Synopsis via Goodreads: Almost sixteen-year-old Aria Jones is starting over. New postal code, new last name, new rules. But she doesn’t mind, because it means she can leave her painful regrets behind. In the bustling town of Eastmonte, she can become someone else. Someone better.
With the Hartford family living next door, it seems she will succeed. Sure, Cassie Hartford may be the epitome of social awkwardness thanks to her autism, but she also offers an innocent and sincere friendship that Aria learns to appreciate. And Cassie’s older brother, Emmett—a popular Junior A hockey player with a bright future—well … Aria wishes that friendship could lead to something more. If he didn’t already have a girlfriend, maybe it would.
But Aria soon finds herself in a dicey moral predicament that could derail her attempt at a fresh start. It is her loyalty to Cassie and her growing crush on Emmett that leads her to make a risky move, one that earns her a vindictive enemy who is determined to splinter her happy new world.
Be the Girl follows the story of fifteen-year-old Aria Jones who moves to a new town with her mother in hopes of a fresh start. Things seem to be going well as she starts making friends again and even finds herself crushing on the guy next door. But the past has a way of coming back to bite you and when Aria’s truths are finally exposed, will she run or will she use the opportunity to make up for her mistakes of the past?
I hardly ever find myself reaching for YA books anymore but when it’s written by one of my favorite auto-buy authors then I’m down for giving it a read! When I heard that K.A. Tucker was writing a young adult novel, my curiosity was piqued and I couldn’t wait to dive into this story. Be the Girl touches upon the issue of bullying and how our words have more power than we think. Bullying is a topic that I personally feel will always be relevant in society no matter the time period or your age. It’s an issue everyone can relate and I thought Tucker did a really great job at tackling this subject matter and really showed the effects of bullying from all different lenses.
I have mixed feelings about Aria’s character and that’s mainly because of the plot twist which I’ll touch upon in a bit. At first, I liked Aria. She was this quiet girl who you could tell had been through some shit and I felt sorry for her. Her mom is super protective of her and we aren’t quite sure why that is but as the story goes on and we start getting more pieces of the puzzle, we see that bullying may have been the reason why Aria had to move to a new town. That made me empathize with Aria even more and I was rooting for things to get better for her in this new town. Then the plot twist occurred. In true Tucker fashion, this story would not be complete without a few twists thrown in. I honestly wasn’t even expecting Tucker to write in a huge plot twist for this story but that shit came out of nowhere and turned this story on its head and knocked me on my ass. It also changed the way I felt about Aria. I understood where she was coming from but at the same time I don’t know if I could feel sorry for anymore. I don’t want to say too much else because spoilers, but I gotta give it up for Tucker because she really had me pausing for a moment to really think about this story and the fact that things are not always black and white.
There are quite a few secondary characters that help Aria grow as a person and one of my favorite was Cassie Hartford. Cassie is autistic and she’s the first person to befriend Aria when she arrives to the new town. I really liked Cassie’s character and the dynamic she added to the story. She brought was that bit of joy when things were starting to get more serious and we even got to see how bullying impacted her. There is a bit of romance thrown into the story which I thought was sweet and a bit angsty at times and I liked it.
Be the Girl was a thought-provoking read that so many readers will be able to relate to and I definitely recommend giving it a read. I’m curious to see if Tucker will write more young adult stories in the future and if she does, well…I’ll definitely be picking them up!