"How to Rock". Did you know that the show is based on a book? How to Rock Braces and Glasses by Meg Haston came out last fall. But the best surprise? Meg Haston is from Jacksonville. Hooray for the home team!
Kacey Simon may only be in 7th grade, but she is the most popular girl in school. She even has her own broadcast on the school's TV channel called "Simon Says". Much like Dear Abby, she reads advice letters on air and offers her honest opinion. Unfortunately Kacey's enthusiasm for being a journalist and bringing the truth, no matter how brutal, generally makes her version of advice really mean. When another student confesses to Kacey that she's her biggest fan and asks for her autograph, Kacey signs and then says, "Simon Says: Try Smiling with your mouth closed. It will totally accentuate your pouty lips, instead of your metal mouth." Wasn't she helpful? Kacey's a real giver.
Karma strikes Kacey physically and emotionally. When she neglects to use eye drops for her new (unnecessary) violet contact lenses a double eye infection forces her to wear a pair of chunky glasses that magnify her eyes. It's only for a few weeks, but Kacey refuses to wear them and then suffers a spectacular accident (involving her super hot 8th grade crush, natch) that requires braces as a fix. Realistic treatment aside, it's great tween drama. Braces and glasses plus lots of lisping and spitting (uploaded to YouTube, obvs) on top of her mean girl status suddenly make Kacey an easy target to overturn as the #1 girl in school.
The unlikely ally in her quest to regain her throne is an old childhood friend whom she tossed aside in 5th grade as she sought popularity. Paige, perpetually running for class president, makes a deal to help Kacey get her friends back if Kacey will help her win the election. At first I thought it was far fetched, but Paige is a great character and she works well as a foil to Kacey's ego without being sappy. Oh yeah, and there's a cute, good guy guitarist to add to the swoon factor.
There are scenes at a cupcake cafe, lots of fashion talk, minimal adult intervention, and kids in a band. It is very easy to see why this was turned into a show.
This is the first in a series so many things are unresolved. Kacey doesn't fully atone for her awful behavior from earlier so I'm sure that will be part of the next novels. She also may not be wearing glasses after this book so the message of you can be cool while wearing glasses dissolves almost to the sentiment of "thank god that's over". Readers with glasses may feel jilted - an accessory to show just how bad it was for Kacey.
It's fine as a stand alone title but fans will look forward to the next installment later this year. I'm already crossing my fingers that we get another fantastic Carolyn Sewell cover.