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4.5 59
by Marni Bates

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I'm Mackenzie Wellesley, and I've spent my life avoiding the spotlight. But that was four million hits ago. . .

Blame it on that grade school ballet recital, when I tripped and pulled the curtain down, only to reveal my father kissing my dance instructor. At Smith High, I'm doing a pretty good job of being the awkward freshman people only notice when they need help


I'm Mackenzie Wellesley, and I've spent my life avoiding the spotlight. But that was four million hits ago. . .

Blame it on that grade school ballet recital, when I tripped and pulled the curtain down, only to reveal my father kissing my dance instructor. At Smith High, I'm doing a pretty good job of being the awkward freshman people only notice when they need help with homework. Until I send a burly football player flying with my massive backpack, and make a disastrous--not to mention unwelcome--attempt at CPR. Just when I think it's time for home schooling, the whole fiasco explodes on Youtube. And then the strangest thing happens. Suddenly, I'm the latest sensation, sucked into a whirlwind of rock stars, paparazzi, and free designer clothes. I even catch the eye of the most popular guy at school. That's when life gets really interesting. . ..

"Fans of Meg Cabot will find Marni's voice equally charming and endearing."--Julie Kagawa, New York Times bestselling author

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Lindsay Grattan
Seventeen-year-old Mackenzie Wellesley is just fine being the invisible awkward girl who cares more about getting into a good college than going to parties. Her high school life is defined by what group you belong to—"Notables" (the popular crowd) or "Invisibles." So when a video of her accidentally knocking down a popular football player in the school hallway gets posted on YouTube, her first reaction is to hide from the inevitable jeers of her fellow classmates. This proves to be an impossible task as she never misses a day of school, and she still has to tutor "Notable" Logan Beckett. The video soon goes viral and big-time media outlets begin calling and showing up at Mackenzie's school for interviews. In a classic Cinderella story for the twenty-first century, Mackenzie receives all the perks of social media fame: an invitation to hang out with a popular band backstage at a concert, countless designer clothes and shoes, and a guest spot on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Life has certainly thrown Mackenzie into the spotlight, and she must decide if it is all worth possibly losing her identity. Awkward never ceases to be completely entertaining. Mackenzie is a lovable, authentic character who many readers will instantly feel as if they know and understand. She is the girl we laugh with, cringe over, and ultimately root for. Written from Mackenzie's perspective with tons of social media and pop culture references, teens will just...get it. This is a great recommendation for reluctant readers. Reviewer: Lindsay Grattan
Kirkus Reviews
A brilliant but socially inept girl finds herself starring in a YouTube video gone viral when she knocks over a football player and tries to give him CPR. Can she survive the humiliation? Mackenzie tries to keep her head down as the entire nation laughs at her for her awkward video moves. The popular "Notables" in her high school sneer. The press swarms her at school. But her notoriety takes a positive turn when the hottest rock group around turns her film into a music video with a new hit song, boosting her fame even further. Suddenly she receives in the mail dozens of boxes filled with free designer clothes. She winds up singing with the hottie lead singer on stage. The film of her performance also goes viral when it turns out that Mackenzie has real talent. All these events lead to her sudden social rise in her high school's hierarchy. But will the fame go to her head? Bates keeps her prose light, always focusing on the comedy as she lampoons high-school popularity, and gives narrator Mackenzie some good one-liners: "My life had officially become stranger than a Tim Burton movie." It all becomes a bit preposterous, but hey, it's a comedy, and a good one. Very funny. Should please lots of readers, awkward or not. (Comedy. 12 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Mackenzie Wellesley, 17, is clumsy, nerdy, and completely invisible to most of her classmates until an embarrassing video of her careening into a football player (and then trying to give him CPR) ends up on YouTube. Suddenly, she is an Internet sensation for all the wrong, humiliating reasons. While most teens would be taking an assumed name after such an embarrassment, Mackenzie attempts to lead a normal life. Except that's hard to do when the paparazzi trail her, fashion designers send her trendy new clothes, and the popular kids suddenly invite her to parties. As expected, Mackenzie finds it difficult to stay grounded with all of the attention. Predictably, classmates try to take advantage of her new fame, but an admirable romantic interest encourages her to embrace her true self, awkwardness and all. Mackenzie is a strong character who initially doesn't care what anyone thinks of her. Totally focused on her studies and getting a college scholarship, she can be a bit abrasive, judgmental, and dismissive. But while some authors might turn an awkward teenage girl into a pathetic mess, Bates portrays Mackenzie as an endearing yet fallible protagonist, a girl worth rooting for. Her first-person narrative is light and funny and easily accessible to fans of Meg Cabot, Emily Franklin, and Ann Brashares.-Kimberly Garnick Giarratano, Northampton Community College, Hawley, PA

