Girl Wonder

( 5 )

Overview

It's senior year and Charlotte Locke has just transferred to a new high school. With no friends, a terrible math SAT score, and looming college application deadlines, the future starts to seem like a black hole.

Then Amanda enters her orbit like a hot-pink meteor, offering Charlotte a ticket to popularity. Amanda is fearless, beautiful, and rich. As her new sidekick, Charlotte is brought into the elite clique of the debate team-and closer to ...

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Girl Wonder

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Overview

It's senior year and Charlotte Locke has just transferred to a new high school. With no friends, a terrible math SAT score, and looming college application deadlines, the future starts to seem like a black hole.

Then Amanda enters her orbit like a hot-pink meteor, offering Charlotte a ticket to popularity. Amanda is fearless, beautiful, and rich. As her new sidekick, Charlotte is brought into the elite clique of the debate team-and closer to Neal, the most perfect boy she has ever seen.

Senior year is finally looking up. . . .or is it? The more things heat up between Charlotte and Neal, the more he wants to keep their relationship a secret. Is he ashamed? Meanwhile, Amanda is starting to act strangely competitive. Could Charlotte's new BFF be hiding something?

A riveting debut novel full of magnetic characters, romantic intrigue, and dark humor, Girl Wonder is a poignant story of first love, jealousy, and friendship that will keep readers rooting for Charlotte until the very end.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Martin's debut novel, Charlotte feels like an outsider in her own family. Her parents are hugely successful, and her younger brother is a genius who's attending the best private school in their new home of Seattle. But Charlotte has a learning disability that excludes her from any prep school. Starting her senior year in a tough public school, Charlotte meets Amanda, who's confident, sexy, and smart—everything Charlotte longs to be. Then there's Neal, a boy so hot Charlotte can't believe he is interested in her. At first, hanging out with Amanda and Neal is just what she's looking for, but keeping up with Amanda's partying (an acid trip goes poorly for Charlotte) proves difficult, her schoolwork suffers, and Neal's desire to keep their relationship a secret triggers insecurity. These friendships blow up just as problems surface at home, leaving Charlotte feeling lost and alone, save for a quirky neighbor boy. Charlotte's voice is honest and relatable, and while readers may be frustrated with the treatment she tolerates from Neal, her ultimate self-acceptance is gratifying. Ages 13–up. (May)
Children's Literature - Danielle Williams
Being a teenager is difficult. Being a teenager moving from place to place is even more difficult. For Charlotte, senior year of high school is a new beginning instead of a happy ending. Forced to move when her mother gets a new job, Charlotte isn't lucky enough to land in the private school her brother gets into and isn't smart enough to enter the advanced track at the public school. But she's determined to do her best and make the most of the difficult situation in which she finds herself. But as she tries to fit in she manages to fall in with the wrong people, the people she most wants to be like but the people who are only invested in their own lives. Martin has written a story of a typical teenage girl making one mistake after another. Charlotte's story is very familiar and can be found in numerous teen novels. While the novel is well written, the characters, especially Charlotte, engender little sympathy and the situations are standard coming of age situations. Perhaps what makes this novel less engaging than other coming of age novels is the fact that Charlotte is not faced with one or two traumatic issue, but encounters every stereotypical coming of age issue available. Reviewer: Danielle Williams
ALAN Review - Annalise Miyashiro
Charlotte Locke is new to Shady Grove High School, and things aren't necessarily going her way. Her luck starts to change when she befriends Amanda Munger, a spunky, pink-haired girl who has it all. Charlotte joins the debate team to get closer to Neal, the cool and intelligent editor of the literary magazine. Charlotte is getting an "A" in life, but when she and Neal begin a secret relationship, things start to fall apart. Through Charlotte's trials, Martin keeps readers engaged, evoking strong emotional ties to the characters. Charlotte, in particular, is relatable to readers who have faced parental and peer pressure. The book is recommended for readers ages 13 and up, as there are incidents of drug usage and sexual situations that require a mature audience. Martin has written a compelling story that lets readers into the world of a girl you'll want to root for. Reviewer: Annalise Miyashiro
Kirkus Reviews

A solid debut captures the social maelstrom that is high school. Charlotte, 17, lands in an awful public high school when her family moves to the Pacific Northwest. Worse, instead of going into its accelerated program, she's placed in low-level classes instead, because of a math disability. Unable to make friends, she watches a rebellious, wealthy girl with flaming hair who's been kicked out of all the best schools yet aces her advanced classes with no effort. Charlotte becomes a regular sidekick to Amanda, the "girl wonder," gaining entry into high-school society. Charlotte also can't resist Neal, the hunky leader of the debate club, and signs up for the team even though she learns that she's terrible at public speaking. Spectacular debater Amanda joins too, and it becomes clear that she and Neal have a past. As Charlotte becomes more involved with Neal, however, she worries that he won't commit. If Charlotte can't keep up with the debate team and doesn't trust her new friends, can she live without a social life? And why should she even try for college? Martin keeps readers involved with her distinctive, colorful and believable characters and by placing Charlotte in a fractured but realistic family life. The prose moves along nicely, mixing Charlotte's introspection with active scenes. Amanda may be wonderful, but Charlotte is the one who shines. Insightful—and entertaining too. (Fiction. 14 & up)

