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Confessions of a Not it Girl

Confessions of a Not it Girl

4.4 66
by Melissa Kantor

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High school is never easy . . . and when you are suffering from a hubris complex and are convinced that the gods on Olympus have focused their attention on you, things are sure to get even harder. In this smart and sassy debut novel, the spotlight is on Jan Miller-a self-labeled "Not It" girl struggling to find out what and who she wants. From her best friend, who is


High school is never easy . . . and when you are suffering from a hubris complex and are convinced that the gods on Olympus have focused their attention on you, things are sure to get even harder. In this smart and sassy debut novel, the spotlight is on Jan Miller-a self-labeled "Not It" girl struggling to find out what and who she wants. From her best friend, who is an It girl, to her parents, who are way too embarrassing to her crushes (who always seem to be in the right place at the wrong time), there is never a dull moment for Jan. With college application deadlines looming and a group of seemingly vindictive gods ready to sabotage her every move, Jan is about to set off on a memorable trip through senior year and prove that being a "Not It" girl has some major rewards. From first-time author Melissa Kantor comes a fresh and witty look at senior year from the perspective of one girl convinced she is everything but "It." Melissa Kantor teaches at a high school in Brooklyn, New York, where she lives with her husband. This is her first novel.

Editorial Reviews

The Bulletin

Jan Miller's senior year isn't quite the climax she'd have hoped: she's worrying about her big butt while her best friend, Rebecca, is named as a New York "It Girl" by Chic magazine; she's struggling through college applications without any real idea of where she wants to go or what she has to offer; her plans to lust after Tom Richmond have been put on hold by the return of old and suddenly adorable acquaintance Josh Gardner. Since Jan babysits for Josh's half-sister, this gives her plenty of chances to encounter Josh in his natural habitat—but also to hear about his girlfriend back in Seattle, to become the object of his weedy cousin's desires, and basically to get her nose rubbed in the fact that he's not interested in her. There are slight shadows of more serious matters (largely due to Rebecca and her interest in a young lawyer, who thinks she's in college), but mostly this is a frothy and witty romance in the classic mode, with misunderstandings and uncertainty keeping the couple apart until the final revelation and embrace (here it's at a New Year's Eve party, where Jan is, of course, looking her most beautiful in a surprise find of a vintage dress). Jan's narration is bubbly yet wry, erupting occasionally into sardonic scripted exchanges of how life might have been, and her rueful observations about her disaster-prone love life ("Whoever said honesty is the best policy obviously didn't have much experience with dating") will elicit eye-rolling agreement as well as laughter from many readers. Despite the Manhattan sophistication of the setting and the girls, this is actually a pretty warm and sweet book, with a deep sense of security underlying Jan's hyperbolically expressed concerns, a solid and silly family behind her, and a generous helping of hope and excitement about the future. Princess Diaries fans looking for glittery Manhattan romance aimed at slightly older readers will consider this the It Book.