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


By Marni Bates


Copyright © 2012 Marni Bates
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7582-6937-9

Chapter One

You probably think you know me ... and I understand why. You've probably read about me on AOL or heard Conan O'Brien or Jon Stewart reference me for the punch line of some joke. It's okay if you haven't. In fact, I prefer it that way. But let's be honest: the whole world knows about Mackenzie Wellesley and her social awkwardness. Except maybe some people in Burma and Sudan ... but you get my point.

The thing is, despite all that's been said about me (and there has been a lot), only a handful of people actually understand how I was able to go from a boring high school student to a pop culture reference in the space of a week. That's why I am even bothering to explain. Don't worry: this won't be one of those stupid celebrity autobiographies where I describe my sordid past and complain a lot—my past isn't all that sordid, and that's just lame.

Let me start by saying that I've never hungered for the spotlight. My younger brother, Dylan, was always the one who craved The Big Moment. You know: catch the football in overtime with a few seconds left on the clock to score the winning touchdown. The very idea of a stadium full of people watching me makes me want to hurl. That's probably due to my elementary school ballet recital. I remember every detail perfectly. My mom was in the audience cradling a baby Dylan in her lap as I leaped across the stage. I was craning my neck, searching for my dad in the crowd, and worried that he wouldn't show up. That's when I glanced into the wings and spotted him right behind the curtains ... making out with my dance instructor.

We have the recital on tape. You can tell when my world imploded by the way my brown eyes expanded and my shoulder-length brown hair whipped my face as I looked from my dad to my happily waving mom. But it gets worse—so much worse. I was frozen while all the other little girls twirled and flounced around me. I stumbled out of formation and—blinded by the stage lights—I tripped on the sound system cable and went flying right into the curtains, which promptly fell down and revealed my dad sucking face. That's when I decided it was better to be invisible than to fall on your face in a ridiculous pink tutu.

Freud would probably say that's why I suffer from a fear of crowds and attention. And in this specific case I think Freud might have a point. I've been paranoid ever since that damn recital—and the divorce. I avoid the spotlight. I guess you could say that I strive for anonymity. But I'm fine with my geekdom—totally cool with the fact that I never get invited to parties. I fill a certain niche at my school, the local nerd, and it's a role that I've gone to a lot of effort to create for myself. And while, yes, a normal day for me means three AP classes, it really isn't so bad. Definitely stressful, but I like it—especially because it'll look great to financial aid committees who decide on college scholarships.

So, yeah, I'm happy with my life. I've got friends, a job, and an awesome GPA to propel me into a solid university ... or at least I did, until I became famous.

Chapter Two

"Hey, Kenzie. You'll never guess what happened!" My best friend, Jane Smith, has been saying that to me almost every morning on the school bus for the past eleven years. Yes, she has the unfortunate distinction of having the most boring name of all time. She is also the only person who can call me anything besides Mackenzie. You have to make some concessions for friends who have stood by you since elementary school. But not even Jane is allowed to call me Mack. That's one nickname I've placed off limits.

"Okay, what happened, Jane," I responded, rolling my eyes.

Jane grinned and tucked a strand of her dark auburn hair behind an ear. "So I was sitting in the library."

