Summary - Emily Abbott has always been considered the Girl Most Likely to Be Nice -- but lately being nice hasn't done her any good. Her parents have decided to move the family from Chicago back to their hometown of Boston in the middle of Emily's senior year. Only Emily's first real boyfriend, Sean, is in Chicago, and so is her shot at class valedictorian and early admission to the Ivy League. What's a nice girl to do?
Then Sean dumps Emily on moving day and her father announces he's staying behind in Chicago "to tie up loose ends," and Emily decides that what a nice girl needs to do is to stop being nice.
She reconnects with her best friends in Boston, Josie and Lucy, only to discover that they too have been on the receiving end of some glaring Guy Don'ts. So when the girls have to come up with something to put in the senior class time capsule, they know exactly what to do. They'll create a not-so-nice reference guide for future generations of guys -- an instruction book that teaches them the right way to treat girls.
But when her friends draft Emily to test out their tips on Luke Preston -- the hottest, most popular guy in school, who just broke up with Josie by email -- Emily soon finds that Luke is the trickiest of test subjects . . . and that even a nice girl like Emily has a few things to learn about love.
Review - The concept of The Book of Luke isn't especially new - spurned girls take revenge on knuckle headed guys and learn about love. But had this book not been about revenge, it still would have been an enjoyable look at the different ways that our gender's approach courtship. Emily is a wet blanket for a fair chunk of the book but Luke challenges her repeatedly - in words and in actions - and from that she learns, grows and becomes decidedly less self-pitying. She is also able to be more honest with him than she is with her friends.
It's questionable whether a teen would want their friend to hook up with her ex in the effort to "train" him but I went along for the ride. O'Connell has a great rhythm with her dialogue, each character is defined. Emily experiences authentic growth and suffers repercussions for her careless actions. More focus on the family would have been lovely but that being said, the brother was the only odd beat in the novel. It might not be issue-based YA, but it has a strong heart and a nice message about embracing who you are with some snappy dialogue, some great URST and great girl interchanges.
A fun read about the games we play with the opposite sex.
Published: April 2007
Format: Paperback, 290 pages
Publisher: MTV Books
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