One Night That Changes Everything
by Lauren Barnholdt
Book Summary (from Amazon)
Two years ago, when Eliza Sellman was in ninth grade, her dad found out he was being transferred and the family was going to move. Having always been shy and not so confident about her body, Eliza took that opportunity to start a list in her private notebook of all the things she planned on doing when she moved but had always been afraid to–like wearing a miniskirt and asking guys to dance; singing karaoke in front of strangers; posting a photo of herself on her Facebook wall in a bikini…you get the idea. New town, new Eliza, right? Well, she’ll never know because the transfer fell through and they didn’t move. But Eliza kept adding her goals and secret fears to the list in the notebook. Now it’s two years later, and in that time Eliza has had and lost her first boyfriend. But this was more than your average breakup…turns out the sweet and cute Cooper was only dating her as a hazing stunt by a secret society. Eliza got her revenge by posting some pretty nasty (and only sort-of true) stuff about Cooper online. That posting has had major consequences and now Cooper and his buddies have stolen her private notebook and won’t give it back until she performs all the things on her list in one night. It’s torture…until Eliza steals something from the boys she knows they’ll want to trade her notebook for. What starts out as a night of humiliation turns into a night of revelations as Eliza learns what Cooper was really thinking when they dated, the real reason he’s stolen her notebook, and how freeing–and life-changing–it can be to do the things you fear the most.
I Eat Words’ Review
I’ve read a few other books by Barnholdt, including Aces Up and Watch Me, but this book was by far my favorite. I’d recommend this book if you’re looking for a fast, fun read that you can enjoy on the subway or the beach. Barnholdt had me cracking up with her quick-wit humor and hilarious characters.
What I liked most was the tension and chemistry between Cooper and Eliza. Cooper, who betrayed Eliza by blackmailing her personal journal, became involved with a secret high school fraternity that planned to make Eliza’s life hell. But for some reason, Eliza can’t seem to stay away from him. Her mixed feelings of love and hate make their relationship hilariously entertaining.
The whole novel takes place within one evening, and grabs your attention the entire ride. Each task the secret society plans for Eliza involves her own personal fears she’s written about. You’re never sure what her next task will be. But when Eliza finally has enough of their embarrassing blackmail, she decides to embark on a little revenge of her own.
Stereotypical characters don’t exist in Barnholdt’s world. It was refreshing to see that Eliza’s two best friends, Clarice and Marissa, weren’t the typical girly-girl besties. Sharing their own love-hate (but mainly hate) relationship, they’ll keep you laughing. What makes them a great duo was the fact that they could be your own best friends, bickering about boys, Facebook, and what to wear.
This would be a great Christmas gift for teens. Barnholdt provides a realistic view of friendship, and what it means to face your fears.