A crew of middle school nobodies secretly use dog training techniques on their classmates to go from eighth-grade underdogs to leaders of the pack, only to discover being top dog isn’t all they expected it to be.
Olivia’s living with her grandmother because her mentally ill mother has left home, and things are rocky at school as well. She has an odd assortment of friends that she has met through a board game club at school, but the local queen bee ,Brynne, picks on her mercilessly. After working with her grandmother to train dogs, Olivia comes up with the idea to use the dog training techniques are the whole school in order to allow her goth friend Maddie to run for class president. Most of the techniques have to do with presenting oneself as alert and competent, and the entire group benefits from them. Brynne and Olivia even reach an uneasy truce, and when Olivia is behind Brynne getting embarrassed, and she fights with her best friend Delia, the two start to hang out together. There are lots of changes in loyalties, romances, and both girls have some parent issues to work through. How will the election turn out? And is using dog training on an entire school a good idea?
The individual characters, as well as their interactions, are extremely realistically portrayed. Lots of embarrassing incidents are described. The changes that the characters go through work as well. In fact, as implausible as this book seemed at the beginning, it was really good. Talk about “drama”. This will be hugely popular.