Navigating the halls of Kipperton High should be easy for someone like Margot Maples. She's smart, sweet, and ready to start fresh. But with her best friend moved away, she's stuck wondering just how to fit in. Making her transition more difficult is Max, who always knows how to push her buttons, Walter, her geeky suitor, Cassie, the girl who seemingly has it all, and Peter, her first true crush. So, life doesn't go just the way she hopes. Full of teen drama and theater, Beth Rodgers' foray into young adult literature captures the uncertainty of freshman year in the new novel, Freshman Fourteen. If you are in the market for books about romance and the everyday annoyances that plague a teenage girl, look no further. It is a YA fiction book that will keep you riveted. So, join Margot on a journey through the beginning of ninth grade – a time when your reputation is determined by the most trivial of matters, including where you eat, how many friends you have, and – most notably – who you kiss.
That's why Margot doesn't trust it when a popular girl and her crush both start to hang out with her. Add on to that- the school’s biggest nerd likes her and has a mother who is constantly trying to push them together- to the delight of the school bully.
In quick fashion, Margot goes from the dateless, mostly friendless freshman, to the desired girl who also happens to land a spot in the school play. There is nothing bullies like less than for the kids they try to keep down to bounce back; to become popular. That’s what I liked so much about this story. It is about beating the bullies without actually confronting them. Margot wins because she rises up, not because she pushes someone else down.
A lot of the characters in this book seem almost like caricatures, but I don't think it would work any other way. We see everything from the eyes of a 14-year-old girl so it’s all dramatized to that effect. Ms. Rodgers perfectly captures her main character. I could feel the insecurities and that feeling in high school that everything is the end of the world. Add in a set of nosy, sometimes pushy parents, and a host of embarrassing events and you've got a very life like story.
The ending sure wasn’t what I was expecting, but that’s okay. It still worked. At times, I did feel the story dragging, but it didn’t affect my overall enjoyment. The writing is young, probably working best for middle school/early high school. Older than that and the kids might get somewhat bored, because the characters do feel quite young.
Overall, this is a cute story with deeper underlying themes that have a relevance in today’s world. Young teens can get a lot out of this book and will easily see themselves in a story that parallels the types of issues they face on a daily basis.