The Jerk Magnet
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
Book Description from Back Cover:
When Chelsea Martin's future stepmother helps her transform from gawky and geeky into the hottest girl at her new school, Chelsea is pretty sure it's the best thing that ever happened to her. But her hot new look has a downside. She's attracting lots of guys who all have one thing in common: they're jerks. And stealing the attention of all the guys in school doesn't endear her to the girls either.
Chelsea finally finds a true friend in Janelle Parker, and a non-jerk, Nicholas, catches her eye. Janelle keeps telling her to be herself, but Nicholas is the only guy around who doesn't give her a second look. Can Chelsea and Janelle come up with a plan to get his attention? Or will Chelsea's new image ruin everything?
The Jerk Magnet is a young adult Christian general fiction novel. Chelsea was complex and Janelle was engaging, but we only got to know a few characters very well. To me, it seemed like the story moved too fast to really make the desired impact.
Perhaps because the story was so short, the focus was almost solely on how boys (and girls) were reacting to Chelsea's appearance. The story didn't really talk about the other struggles of going to a new school or deal with the changes that having a step-mother would bring. So instead of being a story where a girl going through a lot of changes happens to attract jerks and decides that the new way she dresses and acts has something to do with it, it seemed like a story designed to teach girls that dressing and acting in a certain way will attract the wrong sort of guys. The story was still fun, though, and I liked how Chelsea became comfortable with who she was by the end.
There wasn't much of a Christian element beyond the prerequisite "comes to Christ" scene (which we're told about more than are shown) and the lesson at camp that God cares more about the inside of a person than their appearances, so Christians should care more about that, too. There was no sex and no bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this book to Christian teens since it does explore an issue they struggle with and it was an enjoyable story.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
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