If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor

If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor

 
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If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor
Genre(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
October 17, 2011
ISBN
978-1927085929
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Carolyn Samuels is obsessed with the idea of being popular. She is convinced that the only thing keeping her from happiness is her too heavy for fashion body and not being a cheerleader. Hyperventilating when she gets nervous doesn't help. When she is paired for a math project with the girl who tormented her in middle school, Jennifer Taylor, she is sure it is going to be another year of pain. With Carolyn's crush on Jennifer's hunky junior quarterback, Brad, her freshman year in high school looks like a rerun of middle school. When Jennifer is the only student who knows why she fell in gym class, Carolyn is blackmailed into doing her math homework in return for Jennifer's silence. Jennifer takes on Carolyn as a pity project since she can't be seen with someone who dresses in jeans and sweatshirts. When Jennifer invites Carolyn to spend the night to make her over and teach her to tumble, Carolyn learns Jennifer's secret and lies to her own friends to cover it up. Will Carolyn become a cheerleader and popular? Does she continue to keep Jennifer's secret? Or will she be a target of this mean girl again?

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Overall rating 
 
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Plot 
 
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(Updated: May 06, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0

Real Contemporary Tale

Carolyn dreads going to her first day of high school as she doesn't fit what she considers to be the 'perfect' girl. She's plus sized and has her faithful two friends but she's nothing like Jennifer Taylor, who in Carolyn's eyes is nothing short of perfection. Though she fantasizes about being like Jennifer, she still remembers how she tormented her in middle school. Breathe, Carolyn, Breathe, was Jennifer's chant when Carolyn would become so nervous she'd hold her breath and pass out.

What I really liked about this novel is how the main protagonist isn't skinny but rather a healthy sized teen. Carolyn also deals with issues that are familiar with other teens such as struggling with wanting to be popular and fitting in. Her love of her family is shown throughout this book too. Another big plus has to been her attitude. She's not over the top negative or filled with 'tude which is refreshing in a market that at times is filled with darker stories. For teens that want a lighter story, this is the one for them.

It would have been so easy to have Jennifer be the stereotypical 'mean' girl. The author does a great job showing us the real Jennifer, who isn't all perfection.

The huge issue in this story is Jennifer's secret that not only high school but college girls have in common. How Carolyn deals with this information is the main crux of this novel. Jennifer's secret takes a toll on Carolyn in ways she can't even imagine. Add to that her crush, Jennifer's boyfriend, who seems to have taken an interest in her too.

If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor is a real, honest take on a girl who wants to be popular and then struggles with whether she wants to pay that price. I feel this book would be great for high school and book club discussions on food disorders and also peer pressure.

Good Points
1. Carolyn is very likeable and not over the top with 'tude
2. Sensitive issues are tackled in a realistic way
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