Monday, October 8, 2018

Book Review - The Year of Living Awkwardly: Sophomore Year, by Emma Chastain

Guest review by: Becki Bayley
December 15

I almost literally bumped into Grady today because we were both looking at our phones while turning a corner. His eyes flickered, and I could tell he was considering walking away without saying anything, but then he said, “Hey.”

“Hey. How’s everything?”

“Pretty good.”

“How’s Bear?”

“Fine. Really into Winnie-the-Pooh these days.”

“That makes sense.” Blank look from Grady. “Because of his name. Bear…Winnie-the-Pooh is a bear…you know?” KILL ME.

“Oh, yeah, right,” he said finally.

“I guess I’m hanging out with your girlfriend tomorrow.”

“Yeah, she mentioned that.”

“OK, well…”

“Yeah. See ya.”

“See ya.”

Neither of us smiled once during the entire conversation. If ‘conversation’ is even the right word.

I can see why young adult fiction is so popular. It was easy and pleasant to be a little worried about Chloe’s struggles, since they were similar to struggles I overcame decades ago. The Year of Living Awkwardly: Sophomore Year by Emma Chastain was a great escape to read and smile over during a few stolen minutes from the busy fall.

Official Synopsis: 
Book Review - The Year of Living Awkwardly: Sophomore Year, by Emma Chastain
It’s Chloe Snow’s sophomore year of high school, and life has only grown more complicated.

Last year, Chloe was the star of the musical. This year, after an audition so disastrous she runs off the stage in tears, she’s cast as a lowly member of the ensemble. Will she be able to make it through the show knowing everyone’s either pitying her or reveling in her downfall?

Chloe’s best friend, Hannah, is no help: she’s been sucked into the orbit of Reese, the velvet-gloved, iron-fisted ruler of the sophomore class. Chloe’s dad is busy falling in love with Miss Murphy, and Chloe is no longer speaking to her mother, who is sending her increasingly desperate and unhinged emails from Mexico. As her parents’ divorce negotiations unravel, a custody battle looms.

If only Chloe could talk to Grady about it: his parents are divorced, and he’s easy to talk to. Or he was, until he declared his love for Chloe, and she turned him down because despite all her rational brain cells she can’t seem to get over Mac, and then Grady promptly started going out with Reese.

As the performance of the show approaches, Chloe must find a way to navigate all the messy elements of her life and make it through to the end of the year.

What a life! I have to admit, being several years (okay, a couple decades and then some) out of high school, I may have been more than a little amused by Chloe’s struggles. The diary style in which she told her story was very readable and relatable. It also made it a perfect book to just read for a few minutes, then deal with other things. I wasn’t left re-reading part of a chapter over and over if interrupted.

The characters were also engaging. I would love to go back and find the book of her freshman year, so I can read a bit more of their history. The Year of Living Awkwardly is a great book – it’s a normal life with the good and the bad, told in a highly entertaining style.

Overall, I’d give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I don’t know that I’d read it again (since I know what happens), but I’m really glad I read it when I did.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley is a mom to a girl who will be in high school in a few years. She hopes her daughter can roll with the punches as well as Chloe does in this book. You can find her at


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