A heads up for you readers - the POV changes every chapter between Dylan (a girl) and Josh (a boy). I tend to hate books like these at first, because it's harder for me to get into it - but I overcome it. I tend to love the switching POVs at the end of the book. Go figure.
Let me introduce you to the two main characters. Dylan - who is "the most popular girl at Castle Heights High" and Josh who is "the geek". Now Josh isn't just any geek he is a film geek. There is a difference according to the book. Dylan has been dating Asher since they were sophomores. The senior year has started out as yet another fabulous life. Dylan is still seated upon her throne with her hunk boyfriend and all social crises have been averted. That is until one afternoon after shopping with her BFFs Hannah and Lola her new designer bag plummets into the water fountain. Can we cue the PANIC alarm and flashing red lights? Some buff young man must come and save the day, I mean she is the most popular girl ever! She settles on Josh - Mr. I-need-my-inhaler-even-though-I-have-no-asthma guy.
Film geeks are totally different than the pocket protector geeks. Don't let them get you fooled. Josh has been dreaming of getting into the USC Film program since he could walk. He needs a stellar documentary to show the people over at USC his talent. He decides that he will capture the other side of popularity and he'll use Dylan for the star role. Josh makes Dylan agree to let them film her and her popular crowd in exchange for saving her purse. She reluctantly agrees. Only does she know that she has started something that will be life altering.
Dylan can't be seen with someone as uncool as a geek. But a promise is a promise. As the camera starts rolling the true Dylan slowly emerges and so does Josh. From wimpy geek to a self-assured man. But how will the two survive the high school social field with all that peer pressure?
For a YA book I quite liked it. I thought it would be so "tween" like Hannah Montana or whatever overly-glitter show they have on now. The truth is, this book deals with deep down emotions that we as teenagers have gone through: wanting to fit it, the awkward stage, finding ourselves, loneliness, deceit, love, loss of love, etc. Take Dylan for example. On the outside she is the complete run of the mill "barbie dolls" that Mean Girls mocked. She only cares about gossip, appearing flawless every second, and loves to belittle the less popular people. Robin Palmer has Dylan go through some pretty rough times (rough by High School standards). At one point in the story Dylan has just been dumped by Asher and shows up to the Halloween party by herself. While Josh and crew are filming: coke spills are her dress, her tiara falls on the floor and gets stomped on, and then her dress rips and she knows she is no longer in the 'in crowd'. Poor girl.
I remember being in High School and wishing desperately to be like the "in crowd". I hated that I couldn't afford to go and by the 'in' clothes - mine were so average and dull. I would walk through the hall ways, or see them in class and wonder what made them so cool? I eventually came to see that being me was more important that trying to fit a mold that wasn't me. Dylan's fall from grace is sad but funny. Her and Josh, over the month of him filming, have become great friends. He helps her to be real. I felt like I was with Dylan every step of the way. Everyone should read it to re-experience high school life. Take a trip down memory lane. One that's funny and heart warming.
Another great review of the book is here
Geek Charming by Robin Palmer New York (c) 2009