Monday, August 29, 2011

Review: One Night That Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: July 6th, 2010

Two years ago, when Eliza Sellman was in ninth grade, her dad found out he was being transfered and the family was going to move. Having always been shy and not so confident about her body, Eliza took that opportunity to start a list in her private notebook of all the things she planned on doing when she moved but had always been afraid to—like wearing a miniskirt and asking guys to dance; singing karaoke in front of strangers; posting a photo of herself on her Facebook wall in a get the idea. New town, new Eliza, right? Well, she'll never know because the transfer fell through and they didn't move. But Eliza kept adding her goals and secret fears to the list in the notebook. Now it's two years later, and in that time Eliza has had and lost her first boyfriend. But this was more than your average breakup...turns out the sweet and cute Cooper was only dating her as a hazing stunt by a secret society. Eliza got her revenge by posting some pretty nasty (and only sort-of true) stuff about Cooper online. That posting has had major consequences and now Cooper and his buddies have stolen her private notebook and won't give it back until she performs all the things on her list in one night. It's torture...until Eliza steals something from the boys she knows they'll want to trade her notebook for. What starts out as a night of humiliation turns into a night of revelations as Eliza learns what Cooper was really thinking when they dated, the real reason he's stolen her notebook, and how freeing—and life-changing—it can be to do the things you fear the most.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

I like Lauren Barnholdt. I feel like she understands tween and teen girls the way few adult YA authors do.  I know that I at times forget what it was like to be in that "under 18" set, and reading one of her books always takes me back.  Sometimes the memories and are great, and other times, not so much. That's the way it should be.  Anyone who remembers HS as all happiness and rainbows is either delusional or a liar.  This book, much like Barnholdt's other books targeted at HS girls, pretty much tells it like it is.  Not all pretty, but not all awfulness either.  It's a light read with a not-so-subtle "face your fears"message.

I liked this book.  It won't win any literary awards for it's masterpiece quality, but it was a fun, easy read.  At under 250 pages, it is perfect for reading while spending a day lounging by the pool.  There aren't really any heavy teen issues; it's just light and funny and (mostly) very real.  The only thing I took exception to was the ending, which was a bit neat for me.  The characters were written so that you liked who you were supposed to like and didn't like the ones that you shouldn't.  It was a bit on the predictable side, but not in a bad way.  I read it because I thought the synopsis was cute.  I was expecting somewhat of a fluff read, and I got just what I expected.  Do you need to run right out and buy it?  No, but if you see it at the library and are looking for something light, it's worth a read.

My Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ½ 

Grade Level Recommendation:  There's a good bit of language and teen drinking.  One of the girls is on the promiscuous side and there is good amount of talk about sex.  I would say this is a book for HS girls age 14 and up (9th grade+).


  1. This book sounds like so much fun! I really enjoyed Two-Way Street, so I think I check this one out too. Great review!

  2. This looks like a fun, light read! Great review. New GA follower!

    Tia @ Falling For Books

  3. I've loved Lauren Barnholdt since Two Way Street, and I was incredibly disappointed when I couldn't find this book at Borders before it closed down (my library doesn't have it). :/ Sometimes you just need a fun, enjoyable, light read, and I'll continue to keep a look out for this one.


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