"I'm shocked." Jane made Hermione Granger look like a slacker in the studying department. If she didn't have her head in a book at the school library, then she was shelving them at Fiction Addiction Used Bookstore.

"Funny. So I was in the library finishing my AP Calc homework when Josh asked if I'd seen Battlestar Galactica." She sighed. I kid you not, sighed. "That means he's into me, right?"

I rolled my eyes again and tried to ignore that my best friend was practically swooning over a boy who wanted to live inside the World of Warcraft. After all, she can't help being a hopeless romantic ... just like I can't help being a cynic.


"Then we had this long discussion about the greatest sci-fi television shows of all time."


"And this means ..."

"That he's definitely into you." I know all my lines as a supportive best friend. Although I must not have said them with the required amount of enthusiasm, since Jane then rolled her eyes.

"I can't wait for Corey to get back from his Speech and Debate tournament."

Corey's been our mutual best friend since sixth grade. So when he told us he was gay, we just went to more sports events to scope out guys. And since Jane and I both have study schedules instead of social lives, I guess it made sense for her to want Corey's opinion.

I just laughed as we pulled up to Smith High School. No, it wasn't named after Jane—it was both an unfortunate coincidence and an incredibly boring name. Then again, boring is the best adjective for Forest Grove, Oregon, a suburb outside of Portland and my hometown. The school was actually named after Alvin and Abigail Smith, who wanted to be missionaries until they found out that European diseases had killed off the native population. Nothing like having "the Missionaries" as a school mascot, especially since they represent the destruction of an entire culture. I kept that to myself, though. I've noticed that saying stuff like that out loud generally doesn't go over real well in Forest Grove.

Anyway, Jane and I strolled over to our lockers, careful to avoid the courtyard area between the academic buildings where the Notables reigned. See, my school is divided into two main social classes: the Notables (who exist in a sphere of coolness) and the Invisibles (like, well ... you get the picture). Jane and I weren't stupid enough to linger on Notable turf. When you're a member of the geek squad, you learn to make yourself scarce and to travel in herds. So I was pretending I hadn't heard Jane moan about the cancellation of Joss Whedon's show Firefly five hundred times before when the most notable of the Notable girls, Chelsea Halloway, effortlessly tossed her long, dirty blond hair and made eye contact.

At Smith High School, one look from Chelsea is the only forewarning of impending doom. Chelsea has a knack for subtly and skillfully turning girls into social lepers. Still, when you have a connection to someone like Logan Beckett (the most notable Notable guy at school), you're usually free from the nastiest bouts of dweeb hazing. So as his history tutor I was fairly safe. Chelsea usually ignored me. This sudden eye contact was unprecedented.

"Um," Jane said uncomfortably, "I think Chelsea is looking at you."

So it wasn't just me.

"What should I do?" I hissed.

"I don't know.... Talk to her, I guess."

We traded nervous looks.

"You'll walk over with me, right?" I whispered. Then I laughed desperately as if she had just said something terribly funny.

"Um ... you'll be fine, Kenzie. I'll be waiting just a few feet away by the lockers. Breathe ... find your inner vampire slayer or something."

"Thanks, way to be helpful," I told her sarcastically. We were getting closer and closer to Chelsea. It was time to forge ahead and talk to her ... or to flee. For some reason my mind flashed to the phrase "innocent until proven guilty," and I thought, Wouldn't it be great if I could be "cool until proven geeky." Then I remembered that:

1. High school doesn't work that way.

2. I'd already proven myself to be a geek a billion times before.

3. Even with the tutoring, my social standing couldn't get much worse.

All I could think was, oh, crap, when Jane ditched me only a few feet away from Chelsea. I couldn't blame her for not wanting to get involved. There's only so much you can ask of a friend, even a best friend.

I jerked my head in a neurotic sort of nod at Chelsea and was about to say something classy (like "hi") when my mouth inexplicably went into overload.

"So." My voice came out an octave higher than normal. "How's it going? What's new with you guys? Any exciting plans for the weekend?"