Publishers Weekly
Readers will find Kantor's debut novel about the misadventures of an awkward, self-deprecating high school senior predictable but fun. Jan Miller named after artist Jan van Eyck (pronounced "Yahn") is obsessed with the size of her bottom, can't think of what to write in her college application essays and is unsure if Josh, her crush who recently moved from Seattle to New York City, has a girlfriend back home. In contrast, her confident best friend, Rebecca, was just named one of New York's "It Girls" by Chic magazine, gets accepted to Brown and is secretly dating a law student who worked at her dad's firm (and who thinks she's much older). Readers will easily identify with Jan, who attracts the wrong boys, occasionally gets tongue-tied around Josh, and has an active fantasy life (imaginary romantic scenes, in which Josh admits his love, dot the narrative). It's easy to guess how Jan and Josh's will-they/won't-they relationship will ultimately turn out and what will happen to Rebecca and her older man. But Jan's sense of humor, and her rapport with both Josh (at one point Jan and Josh get into a comical conversation about words they hate, including "moist" and "slacks") and Rebecca ("I knew [Rebecca] would be really supportive... but how embarrassing is the recap of a daylong he said/she said when the person you're talking to is shopping for virginity-losing lingerie?") will keep the pages turning. Plus, the novel offers a motivating message to girls about feeling free to make the first move. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Admittedly, Jan Miller's "romantic fantasies are more soap opera than Shakespeare," but her senior year seems to be turning into a tragedy. It is not enough that her best friend has been named an "It Girl" by a fashion magazine and is having an adult relationship with a recent college grad while the fashion-challenged Jan gains the unwanted attention of romantically clumsy Tom and the interest of "Horrible Harry the Harvard Hopeful." Instead of attracting Josh, the new student in their New York high school, she seems to be doing everything guaranteed to drive him away. And then there are those dreadful college applications and essays to worry about. Just when life seems to be going terribly wrong, things become ecstatically right when a vintage dress and a surprise confrontation with Josh at her parent's New Year's party turn Jan's fantasy into reality. Kantor uses humor and vivid description to capture all the insecurities and angst of senior year. Jan's romantic encounter with Tom in a dark bedroom at a high school party is more hilarious than sexual. Anyone who has struggled with a college entrance essay will be delighted by Jan's offbeat ideas. Although the characters are seniors in high school, expect younger readers to relish the crazy situations that Jan gets into and her amusing commentary on her life. Readers who enjoy the work of Meg Cabot and Louise Rennison will find Kantor's book filled with the same wry wit that has made those authors so popular. VOYA Codes 4Q 4P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, Hyperion, 256p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Chris Carlson
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, May 2004: Kantor is a teacher and this is her first novel. Her strengths are understanding the lives of smart YAs as they are preparing to leave high school: college applications, friendships, quarrels with parents, academic struggles, and romances. The friends are Jan (pronounced Yawn, because her father is an art historian who named her after Jan van Eyck) and Rebecca (who is named an It Girl by a national magazine). Much of this novel consists of their endless conversations dissecting each little thing that has happened in their lives. Rebecca is more sophisticated and even manages to deceive a law student into thinking she is actually a college senior (instead of a high school senior)?—?their relationship is hot and heavy and full of lies, of course, until he sees her name in that very same national magazine. Jan is much less sophisticated, but certainly very intelligent. Much of the plot narrows down to Jan's crush on Josh and how misunderstandings and awkwardness keep getting into the way of their romance. The YA characters go to a private school in Manhattan. They attend parties where everyone drinks, where there are views of the NY skyline from people's terraces, and people get home in cabs?—?in other words, exotic to 99 percent of American teenagers. For witty repartee, for angst over wardrobes, and for entertaining reading, this is a good choice. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, Hyperion, 247p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Claire Rosser
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-Jan Miller is a fresh, funny, and real teen seeking her first romance during her senior year in high school. Her parents are New York intellectuals who seem only vaguely aware of what is going on with their children. Jan obsesses about the college applications she has not yet begun; the size of her butt; and Josh, who has returned after many years in Seattle with his father to live with his mother. Most of this melodrama is shared with her friend Rebecca, who is gorgeous, rich, and sophisticated; has recently been named an "It Girl" in a teen magazine; and has considerably more sexual experience than Jan, who has absolutely none. The teen's daydreams about her romantic life are theatrical scenarios with dialogue, stage directions, and curtain closings, an entertaining gimmick that harks back to the first real interaction she and Josh have, during a Romeo and Juliet reading in English class. Clumsy and self-deprecating, witty and smart, Jan struggles with her feelings and her nerves, and comes through a winner on the very last page. Lots of fun, lots of truth, very satisfying.-Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System, FL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In this light read, high-school senior Jan spends much of her narrative obsessing about Josh, her new "crush," and about the largeness of her butt (which looks relatively small in the cover photo) and clothes that will minimize it. Although funny at first, the numerous awkward scenes with Josh and other boys soon start to pall. Meanwhile, Jan, who attends a private school, deals with college applications to prestigious schools and admissions visits. In an unconvincing subplot, Jan's best friend, Rebecca, who was named one of New York's "It Girls" by a girls' magazine, is planning to lose her virginity with a law student who thinks Rebecca's a college senior. With its lack of character development or compelling plot, this will only find an audience among undemanding fans of "chick lit." (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.74(w) x 10.62(h) x 0.95(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Melissa Kantor (www.melissakantor.com) is the author of the best-selling Confessions of a Not It Girl, a Booklist Best Romance Novel for Youth in 2004; If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince?, a YALSA Teens Top Ten Pick in 2006; The Breakup Bible, a YALSA Best Books for Young Adults nominee in 2007; and Girlfriend Material, a Texas Lone Star Reading List winner and a Junior Library Guild Selection. Melissa is a teacher in Brooklyn, New York, where she lives with her husband, the poet Benjamin Gantcher, and their three children.

