The idea behind the story is that sixteen year old Charlie has been brought up by her single dad, her three brothers and her kind-of-brother, next-door-neighbour Braden. She’s super into sports and not at all into make up or clothes and that’s just the way she likes it. When she’s pulled over for speeding, her dad makes her get a job and she ends up working in a clothes shop and gradually makes some female friends.
This was a very light read and it would be a good book to take to the beach. The writing style is very conversational, which is great and very accessible, but the content left me a little unfulfilled.
Charlie was a nice enough character and I liked the way she didn’t take any shit from her dumb brothers. And although I have zero interest in sports, I liked that she liked sports. You don’t see that enough in YA. Girls are usually all, oh, I’m so clumsy, I hate sports.
The other female characters were okay, but could have been fleshed out a bit more. They seemed really into clothes and make up and not much else. Even when Charlie and a new girl friend went to see a basketball (?) match, her friend insisted on bedazzling their team shirts.
And this brings me on to the message the author was trying to put across. I think it was supposed to be that people ought to love you for who you are rather than some society-dictated vision of who you should be. And this is a good message. However, there didn’t seem to be much evidence of it in the plot.
Charlie’s brothers and dad certainly didn’t love her for who she was. They were desperate for Charlie to be into sports and not wear make-up or be in any way interested in clothes, and while Charlie was living according to their beliefs, everything was fine. But when she started getting a bit interested in clothes and make-up, they got all bent out of shape with her.
Well, that sounds just awesome. Sign me right up for a family like that.
Plus, they seemed to think that they had some kind of God-given say over who she dated. And Charlie wasn’t allowed to date anyone. Her dickhole brothers intimidated everyone on their football team into not asking Charlie out, which was just plain weird. They sounded like a right bunch of wankers. And so did her dad. The overprotective, alpha-male thing is why I rarely read NA and I wasn’t impressed to see it here.
I think my problem really stems from the idea that people act ‘like a girl’ or ‘like a boy’, and tying those judgements into things like make-up and sports. It just seems like a very shallow way of looking at people. Why should we have to be one thing or the other? Why can’t everyone like a bit of everything? Why is that so wrong?
Despite the bell-ends he lived next door to, Braden was actually a really sweet guy who was actually very accepting of both sports-loving Charlie and the new interested-in-clothes Charlie and I liked the way his and Charlie’s romance panned out and ultimately the romance was what saved this book for me. Because, God knows, I was ready to take a baseball bat to Charlie’s brothers by the time I’d finished.