The Notables stared at me in disgust.

"Right," Chelsea said smoothly. "Looking forward to the weekend. Listen, I need help on an essay. I'll stop by Logan's house with it on Saturday ... if you don't have any other plans, of course."

I hate how some girls can keep their words totally civil while they're slicing away at someone's self-esteem. She was really saying, "You're such a loser, I'm positive you've got nothing else planned. So I'm ordering you to be at my beck and call. Bye-e!"

She was right too. I had no social life—just homework.

"That sounds great!" I said enthusiastically. Then I realized only losers get excited at the prospect of doing someone else's homework. "I mean, it'll be ... convenient at his house. Kill two birds with one stone." I winced—lame cliché. "As long as Logan's cool with it."

Okay, I was lying. It wouldn't be freaking convenient to have her around when Logan needed to concentrate on the American Revolution. She'd probably distract him with her hair tosses and her cleavage ... and I'm not just saying that because I have boob envy and a complete lack of curves.

Chelsea turned to face someone with her lips puckered into a pout. I looked and felt my stomach drop. Of course Logan Beckett would be right there silently watching his history tutor get flustered over a simple request. Because that's how my life works.

"Your house around two?" Chelsea all but purred. "How's that for you?"

Logan eyed Chelsea as though he could see right through the seductive little come-ons with one look. Which was weird since I knew they had dated back in middle school. Everyone had been really surprised when the Notable royalty broke up in seventh grade. Of course, that decision made a lot more sense when Chelsea's new boyfriend—a high school sophomore—took her to homecoming.

There had been rumors since Chelsea's boyfriend had left for college that she and Logan would reunite. Corey and Jane had even bet on the outcome.

So I was standing there like an idiot while Logan's mouth curved into a half smirk. I should've been relieved he was too preoccupied with Chelsea's flirting to pay attention to me, but it was more than a little insulting. I'd been pulled away from my friend, removed from my comfort zone, and coerced into a free tutoring session (yes, it was coercion. Chelsea and I both knew the rumors she could spread if I didn't agree), only to be studiously ignored.

That sort of inconsideration is why I viewed Logan Beckett only as a tool for social safety and a regular paycheck. Not that it mattered. Guys like Logan don't notice girls like me—and if they do it's a fleeting interest that lasts only until they spot someone with longer legs or deeper cleavage. Depressing, but true. On the other hand, I didn't have to try to decipher his lopsided grins. I'd have felt sorry for Chelsea if she didn't have the personality of a barracuda with none of its niceties.

Logan Beckett, on the other hand, had it all: classic good looks, money, social standing, and the captaincy of the high school hockey team. But you'll have to forgive me for not being impressed. Being born rich with killer genetics isn't exactly a personal accomplishment. And the only thing that the hockey stuff proves is that he can hit a puck. Insert eye-roll here. Not that I've mentioned any of this to Logan. Freud would probably say I'm repressed.

But in this case it pays, quite literally, to be repressed. I needed the tutoring job. At the rate we were going, his doctor parents were financing my college laptop and textbooks. So I was determined not to mess it up.

"That'll work," Logan said with that half smile still in place.

Chelsea turned her eyes up at him prettily. The move made her eyelashes look even longer, a trick I'd never master. "You don't mind the interruption?"

I thought I caught a small grin of amusement from Logan, as if Chelsea had unwittingly stumbled upon something very entertaining.

"I think I can bear it."

"Okay, then." I felt like I was getting lamer by the second. "I'll tutor Logan on Saturday, from noon till ... three?" Chelsea nodded regally, so I backed away, nearly tripping as I made my hasty exit. "Great! I'll write it down in my planner. See you guys then."

That's when I saw Patrick listening in. I could practically hear my system switching into overdrive. Logan might not do much for me, but I've been secretly in love with Patrick Bradford for years—ever since the day in middle school when he shyly asked to borrow twelve dollars to pay a library fine. I didn't even care that he'd never paid me back—not when he looked at me with those melty chocolate eyes.

