyeing your hair ridiculous colors just because you can, stitch ‘n’ bitch, the songs that make you dance, the songs that make you cry, being a bad ass, cake, love, death, and everything in between.

My Rating: 5 cupcakes

After reading the first page, containing the Adorkable Manifesto as seen here, I was hooked. Jeane is a girl after my own heart: a quirky, argumentative, obsessive tweeter/blogger with unique fashion choices found at jumble sales (though I wouldn’t say I go quite as far as she does). Her snark and wit kept me in stitches throughout the book and had me repeatedly saying “she and I are practically the same person, listen to this” in response to all of the questioning looks I received due to my laughter. Michael Lee is one of the most genuinely likeable book boys: friendly, willing to go out of his way to help others (even if they don’t deserve it), and empathetic. These characters certainly aren’t perfect – they have their flaws, and undergo tremendous development throughout the story. And they speak like actual teenagers, endearing Briticisms and all.

The romance was perfectly handled. There was no instalove; Jeane and Michael actually start out hating each other and as their characters grow and develop, their relationship does as well. The believability is definitely helped by the fact that the story is told from both Michael and Jeane’s point of view, so we get a good look at the relationship from both sides. The sex scenes are awkward and imperfect, yet refreshingly real.

Also, can I just say how happy I am that there was no huge reveal that Jeane was actually secretly beautiful despite thinking of herself as dorky and weird? Jeane is short and has a few wobbly bits, but she is okay with that AND it doesn’t affect her sex life. (Other YA writers, please take note; the “secretly beautiful” trope makes me mad because we should love our bodies instead of having it shoved down our throats that we have to look a certain way to be considered attractive).

Overall, Adorkable is a very fun read that is about so much more than the perfect, popular boy and the “weird” girl falling for each other; it’s a celebration of our differences that underlines the importance of being ourselves.

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