One Night That Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt
This is my first foray into Lauren Barnholdt’s work and it has taught me two things: First, I can’t spell foray (I had to look it up!) and second, and infinitely more important, LB is a funny lady. Like really funny in a cute, rambling, self-conscious sort of way. I instantly loved her writing style.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The Story: Eliza has this purple notebook that she’s had since she was twelve. She’s had this quirky tendency to write her biggest fears in this book. Fears about boys and dancing and love. And as you can imagine, these fears have changed over the years and have become extremely embarrassing. She would never, under any circumstances want anyone else to know them. So, you know, when Eliza realizes that the notebook is missing she’s pretty panicked. And when she gets a call from her ex-boyfriend Cooper, asking her to meet him at a club because he has information about the notebook, she freaks (Embarrassing secrets! Some about the ex! Random ramblings about being afraid to sing in public! Ahhhh!)!
Cooper is part of a lame, testosterone-driven secret society that now has possession of the notebook. He’s being used as a puppet between Eliza and the group’s main d-bag, Tyler, as part of a revenge plot against her (Whaaa? I know). She has to do everything they say or risk having her notebook displayed for all to read. And each task they challenge her to complete involves a fear they’ve pulled straight from her writings. With her two best friends, Clarice and Marissa and, oddly enough, help from an unexpetcted source, Eliza tries to get through the night with her dignity still intact.
My Take: This book was adorable. Eliza has a cute personality with a panicked, funny inner monologue. Her friends are really funny as well. And then there’s Cooper, who has some really great moments. Barnholdt gives the history of Cooper and Eliza’s relationship little by little and shows what it was that brought them together and, ultimately, what tore them apart. Through it all, Eliza finds that she’s far stronger than she ever thought possible. It’s not as if she wants to do the things she ends up doing that night, but she does them anyway. She faces her fears and even finds a way to fight back. I know I’ve said this before, but I love stories about normal girls (one without extraordinary magical abilities or paranormal boyfriends) who overcome obstacles and come out shining.
Crush Intensity: 4/5 Super cute! It’s a sweet, girly read, without any heavy, serious business going on. That’s a good thing because sometimes you just want to laugh and smile when you read and not worry whether or your main character is going to be killed by another Tribute or something equally as scary—or at least I do!