Seeing Patrick so close, I panicked. As I turned abruptly, my backpack smacked hard into a burley member of the high school football team. Alex Thompson was invested in the appearance of manliness—an appearance that was greatly diminished when a gawky girl of five feet seven and a half inches knocked him down. For the record, it was the weight from all my AP textbooks that propelled him off the cement steps that separated the Notables from the Invisibles. But I sincerely doubt he was thinking about his tough-guy reputation when I sent him flying and he landed with a sickening crunch.

I completely freaked out.

I scrambled, stumbled, and nearly fell on top of him. I didn't see any blood, but he was pale and still. All I could think was, Oh, my god! I have to DO something! I didn't realize the words were coming out of my mouth.

I threw a leg over, straddling him, and started doing timed chest compressions. I couldn't remember if that was exclusively for heart attacks, but I kept hammering away. I alternated between shouting for the nurse and yelling, "Does ANYONE know if I'm doing this right? AM I KILLING HIM RIGHT NOW? Can SOMEONE make sure I'M NOT KILLING HIM RIGHT NOW?!"

I was fully hysterical when two strong hands grabbed my shoulders and forcibly removed me from Alex. The world had gone fuzzy around the edges, like a camera out of focus, and I had trouble breathing. I barely noticed when someone shoved my head between my knees, like some weak, quivering heroine from a sappy romance novel who might faint at any moment. Normally, this kind of assistance would irritate the hell out of me. I'm quite self-sufficient, thank-you-very-much. But this wasn't exactly the most normal of situations.

Alex Thompson wasn't moving. He didn't appear to be breathing. I killed him, I thought numbly. I killed him with my awkwardness! My organs felt like they'd just been pulverized in a masher as I hoped for some small sign of life.

So I was shocked when he pulled himself up to a sitting position. I guess it's rather difficult to move when approximately one hundred and forty pounds of female launches herself onto you and starts pounding your chest. I might not look like much, but I'm deceptively strong. Something Alex Thompson discovered the hard way ... and did not exactly appreciate.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" he exploded when he got his breath back. "Jesus, you're insane!"

I was so relieved to hear him speak that his words bounced right off me.

"I am so sorry. I am so incredibly sorry. Really. Are you all right? I'm sorry. It was an accident. I didn't see you until I knocked you over ... in front of everyone. Which really was a poor choice of locations. Not that there is a right place to knock somebody over." I shut up when it became painfully clear I wasn't about to say anything smart. "Do you need any help? Or should I just go? I should probably leave, right?"

Alex just ignored me, stood, and turned to Logan, who must have been the mystery hands that had terminated my first attempt at CPR.

"How'd you get stuck with a spaz like that for a tutor, man?"

Which made me wish he hadn't recovered, but before I could say anything my eyes connected with Jane's. She was standing right by the lockers, a hand clutched over her mouth, and I knew exactly what she muttered, because it's the same thing she says every time I make a fool of myself.


