Title: You Can't Catch Me
Author: Cassie Mae writing as Becca Ann
Genre: YA - Romance, Coming of Age, Self Image, Bullying
Buy Link: http://amzn.com/B01C0SEWDA
Blurb (From Goodreads):
My body suuuucks. After lounging around on my butt all summer (okay, so maybe that was my bad), this body decided to become something completely foreign. So now I’m trying to make the track team and I feel like I’m a baby learning to walk again.
A couple pounds wouldn’t have been so bad. Work those off, run like a mad woman, no problem, yeah? But no. I’ve also developed a couple of things that I definitely didn’t have before. And now my guy friends are all sitting in a pool of drool as they not-so-subtly stare at my chest.
Combine all that drama with the fact that the new track coach is getting major flack for being a little chunky, and all I’m trying to do is convince the team that I’m not running slower because of her coaching style.
Oh, and did I mention that I’m totally falling face-first in “like” with some guy I met in a cemetery? And no one understands it just because he’s also a little chunky. But he’s also adorable and wonderfully weird and I don’t care what they say, his look sure does it for me.
But… I don’t know… how can I be in “like” with someone, when I have no clue how to like myself anymore?
Cassie Mae (Becca Ann) is on my exceptions list for 2016, so naturally I couldn't wait for You Can't Catch me to be released. I even pre-bought the book, but then was also given a ARC copy for review! Part of the excitement I felt for this book was Cassie's own excitement for it's release. Obviously, she's excited about all of her releases, but the purpose behind this book, I think, made it just a bit more exciting, or at least that was my perception.
What I Loved: A theme that seems to be reoccurring in the books that I'm reading this year is that they seem to have a bit to do with self image and bullying. It's not purposeful, but it just seems to be happening, and honestly I love it, because it means authors are starting to write about these things a bit more. I am one of those people who can be 'spoken to' via books, they become so real to me and there are times when the message shatters me as much as my own life experiences do. That is why I love this growing trend, and hope that it continues and we see more and more books dealing with the hard things in life and that empower our youth and even adults to take action, or make a change.
I always love Cassie's writing. She is a pro at writing characters that I want to know in real life. I especially loved both Ginger and Oliver because of their awkwardness. The rambling while nervous, and goofiness of these characters is so perfect. Ginger is so positive, even though this book deals with her own self-image issues, even in all of that she is positive. She sees good in people that others can't see. She is an inspiration to be a better person. She's also real; there is nothing more real than someone who has trouble accepting things about themselves - even if they can easily accept those same traits in someone else without a second thought. Ginger did what I did as a teenager, and probably most teenagers still do; she looked at others and wondered if they are going through the same things, if they are having the same self conscious thoughts. (To any teenager who happens by this review - yes. They are. Yes. They do. If there's anything I've learned as an adult, it's that no matter how alone you feel in your skin - it's so very likely that someone close to you is struggling with the same things. Maybe not in the same exact way since we are all different, but they are. I promise!)
Oliver, I could picture Oliver immediately from his dark hair to his freckles and tall robust build. He was a bit self-deprecating and a Momma's boy - and I loved him. He was sweet and, yes, awkward. But I loved his role in this book, and that was to provide Ginger with a place where she felt like herself, and not judged by her body or her abilities, or the expectations she felt she had to live up to.
Not So Much: Ginger had some friends, specifically boy friends, who took notice of the physical changes in her and reacted like...boys. In the end, I kind of would have liked to have seen them realize how their behavior might have hurt Ginger. I think it was eluded to, but maybe it just wasn't as fleshed out as much as I would have liked.
Yet another book I implore you to get into the hands of all the teenagers around you. I feel like this message on self image, and learning to love yourself for who you are is beautifully done. The story is not bogged down with too much sadness, but there are parts that make you really hurt for the characters in this book, not just Ginger. Mostly though you'll be smiling and giggling at the antics and rooting for Ginger to win this race. You Can't Catch Me is a clean book - and appropriate for younger teens as well as older.