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Confessions of a Not It Girl 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 66 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Confessions of a Not It Girl is a non-fiction book written by Melissa Kanter. My opinion of this book was, at first, it was a book I didn¿t want to read, but then it turned out to be I couldn¿t put the book down, I read it because it was a drama book and you can relate reality to it.
The book took place in the winter time in Brooklyn, New York.
One major conflict in this book is Jan, 17 year old girl likes this boy named, Josh, a lot and she does not know if he likes her back because he asked her out for his cousin. They got into an argument, and Jan says that she hates him. Mean while she¿s in love with him but she doesn¿t want to tell him!
Jan talks about Josh a lot. One way, she tries to act like she doesn¿t like him is she would talk so much about him and tell her friend, Rebecca, she hated him. In one of the chapters Jan went to eat Chinese food to stop thinking about Josh, but she sees Josh there with this girl Lisa that he would talk about 80% of the time. There was a time that Jan wanted to stay off his mind and she went to this college interview with her mom but her mom decides to brine joshes mom because they were friends and it turns out to be that Josh went with them too.
The author of the book¿ Confessions of a not it girl¿ was told from first person telling the story, the language use is Appropriate for an 8th grader. I think this book is a pretty good book for a first time writer.
I would recommend this book to teenagers who like to read books about girls that deal with drama and cruses. If you like to read books like that, this is the book for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In Confessions of a Not It Girl, Jan Miller wants to date a boy named Josh Gardner, but he doesn¿t know it. Jan does things in front of Josh that aren¿t so attractive. So Jan¿s friend, Rebecca Larkin, a very pretty, popular girl who was named the ¿IT¿ girl by Chic magazine, and has an older college boyfriend, tries to help Jan by telling her what to wear and what to do around Josh. Some good and some not so good things start to happen between Josh and Jan. Such as, Jan finds out that Josh might have a girlfriend. Then Josh tries to hook Jan up with his dorky cousin. So they begin to fight. On top of fighting with Josh, Jan¿s trying to get ready for college. Does Josh really have a girlfriend or does he feel the same way that Jan feels? The main thing that I loved about this book was how realistic it was between Josh and Jan. I also liked the suspense between the characters. The author, Melissa Kantor, keeps the suspense rolling from the beginning to the end which kept me from putting the book down. Although the book was good, I didn¿t like how the character Jan compared herself to others, especially Rebecca, all of the time! I also didn¿t like how Jan wouldn¿t come right out and tell Josh that she had feelings for him when she had the chance so many times. Confessions of a Not It Girl is not part of a series. I think that girls 13 through 18 would enjoy reading this book. Though it has boys in it, it¿s more of a girl book, and it talks about things that guys wouldn¿t understand. In the book I see some of the same type of writing from Lisi Harrison. This was a very good book and I definitely think you should take the time to read The Confessions of a Not It Girl.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this book, I felt like I could relate to what the mail character (Jan) felt throughout the story. Read it in one day, and is worth the time. Trust me! I have read much worse... She is now one of my favorite authors and cannot wait to see what other books she comes out with!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Confessions of a Not It Girl is one of the juciest books i have ever read! I have always been a big reader and i have read many good books but this one takes the lead by far. This book is full of romance, friendship, and happiness. I LOVE this book!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is the most amazing book i have ever read. i have re-read this book 15 times and i love it every single time i read it. i totally relate to the character of jan because my best friend is model gorgeous to and she always gets the guys and her humor is amazing. she talked exactly the way i talk to my best friend and the way she acted around josh was the same way i acted around my crush this year. im insanely in love with this book and the ending is incredibly sweet, but not too sappy that it leaves a less-than-flattering sticky gooey taste in your mouth. even though it says shes not an 'it' girl, i say she definitly is and so is this book.
Beth_Rodgers_Author More than 1 year ago
'Confessions of a Not It Girl' by Melissa Kantor takes readers right into the mindset of Jan (pronounced “Yahn”), who thinks (and sometimes professes to know) that she doesn't have high hopes in the areas of guys and popularity. Even though her best friend Rebecca is basically a rising socialite with infinite prospects of guys, colleges, and everything else Jan could possibly want, her life feels dull and unaccomplished by comparison. Being a senior in high school is hard enough, let alone feeling this way all the time. Instead of living the high life, dating older guys and taking glamorous trips with her parents like Rebecca tends to do, Jan finds herself relegated to having a crush on a guy named Josh whom she's sure doesn't notice her, dealing with what she considers her insufferable parents, and trying to fend off another guy who she used to like but now would rather not deal with at any cost. The world seems to be against her (at least from Jan's perspective), and nothing she does seems to be good enough in her eyes, based on the turnout from every encounter she has. As the novel goes on and Jan falls harder and harder for Josh, conflicts ensue between Jan and Rebecca, and eventually Jan and Josh. Revelations that she thought would keep the other guy who likes her away from her come back to haunt her, causing her relationship with Josh to take a swift turn for the worse, and making her question whether anything can go right in her life. Despite some of the predictability of the ending, the issues that plagued Jan throughout the story were well-conceived, and I very much enjoyed watching Jan have issues so I had all the more reason to root for her to get the outcome she wanted in the end. I look forward to reading more of Melissa Kantor's books. She definitely knows how to add personality and vitality to her characters. Beth Rodgers, Author of 'Freshman Fourteen,' A Young Adult Novel
