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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Book Review: 7 Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker

My dad was in the army, so as a young girl, we moved around a bit. I never ended up having to transfer in after the school year already began thankfully. But I do recall transferring out before the end of the school year in third grade. I was living in Okinawa and our school was putting on a production of Peter Pan. I so wanted to audition for the play, but I couldn't because we were going to be heading back to the states before the night of the production. Instead, I got to be in the chorus, which was basically them saying, "Here's a bone. Now choke it down with some sour grapes." I was devastated. Maybe that is what is wrong with me today.

Even so, transferring to a new school was scary for me, and since we always seemed to be moving or we were living with my grandparents, my brother became my constant companion. That is the second thing wrong with me. I became shy, lacked self confidence and had a really hard time making friends. So much so that my mom sent me to counseling when I was maybe 12, 13? I'm not good with small talk and I never know what to say. And as I've mentioned before, I was always doing something stupid because my head was always in the clouds. I had a hard enough time and could not imagine how difficult it would be to have to live with a stigma like our heroine, Blythe, in Kristin Walker's novel, 7 Clues to Winning You.

Book Description (From Amazon):
Release date: April 26, 2012

When a humiliating picture of Blythe goes viral, she's instantly the target of ridicule at her new school. To salvage her reputation, Blythe teams up with Luke to win the Senior Scramble scavenger hunt. But Luke is an unlikely ally and potentially can't be trusted.

Perhaps it's his Shakespearean witticisms that reel Blythe in despite her better judgment . . . or maybe she just craves the thrill of the game. But as the hunt progresses, their relationship heats up. Soon their madcap mischief spirals out of control. Blythe is faced with arrest and expulsion, among other catastrophes - until Luke shows her what the Scramble (and love) is really about.

My Review:
Blythe has a plan, a life plan. She's got it all plotted out; graduating from her prestigious high school, prestigious college, hubby from a specific school, wedding dress already decided on, town picked out down to the neighborhood within a few streets, higher education, employment, hubby's employment, the type of house she'd live in, charity work, children (4), only private schools would do. The first step to realizing her life's dreams was to graduate from her high school, Meriton High.

Her dad calls a house meeting to make an announcement. He is the principle at nearby Ash Grove High, but he is planning on running for Superintendent which means he has to move into the district and the rug gets pulled out from underneath Blythe.

Not only does she not get to graduate from Meriton High which will make it all that more difficult to get into Bryn Mawr, they have to give up the house she has always known and move to a new neighborhood. So instead of relaxing and hanging out wit her friends while she can, she is forced to spend her spring break house hunting and cleaning the house they are currently living in.

And if that isn't bad enough, her dad is the principle at her new school and if that isn't bad enough, there's the incident she's not sure she can live down.

A tradition at Ash Grove is Senior Scramble which is a scavenger hunt. The seniors run it and the juniors are the participants. The clues are a bit unconventional. The prior year, one of the clues was to get a picture of the principle at home. The problem is one of the pictures taken of the principle had Blythe in the background doing something very unladylike. The photo went viral and she's afraid no one will have forgotten about that.

And if matters are not bad enough for her, that very same picture is one of the photos chosen to go into this year's yearbook. She's humiliated and embarrassed. Upon entering her new school for the first time, everyone is staring, whispering and talking about here, almost as if no one had forgotten the photo incident.

The cause of much of her current stress is Luke Pavel, a senior, who runs an online newspaper for the students. It's very underground. Blythe finds out that her picture was posted on his website and there was a caption contest as well. When Blythe finds out who is responsible, she declares war. And what better instrument for revenge than to have the Senior Scramble cancelled. The problem is that's no way to win friends.

There were a few people with screwed up priorities. Blythe's dad, for instance, had an ambition. He wanted the promotion and knew he had to take steps to try to get it and he didn't seem to care how his decision effected his family.

Blythe was such a princess, a spoiled brat and a snob. For example, "The first thing that hit me was the smell of the place. It was a smell unlike anything at Meriton. In fact, Meriton didn't really have a smell at all, except after they polished the floors on the weekends. But Ash Grove smelled like ancient mildew and disinfectant mixed with bad cologne over BO.
It smelled like academic mediocrity."

It is understandable that she is upset. She has been ripped away from her home, her school and her friends. Her life plan is in danger. Her dad is the principle of her new school and she is being ridiculed on day 1. She doesn't make it easy either, though, because she runs to daddy when she is having an issue, at least in the beginning. And even if she didn't, every one would think she did.

She doesn't seem to care too much about her dad's aspirations. She is looking at this whole situation only from her view point and is being very selfish and judgemental.

She does succeed in getting the Senior Scramble cancelled, but it leaves her hollow and people hate her now more than ever. She comes up with a plan for redemption, but she will need to enlist the aid of the one guy who is a thorn in her side and has made her life a living hell.

Luke, while being the handsome lead, was also not very sensitive. He seemed to feel a responsibility to report the news, regardless of who it might hurt. Freedom of the Press!! But he didn't take into consideration how his lack of judgement in reporting the news could impact the lives of those around him.

While these two seem to show a disdain for each other, they realize they will need to work together if they are going to resurrect Senior Scramble. Can they do it? Or are their differences too great to overcome?


  1. Great that we got not only another book review but also to know something about the childhood you. Like yourself though for very different reasons I'm also shy and find it difficult to make friends which is why for me blogging is such a lifeline.

    1. I do like that about blogging as well. I find that I have a hard time meeting new people, but I have really enjoyed getting to know a lot of bloggers out there. It may be the commonality of a passion for reading, but mostly I think it is that in my mundane life, the people I work with mostly don't get me and I don't really share common interests with the majority of people around me. It's not always easy to connect with people. I really felt that connection with Blythe even though she was being bratty and selfish. I could understand her anxiety.