This is a very cute high school romance that used all the common themes from the genre… and then turned them on their heads.
The pretty, popular blonde is nice and smart and a good friend.
The popular guy doesn’t turn out to be horrible.
The high school stereotypes are there, but people have more layers than clichéd personality traits.
The high school experience in America is so completely different to here in Australia that it’s like learning a foreign culture, but I think the author painted her setting really well.
I really, really liked pretty much everything about this story. The dramas weren’t over the top, and the inevitable trust issues and betrayal worked realistically.
One thing that bugged me at the start was how much the protagonist – Matilda – complained about how stupid and embarrassing her name was. There’re going to be a lot of young readers offended by that; ‘Matilda’ might not be a popular name in America, but it regularly makes it onto top names lists in other countries. It is enormously popular in Australia. I have a young cousin in Europe with the name.
But that’s about it for complaints. This book has a lot of very familiar YA themes, and yet it felt fresh and new. I loved it.