(Review) AWKWARD by Marni Bates

A Backwards Story is happy to be a part of The {Teen} Book Scene's tour for AWKWARD!  Check out the tour schedule to see the list of events. Stop back at A Backwards Story on March 21st for a fun Character Word Association Game with Logan (And trust me...once you read this book, you will WANT to know more about Logan!!!!!)

Author: Marni Bates
Release Date: Out now (Jan. 01, 2012)
Publisher: Kensington Teen
Received: Review copy courtesy of Kensington Teen and The {Teen} Book Scene


Mackenzie Wellesley has spent her life avoiding the spotlight. At Smith High, she's the awkward junior people only notice when they need help with homework. 

Until she sends a burly football player flying with her massive backpack and makes a disastrous - not to mention unwelcome - attempt at CPR. 

Before the day is out, the whole fiasco explodes on YouTube. And then the strangest thing happens. 

Suddenly, Mackenzie is an Internet sensation, with four million hits and counting. Sucked into a whirlwind of rock stars, paparazzi, and free designer clothes, she even catches the eye of the most popular guy at school. And that's when life gets really interesting...

If you're looking for a fun, refreshing contemporary YA, look no farther than AWKWARD.  Readers will find themselves rooting for socially awkward high school student Mackenzie as she finds her most embarrassing moment broadcast on YouTube for the world to see, which puts her every klutzy moment from there on out in the spotlight.  You'll wince, you'll laugh, you'll sympathize.  Mari Bates creates a character with so much depth that you want to see her succeed.

The novel begins when high school Notable Chelsea beckons to Mackenzie, one of the Invisibles, in order to get some homework help.  Mackenzie trips and falls on top of another Notable and knocks him out, then unsuccessfully attempts to revive him with CPR...and it's all caught on camera.  Suddenly, celebrities are tweeting about the girl in the "hilarious video" and the country's biggest music sensation, ReadySet, has integrated the footage into the music video for their latest single.  Paparazzi are hanging out at school waiting to badger MacKenzie and designers are sending her packages overflowing with clothing.  Mackenzie is even invited to a Notable party and given backstage passes for a ReadySet concert.  Yet she still struggles to remain an ordinary girl that blends in and doesn't stand out.  She continues to tutor Logan, another Notable, who somehow manages to become her friend and helps her through her most embarrassing flubs.  She's not really sure why a Notable would help her unless it's a trick, or why new, nice classmates will sit with her at lunch. She doesn't get why her crush of four-years suddenly seems interested.  Is it because of her newfound notoriety?  Could it be that people actually like her personality despite her tendency to babble in public?  Mackenzie doesn't know, but throughout her journey, she's going to learn a lot about people--and about herself.

I love the character development in AWKWARD.  Mackenzie feels so real.  As a fellow klutz with some painful moments left behind, I completely sympathize with her.  Additionally, I love that she has supportive friends and that her family cares so much about her.  It's nice to see the way such a major event bonds Mackenzie and her brother in a way they never had before.  Mackenzie grows so much as a person and her character really solidifies by the end of the book.  I also loved Logan, the guy she tutored, and love how he went from being one-dimensional to having so much depth.  I was really excited when I turned the last page and found that Bates is going to return to the world she's created in 2013 with the release of INVISIBLE, which centers around Mackenzie's best friend Jane.  I feel like this companion novel will be in the manner that Stephanie Perkins uses in ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR, and the upcoming ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER, where characters return in later books so you can see how they end up, but the book is centered around someone else.  Bates is also releasing FAUXMANCE (Which might have been changed to DECKED WITH HOLLY) this October.  This one seems to be in its own self-contained world, but from the sample at the back of the book, also features an awkward moment that leads to a bigger story.  If you're looking for a new contemporary author, definitely check out Marni Bates, who's set to have many more books for us to love soon!

Other books mentioned in this review that have previously been reviewed at A Backwards Story are ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS and LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR, both by Stephanie Perkins.  Below, Julia Kagawa recommends this book to fans of Meg Cabot.


What a fun cover!  I love all the doodles in the background anad the way even the title, AWKWARD, has pencil sketching behind it. I also like the way the author's name fits in perfectly among the doodles while still remaining apart.   I tried to replicate this sense of fun when creating the above blog tour banner (though I apologize that the sketch behind the lettering looks so awkward on my end.  Epic Fail!).  This cover screams, "Read me!  You're in for a fun time!"  And...this cover doesn't lie, either.  It does exactly what it set out to do!

Additionally, it's fun to see the model screaming on an online video, which will  make a lot of teens into the YouTube/Vlogging scene pick this up in a heartbeat the way they did with Katie Finn's TOP 8.

Finally, that blurb!  
1) It's from Julie Kagawa, which will pique interest.  
2) She recommends the book to Meg Cabot fans (and I agree!)  I love Meg and the way she portrays school.  If you're a fan of her, you'll love this book, too!


  1. Thanks for the great review :-) I look forward to reading this one (hopefully this weekend) and you've definitely got me excited!

    Jac @ For Love and Books

  2. Good and another post from you admin :)
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