Twelve Steps - Veronica Bartles

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl

Twelve Steps was just too cute to pass up. Oh YA, how I've missed you! I knew I had to read this book - I have a younger sister, and although I'm the older one, I don't believe I outshone her. But she always thought I was our parents' favorite, able to get away with a bunch of stuff while I felt they were way harder on me than on her. You know, typical sister stuff. 

Reading about Andi and Laina in Twelve Steps reminded me a lot of growing up with my sister - with all of the fun times, sad times, and the inbetween as well as the awkwardness I experienced during my teenage years. This book is exactly why I love the YA genre. 

The Second Class Sibling

Andi has labeled herself "the second class sibling" after years of feeling like she can never measure up to her older sister, Laina. After crushing on Jarod, the guy who's close with both sisters but only has eyes for Laina, for years, there's a hugely awkward moment involving a kiss that had me clutching my chest in a bit of heartbreak for Andi. 

I felt so bad for her! She's a firecracker - always entertaining and witty, there's never a dull moment with her. She would be loads of fun to hang out with. At the same time, she can be manipulative and sneaky in order to get what she wants. She doesn't mean to intentionally hurt anyone, but that's usually what ends up happening. She isn't selfish, just a lovesick teenage girl with a massive crush on someone who possibly might not ever give her the time of day. 

The Most Perfect Girl in the School

When you have the kind of personality Laina has, eager to please, I think you put much more pressure on yourself than anyone else ever could. Once you've achieved certain things like being on the "A" honor roll or being the top flute player in band, then it becomes expected you stay there. The pressure may not even necessarily come from others - it could be coming from you so strongly that you might perceive it as coming from others. 

I was surprised Laina isn't superficial and stuck up and went out of her way to be a good sister to Andi because from the synopsis, I figured she treated Andi like she's better than her. That isn't how Laina is at all, and it was refreshing to find that out. She's clueless about the way Andi is jealous of her - she doesn't think there's anything special about her. 

The Scheme 

Hmmm...Jarod. Is he really worth Andi's time anyway? Or Laina's? The further Andi went to send Laina into Shane's (a guy Laina likes) arms, the more hilarious the situation became. Shane couldn't stop making creeptastic comments, and I couldn't stop laughing at them. Poor guy! He was so nervous around Laina! He didn't mean to come off creepy, either. *facepalm*

The Unexpected Hottie

I became more interested in Dave for Andi and wanted Jarod out of the way. Dave saw right through Andi's facade, and I think she's met her match in him. One of my favorite moments is when he tells Andi that she's beautiful and of course guys are attracted to her, and I was cheering. 

The Bottom Line

Good Lord I love this book! I haven't been reading much YA lately, and Twelve Steps has made me realize just how much I've missed it. All the teenage angst and drama - I'll never get tired of any of it. Bartles has done a fantastic job of writing a YA novel that's screamingly hilarious with those moments of embarrassment and angst I remember from my own years as a teenager. Twelve Steps is the kind of book that's the perfect example of why YA rocks.