This is the summer before Hilary Boles starts junior high. Hilary and her best friend Lynn dream of becoming popular and being besties with the most popular girl of all Chanel Winters. But things don't go as planned for Hilary when Lynn leaves for the summer and Kallie moves in next door. She's very quirky - her room is black with constellations painted on her ceiling, she sleeps in a hammock in her room instead of a bed and she enacts fantastical plays in front of cute boys on the beach much to Hilary's embarrassment. But they become friends and Hilary knows Kallie is definitely not cool and not part of her plan to becoming popular. So when school starts Hilary has to decide if she wants to be part of the popular group who looks down on "losers" like Kallie or if she wants to hang on to a true friend and be seen as a loser too.
This is labelled as young adult on Netgalley but it's more middle grade - preteens especially will enjoy it. The same old story of wanting to fit in and bullies picking on someone simply because they're different. I thought the writing was strong. It was funny in places but was also serious when need be. Kallie was such a strong character. But poor Hilary is torn between doing the right thing by sticking up for her new friend and not being able to say anything because it wouldn't be cool. It's always funny thinking back to being twelve and realizing that the things that seemed important really weren't - needing the same shirt as so-and-so or liking a band because all the cool kids are listening to them. I'm glad those days are over!
Thank you to Netgalley and Xpresso Book Tours for a copy of this book.