Her Good Side

Penguin/Razorbill. May 2023. 304p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593465301.
Gr 9 Up–Eager to shed her “Crybaby Bethany” reputation, Bethany Greene asks her long-time crush Oliver Gutierrez to the homecoming dance. When he turns her down, her best friend Saylor offers Bethany her new boyfriend Jacob Yeun as her escort. Shy, quiet, and often hidden behind a camera, Jacob physically matured over the summer making him a sudden romantic interest at their high school. Unprepared for the new attention and inexperienced as a boyfriend, Jacob has been publicly dumped by one girlfriend. Before the homecoming dance, Bethany and Jacob learn that they genuinely enjoy each other’s company. After Saylor breaks up with Jacob, Bethany and Jacob hatch a plan to practice dating each other so they can both overcome their reputations as undateable people. Over the next month their friendship grows, they meet each other’s families, go out on dates, and confide in each other. While not surprising to readers, Bethany and Jacob develop romantic feelings for each other. Before they gain the confidence to share their true feelings, unexpected news from a long-time crush threatens their relationship. The characters are three dimensional and the dialogue is witty. Bethany’s fears about disappointing her moms and finding her true passion will resonate with many teens. The plot moves along at a readable pace, even if readers know long before Jacob and Bethany that they are meant to be together.
VERDICT A unique addition to romance collections that will connect to many readers.

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