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Keep It Like a Secret

Posh would definitely keep all the main characters from Natasha Friend's For Keeps.

Keep It Like a Secret

BOOK REPORT for For Keeps by Natasha Friend

BFF Charm: Yay!
Swoonworthy Scale: 7
Talky Talk: Straight Up
Bonus Factors: Gilmore Girls, My Two Dads, Riggs, Bananarama
Relationship Status: Going Steady

The Deal:

Josie and her mom, Kate, have the kind of relationship that after school specials dream about. Josie was born when her mom was still in high school, and her father, Paul Tucci (the high school dreamboat, obvs), skipped town with his family, never to be heard from again. Although Kate remains haunted by the memory of Paul and their high school glory days, she's a wonderful mom to Josie, a balanced, hard-working teenager who plays soccer and avoids romantic entanglements like the plague (because the last thing this family needs is another Paul Tucci). As Josie begins a new school year, everything seems to be looking up; her bff, Liv, is just as awesome and crazy as ever, and her mom may have found herself a new boyfriend after years of living in the Dating Desert. Josie's main problem is trying to ignore Matt Rigby, the resident soccer hottie who keeps locking eyes with her in the hallway.

The new semester quickly loses its luster, however, because THIS IS A YA BOOK Y'ALL. When Josie discovers that Paul's parents, aka HER SECRET GRANDPARENTS, have moved back to town, she and her mother must confront the shared tragedy of their past, even as it threatens to tear them apart.

BFF Charm: Yay!

Josie is ROCK SOLID, you guys. She's smart, she's funny and she's way more stable than her mom. We would definitely have been besties in high school, because she's what my parents would describe as a "good kid" and I was pretty much the ultimate goody goody. But she's not boring, either! She plays soccer like a hoss, and I loved her slightly tomboyish attitude (she calls the girlie girls the "Make-up Mafia"). Most importantly, Josie is not afraid to embarrass herself on the dance floor. DING DING #1 QUALITY IN A BFF!

I'd also like to take this opportunity to give a platinum charm to Josie's bff, Liv, who is one of the best YA sidekicks EVER. Here's a brief description that should tell you everything you need to know (from a scene at a HS party):

Liv, stone cold sober, starts Riverdancing to Eminem, and she couldn't care less what anyone in Mel's basement thinks. This is why I love her.

Liv, this is why I love you too. Also, calling Josie "Hester" cos she has the hots for a taken boy? NICE WORK.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

So, is there a term for eye sex? Cos this book DEMANDS it. Like, I am seriously surprised that Josie doesn't get pregnant from the stares she swaps with Riggs. They share a secret, but Josie forbids herself from acknowledging it, making their (lack of a) relationship smolder and smolder until BAM HOTNESS EXPLOSION. Natasha Friend really knows how to use the right tools (1. soccer hottie 2. awkwardness 3. tragic misunderstanding) to amp up the chemistry.

Talky Talk: Straight Up

Natasha Friend is v. close to acing my favorite style of writing. The dialogue is authentic without faux teen-speak, and the pacing is measured while maintaining the reader's interest. I have a feeling that, by her next book, she'll be hitting Sarah Dessen levels of Talky Talk (aka the gold medal standard of Straight Up).

Bonus Factor: Gilmore Girls

Just like with the Gilmore Girls, I found myself alternating between adoring Josie and Kate and wanting to smack them for being such GREAT PALS ugh.

Bonus Factor: My Two Dads

Another thing to love about Liv: she has two dads! And they're totally awesome! And the best part? Instead of making a huge deal out of it, the book treats Liv's family as a normal, regular unit. THANK YOU.

Bonus Factor: Riggs

OBVIOUSLY.

Bonus Factor: Bananarama

So, Josie works at this ice cream shop, and I decided to make it a bonus factor for two reasons: 1) I like reading about a character that holds down a job while also working hard in school cos, duh, that's the reality for a lot of teens out there. 2) The store is called BANANARAMA. Is there a better name for an ice cream establishment? No there is not.

Casting Call:

I'm not exactly sure why, but I think Portia Doubleday could pull off the mix of sweetness and toughness necessary to play the awesome yet accessible Josie:

Portia Doubleday as Josie

Taylor Kitsch as Riggs

Oh please, like I had a choice.

Relationship Status: Going Steady

I started crushing on this book after the first chapter, and it didn't take long for us to start going out, mostly cos I just felt so comfortable with it. The book was real with me, but not too angsty, and it offered everything I love in a good YA-- strong, likeable heroine, hot love interest and a compelling storyline. Reading this book felt like more than just a fleeting fancy, especially because the plot, while sprinkled with spicy romance, is more about a girl figuring out who she is and who she wants to be. In other words, our relationship has substance; not enough, perhaps, to last until graduation, but plenty to insure lots of hand-holding in the halls and Friday night movie dates.

FTC Full Disclosure: My review copy was a free ARC I received from Penguin. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). For Keeps is already available in stores.

Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).