This book is marketed as New Adult, but I would have a hard time pulling it out of the YA category given the maturity of the narrator. Kelli Pinkins is 18, a high school graduate living at home, waiting to begin college. She lives in Sundale, which is pretty much an alternate reality. In Sundale, the parents are all spectacularly rich, families attend church every week, and all of the kids have trust funds. There are behavioral standards to be met, and if a son or daughter fails to live up to expectations, their trust funds are cut off.
Kelli has a pristine reputation which she decides to market. For a couple hundred bucks, she’ll be your Friday night alibi — she’ll vouch that you were with her, at the movies, out bowling, whatever wholesome activity sounds good, while you’re really out doing something that would get your trust fund yanked. Kelli doesn’t need the money, but since her parents are gone most of the time, she wants to be useful to someone. She spends her Friday nights holed up in her room playing video games so no one can fault her alibi. It’s an impressive system tailored for her niche market.
As the story opens, Kelli is home pretending to be on a date with Alex while she’s really playing an online shooter game. She’s never met her gamer buddy but she has fun virtually hanging out with him every week. Then her best friend begs and pleads for Kelli to leave the house for one night, so she gives in. Hijinks ensue, and she also meets a cute boy, Chase, with an annoying personality.
Kelli’s voice, at least compared to other NA heroines, is very immature. I thought she was 16 at best, but then she mentioned she’d graduated from high school. When Chase shows up at her country club, she hits a tennis ball into his butt, so then he moons her, so then she invites him for a spa day and surprises him with a body wax. They prank each other back and forth, she’s always smacking him on the back or making a sarcastic comment. When she thinks about kissing him, she gets grossed out by the idea of his tongue in her mouth. That’s about how I felt when I was 14. Then the story grew on me because Kelli begins to make out with Chase a lot. She won’t let him grope her, because she thinks she’s saving herself for marriage, and he doesn’t use his tongue until about the third week when she doesn’t find it gross anymore. Any time Kelli thinks she’s having feelings for Chase, she pushes them away because he’s just her kissing buddy. Near the end she’s forced to face her emotions and deal with Chase like a mature person (although she still makes dumb jokes and punches him a lot) and I believed it.
It’s a cute book, but don’t read it looking for anything red hot. It’s definitely a tame, cutesy book, good for a teenaged girl who wants kissing lessons or a grown woman who can’t remember when she was last grossed out by a boy.
*ARC Provided by Flirt
Click to purchase: Amazon
Friday Night Alibi
by Cassie Mae
Release Date: July 29, 2013