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MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Jan (pronounced "Yahn" as in Jan van Eyck) Miller's life is anything but glamorous, especially compared to the life of Rebecca, her bonafide "It Girl" best friend. "Confessions of a Not It Girl," Melissa Kantor's debut novel, follows Jan as she tries to make her mark despite her very non-it-girl life. That isn't to say Jan's life is rough. A senior at Lawrence Academy in Brooklyn, Jan lives with her parents in their private brownstone and spends weekends gallivanting about town with Rebecca. Jan and her friends have the privilege of the Gossip Girl characters without the catty, soap opera narratives (I imagine, I haven't read any of the Gossip Girl series yet). Privilege aside, Jan's life is pretty normal for a teenage girl. She's studiously avoiding French class, and college applications while trying to avoid looking like an idiot in front of her newest (possibly biggest) crush, a classmate/neighbor named Josh. Kantor contrasts Jan's romantic misadventures with Rebecca's new relationship with an older man showing that, no matter what age, guys are confusing and relationships are hard. Rebecca's life serves a similar purpose, counterpointing Jan's to further emphasize that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Written from Jan's perspective, Kantor writes in a snappy, youthful voice creating a convincing and usually likable teen narrator. Sometimes, particularly in the latter half of the novel, Jan comes off as whiny and somewhat self-centered, but if readers are honest I suspect most people feel like that now and then. The important thing here is that, by the end of the novel, Jan redeems herself, finding the self-assurance and perspective that she lacked at the beginning of the novel. The novel always seems authentic without going overboard in its efforts to portray "real" teens. Yes, there is underage drinking here and talk about sex, but Kantor never gives either a stamp of approval. Instead she often looks at them from a unique perspective as with when Jan compares the difference between a high school party and a grown up one (the climax of a high school party obviously comes right before the cops come to shut it down). Kantor's writing about Rebecca's relationship is similarly direct without being risque. Unlike other novels about teens ("The New Rules of High School" or "Rx"), "Confessions of a Not It Girl" is not concerned with being edgy or showing everyone how different things are for modern teenagers. Instead she focuses on the characters and their stories, not on placing them in dramatic or shocking situations. "Confessions of a Not It Girl" falls into the conventional romantic comedy "Chick Lit" mold. There isn't that much action beyond the scope of Jan's interactions with Rebecca and Josh, but in this case that works. To be fair, the ending might be a bit rushed or cliched, but on some level that's also par for the course with romantic comedies and that works for this novel too.The writing here might not be life-altering, but the novel is a character study of sorts giving what I consider a fairly accurate depiction of a teenage girl (except for the whole brownstone thing perhaps) while creating a fun, light read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one if the best books I ever read. They describe Josh, Jan,Rebecca and all the other characters its unbelieveble. I love this book. I couldnt put it down, there was just so much drama. My absoutely favorite book.
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beckymmoe More than 1 year ago
I wavered between three and three-and-a-half stars on this one, but in the end decided on a solid three. There were things about this book that I really liked--Melissa Kantor's dry sense of humor really cracks me up, for one. Jan's imaginary dramas were a cute touch, though eventually they did get to be a bit much. (I'm normally totally in favor of denial and living in an elaborate fantasy world, but they just seemed to go too far, even for a high school senior.) Jan's comments and asides are often very funny and had me laughing out loud quite a bit ("Whoever said honesty is the best policy obviously didn't have much experience with dating" for example), but her attitude toward her parents and her mother in particular gave me pause more than once. Yes, I know teenage daughters and their mothers often have issues. Sure, I didn't always get along wonderfully with mine at that age, but again, Jan goes way too far. At one point, she compares her mother to Stalin, only grudgingly apologises because she figures that's the only way she'll get what she ultimately wants from this conversation with her parents ("I'm sorry, Mom, I should never have compared your cooking to Stalin's extermination of the kulaks.") and then is offended because her mother doesn't say she accepts her apology, because it's "fairly rude" of her not to. The self-centered teenager routine just went a bit too far at times. I know I'm probably showing my age here (and the fact that I have an almost-teenage daughter I'm sure factors in too) but if I talked to or acted toward my parents the way Jan does I'd have been grounded, or worse. I enjoyed Kantor's later book, If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince? much more. More of Kantor's trademark fun snarkiness, less of those factors that I have issues with.
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Emmie_claire More than 1 year ago
When I went to get this book i was excpecting something way different. But it was so much better then my expactations!!! I love that everything works out
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