Be the Girl follows a girl named Aria who is starting over in a new town with a new last name. She has the intention of leaving her past behind her, and becoming someone else, someone better. She thinks everything is going good, with the Hartford family next door. She makes friends with Cassie Hartford, who is socially awkward because of her autism. Aria crushes hard on Cassie’s brother, Emmett, a popular hockey player at her school. But of course nothing goes according to plan. Things happen where Aria makes a risky move that earns her an enemy who is determined to bring to light Aria’s past and destroy her almost too perfect new world.
This was the first K.A. Tucker book that I read and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved this book. I was surprised at the impact that this book held. I went into it thinking that it was going to be a light, fluffy read.
Boy was I wrong.
This book has a lot of deeper aspects that I wasn’t expecting at all. It deals with bullying and autism. While I don’t personally have autism, it seemed like a pretty accurate representation of what it would be like for someone with it. And it isn’t the main character who deals with it, but her neighbor. They become friends, and it is such a wonderful friendship that feels so genuine.
Speaking of Aria’s neighbor, Cassie Hartford is a great character. I love how straightforward she is, even if it isn’t on purpose. She speaks her mind, even though she doesn’t always understand the social norms that the other students go through in high school.
Aria herself was also a really great character. She wasn’t one dimensional. She had her fair share of issues that she had to deal with; the fact that she had to move in order to start over. Without saying too much, let’s just say the ending was nothing that I was expecting. She has a personal growth and a deep secret that I wasn’t expecting to see at the end, but that just made the character seem that more realistic.
I would definitely consider pick up other books by K.A. Tucker in the future. This was the perfect mix of light and fluffy as well as deep and impactful. And even though there was a lot of this book that I was surprised by, it was exactly what I was looking for. This was exactly the type of book that I enjoy.
If you enjoy YA contemporary, realistic fiction, then this book is definitely one that you would enjoy. If you enjoyed books by Francesca Zappia, Morgan Matson and Becky Albertalli, then you should pick this one up.