Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Twelve Steps by Veronica Bartles


Sixteen-year-old Andi is tired of being a second-class sibling to perfect sister Laina. There in Laina's shadow, Andi's only noticeable feature is her pretty awesome hair. And even that is eclipsed by Laina's perfect everything else.

When Andi’s crush asks her to fix him up with Laina, Andi decides enough is enough and devises a twelve-step program to wrangle the spotlight away from Laina. After all, great hair must count for something.

Step 1: Admit she’s powerless to change her perfect sister, and accept that her life really, really sucks. OK, maybe that's two steps in one.

Step 4: Make a list of her good qualities besides great hair. There have got to be at least three good qualities, right?

Step 7: Demand attention for more than just her shortcomings, and break out of her shell. Easier said that done, but worth the effort in the long-run. 

When a stolen kiss from her crush ends in disaster, Andi finds that her prince isn’t as charming as she'd hoped, and realizes she may need a new program--perhaps with less steps!

As cracks in Laina’s flawless façade begin to show, the sisters work together to find a spotlight big enough for both to shine.

First off, thank you to Veronica and Nereyda at YA Bound Book Tours for the ARC.

Because I knew I would be reviewing this book, I read it a bit more critically and thoroughly than I might have otherwise. I gave this book three stars. Twelve Steps was a good fun read. I enjoyed watching each of the steps unfold. You could see each subtly happening as the story unfolded. Andi seemed like a real teenager, albeit petty and incredibly self-centered at some points, who felt left out. As she begins to help her sister,Laina, it's nice to see Andi think about someone other than herself for a while. It's also nice to see her realize that maybe Laina has some problems of her own, the competition is mostly in her own head, and that she has good things about herself that people love too.

There were some things about Twelve Steps that really did bother me. First, Andy seemed totally fake. Then I understood that it was done on purpose and another character calls her on it. After that it didn't bother me as much. Second, Andi is grounded for a D in biology as the book opens and then later in the book when she goes to a party and drinks alcohol it seems like all she gets is a slap on the wrist."You have one
week to show me that you’re responsible enough to audition.” That's the extent of her punishment along with a lecture. That more than anything drove me nuts. The third thing was Andi's self-centered and selfish nature. She seems to look out for no one but herself until the very end of the book. It was great to see the change in her, but too much of the book was spent in, "Gee, it's no wonder people like Laina more than you." Laina, in contrast to her sister, is caring and real. The only redeeming thing about this complaint is that I can't say much more than that for myself as a teenager. The last complaint is that Andi tries to hard to be sexy. Seriously, if you have to try that hard for a guy, anyone for that matter, they aren't worth it!

To sum it up, Twelve Steps is a great read for a teenager. Veronica captures very clearly what being a teenager is, the good and the bad.

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