Review: Wrong About the Guy by Claire LaZebnik

This contemporary twist on Jane Austen’s Emma features the signature wit and swoon-worthy romance of beloved author Claire LaZebnik’s other fan favorites Epic Fail, The Trouble with Flirting, and The Last Best Kiss.

Ellie Withers is definitely not spoiled, so she wishes that George Nussbaum would stop implying that she is. It’s not her fault that her stepfather became a TV star and now they live in a big house and people fawn over her wherever she goes. She doesn’t even like being fawned over. Fortunately, her two closest friends understand her a lot better than George: Heather Smith loved her before she even knew who Ellie’s stepfather was, and handsome Aaron Marquand has a father who’s just as famous.

With Aaron back in town and very much in her life, Ellie feels like things are just fine—or would be if her mother hadn’t hired George to tutor her. George has a habit of making Ellie feel a little less sure of herself, a little less on top of the world, a little less right about everything. It’s almost like he wants her to be a better person than she is.

When Ellie’s plans for her family, her friends, and even her love life don’t turn out the way she imagined, she begins to wonder if maybe she could stand to learn a thing or two after all . . . and whether it’s possible—or even likely—that the perfect person to teach her is the last person she’d expect.

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Wrong About the Guy was a pleasant surprise. Progressing through the novel, I realized it’s about far more than just a guy; it’s about family and loving people despite their imperfections.

Ellie Withers is a fun character. On the outside she appears self-centered and careless; getting to know her better, we find she’s actually an endearing girl who loves her friends and family in her own quirky way. She isn’t always thrilled about how her life changed when her mother married a television star, making her down to earth but not perfect. These traits balanced well.

One thing I liked about this book was the presence of a functioning family. They have problems you’ll find in a family, struggling together to cope with these challenges. These days, most YA books feature a teenager whose parents are absent from her life; this book is different. In Wrong About the Guy, we do see Ellie’s mother and Luke and her little brother, Jacob.

It’s good to shift the focus sometimes, because not all teenagers distance themselves so quickly. YA often makes it seem obligatory to walk away from Mom and Dad, but not everyone is like that. I asked Claire some questions about the subject of family in YA, so check back in a couple of days.

Give this book a try! It’s a heartwarming read and one you’re bound to remember.

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