Excerpted from AWKWARD by Marni Bates Copyright © 2012 by Marni Bates. Excerpted by permission of K TEEN BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Awkward 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 59 reviews.
laura24 More than 1 year ago
The was one of the better books I have read.I was instantly immersed into this fantastic, well written story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At first I couldn't get into it. I had to force myself to get through the first couple chapters (might just be me. I usually have a hard time starting books.) because it was slow, but after that, it was REALLY good! It was funny and romantic and very original and I loved it. Rhe mane characters were very likable and.... different from other stories about geeks. I really liked being able to get a peek into the life of a celebrity. I highly reccomend Awkward :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Who said this has cussing and drinking and sex. What book did you read? Defenetly not this one. It has none of those elements and is a great book. So... shut up?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read, well paced. Had to stifle a few giggles while at work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is super good except that she uses the word 'sex' at so many un needed times. It was the best book ive ever read other than that! Its really hilarious and its not just like la la land, she actually cant belijeve it! I reccomend it for teenagers because it has a lot of sexual stuff.
Gabriela_Iris More than 1 year ago
This book was a funny and easy read. It had a pretty good plot that made me keep reading until I finished the entire thing! It doesn't go very in-depth on the issues that it talks about; just kind of skims over them, but that was fine with me. I liked it and am looking forward to more from Bates.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This bokk will just make you wanting to read more and more with AWESOME end too!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
===|:::::> Bish
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kissablysweetone More than 1 year ago
Mackenzie Wellesley is a typical high school student. Her friends are very important to her. Then her life changes drastically. The awkwardness they feel becomes almost tangible. Someone video tapes Mackenzie after she flattens a football player with her backpack. It really is a hit. Now Mackenzie just wants life to get back to normal but she's not sure it will ever happen. Extremely well written and characters you'd find in any high school. Sweet, funny, romantic and right on the button about the awkwardness a teen feels at that age. Ms. Bates really knows how to relate to her readers and how to make them feel better about themselves. Your teen will love this whole series of books. It really touches on the things that matter most to teens. I found no issues. I gave this one 5 cheers out of 5 because it really took me back to my high school days. ~Copy of book provided by author in exchange for a fair review~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books i have ever read.I could not put this book down after picking it up.Such a good book!!!!!!!:):):):):)!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dont get me wrong , the book has amazing plot structure but im kind of a "drama" girl , i like alot of drama. This had a fair amount of drama but i always saw logan getting mad at her. But i havent seen HER getting mad at logan. Even when he said "im dyslexic , i get it . Now you think that i should be part of your stupid club" but she didnt get mad. He indirectly said this more than oncw but she didnt do anything . If you like alot of fights/drama ... dont get this. But overall the book was good !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldnt put this book down as soon as i picked it up wish it was longer though so it can be more enjoyable. I think teens would love it. P.S some strong content such as skank or slut but not that bad:)ENJOY!!!!!!!!!! SIMSIM
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really like this book. Its funny and sad at the same time . I wouldnt recomend it to younger readers though. Im dislexic and i dont read much and it was kind of hard to read, but all in all, it was amazing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved marnis book decked with holly so i got this book. I really loved the conncetion mackenzie had with the real world like connections to ellen and taylor swift. It made her seem so real. I slso connected to mavkenzie very well because im good in school like her and have a crush on a popular guy. Her relarionship with logan gave me hope. Totally a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although this was good book I wouldnt recommend this book to younger readers. It took me a little while to get into the book this wasnt exactly a "never put it down" book I got it a month ago and sat down a few days ago to read it. It was a pretty decent book overall it did have it ups and downs but would be a good summer read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I REALLY liked this book. I picked it out totally randomly when I was in a rush at B&N. and let me just say, it was probably faith. I loved it so much, I wish there was a sequel! Or maybe, it could be turned into a movie! if you are looking for someone to play the main part, i wouldn't mind do it! haha. I love the romance part of it. The main characters relationship with the guy was really cute like seriously, I want a guy like that! Haha. But honestly I couldn't put it down. I finished it in two days! It's can teach some pretty good life lessons too and just how to accept yourself and live life for the moment, but still set goals. It's funny, romantic, and can really be relatable. I would definitely read this book if I were you!  P.S. this isn't an inappropriate book as stated below. It may says few words like "slut" but only once or twice. Totally okay for teens.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was great! I laughed out loud while reading. The story is great too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book qas very good I really enjoyed the storyline a lot but some of the stuff they did to her flat out mean but I would not have kept to myself about it and not said anything I would have probably lost my temper and said or did someting I would have regreted. Some of the comments she said was really funny but I still felt bas for her and I have to admit that I chuckled out loud over what she said. Awesome book I really loved it and great and fast read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is very relatable I mean things could happen to a teenage girl that could be really embarassing. But stretching out to something more is super cool I think. Like being famous all of a sudden just becuase of you awkwardness. That would be awesome but from the book it could lead to all sprts of problems