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Charlotte Locke's life can't get much worse: she has to move and leave her best friend, and her learning disability (dyscalculia) prevents her from being accepted into her younger brother's exclusive school or the Gifted and Talented Education program at her new school. Shocked to find herself in a rundown public school with a rough and largely apathetic student body, she reluctantly attaches herself to Mimi, the only student who befriends her, yet dismisses her when she strikes up a friendship with outrageous Amanda, a brilliant and intimidating GATE student. Charlotte also catches the eye of Neal, an attractive GATE student. After they have sex, he insists that they keep their relationship a secret, while his friendship with Amanda increasingly worries Charlotte. Neal and Amanda encourage her to smoke cigarettes and take drugs, which lead to permanent rifts in their relationships. The wide divide between the GATE kids and the general track students is truthfully portrayed. Charlotte's relationships with Neal, Amanda, and her family are realistic and understandable, yet the plot breaks credulity toward the latter part of the novel. Although uneven in parts, this story will pique the interest of teens looking for a quick and somewhat gritty read.—Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423121350
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 5/3/2011
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,541,533
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Alexa Martin holds an MFA in Writing and Literature from the Bennington Writing Seminars. She lives near Seattle and complains about the weather a lot although she secretly likes the rain. Initially Girl Wonder was a story about a horse, which just goes to show you that art is what happens when you are making other plans.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 5, 2015

    more from this reviewer

    It's senior year and since her parents decided to move, Charlot

    It's senior year and since her parents decided to move, Charlotte has to attend a new school and with that make new friends, too. From the beginning Charlotte's story is all about her school life.
    She has a learning disability and isn't very good with numbers. GIRL WONDER shows that you can't be good at everything and even if you have flaws and weaknesses you should still be respected and not treated any differently for it.
    So GIRL WONDER has all the main issues occupying a teen's mind. School days, family dinner conversations, new friends, and two boys, Neal and Milton, warring for Charlotte's heart. GIRL WONDER is about learning to grow up, to trust the right people and leave those behind who don't trust in you. How does Charlotte decide who is right for her?
    My favourite thing about Alexa Martin's debut novel was its setting, the rural landscape, pine trees, snowy mountains that brought on an extra winter charm and fun activities like skiing.


    3/5 *** GIRL WONDER – An average YA contemporary read for a younger audience about a girl finding her way in life .

    Somehow the cover of GIRL WONDER made me assume I'd picked up a book with paranormal background, only to discover a plain and common YA contemporary story. I couldn't relate to the characters very well, but the story kept me entertained to some extend.

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  • Posted April 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Learn with Charlotte

    School can be tough for everybody, but for Charlotte Locke, it's even harder. She suffers from a learning disability that makes numbers and letters particularly difficult. Moving to a new school for her senior year doesn't help things either. Then she meets Amanda Munger and Neal Fitzpatrick, two beautiful people with reputations of their own and an interest in her. Amanda is quirky and fearless. Neal is sexy and funny. Charlotte is drawn to Amanda and Neal like a moth to a flame. And like the moth, Charlotte may find herself getting burned if she gets too close.

    This book shocked me, mostly with it's content. Be warned: there are a lot of drug and sex scenes in this book! Charlotte ultimately learns her lessons, but throughout most of the story she doesn't have many redeeming qualities. Readers will be able to identify with her insecurities as well as her parents going through a turbulent divorce. I found myself getting annoyed with her attitude and behavior, but I had to consider it was justified in a lot of places, based on her character. I liked how Alexa Martin fleshed out Charlotte's brother James Henry (great name!) and his friend Milton. Those two made me chuckle out loud! So even though it felt like the story took a little bit to ramp up, once the middle of the book hit, it was a climactic read until the last page.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 23, 2011

    Courtesy of Readergirl Reviews a Teen Book

    This was a heartfelt debut novel by Alexa Martin that I really enjoyed. Charlotte Locke has a learning disability that makes her see numbers strangely in math, even while she excels at other classes. With a university professor mother, and author father, and near genius-like brother, Charlotte's disability turns her into the "odd man out," so to speak. Her disability becomes less of a nuisance and more of a brand that stamps her as a failure.

    And a failure is how she feels. It was agonizing to watch this girl and see how she looked at herself. Internally, she spoke to herself so negatively, and saw herself as so worthless, it was sad to see such internal insecurity. The author did a superb job, however, not making her sound whiny or self-pitying. It was, instead, believable insecurity that Charlotte displays unconsciously. It also explains her fascination with Amanda, who is flamboyant and overly confident. She is the complete opposite of Charlotte, and it was easy to see why Amanda would draw Charlotte, as if, by extention, Amanda's confidence would rub off on her.

    It was also easy to see how Amanda could end up leading Charlotte into some situations that she never would have picked for herself. Some of these situations are powerfully raw and pitiful to read. I wouldn't recommend this book for younger readers, but older teens.

    Despite her mistakes, Charlotte begins to find herself, begins to find her own worth, and to realize just which guy is worthy of her. These were very real characters with real issues. I loved it.

    Alexa Martin proves, with her debut novel, that she is an excellent storyteller who knows how to draw a character. This was an excellent, powerful story. I look forward to see more from this author.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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