Well, That Was Awkward

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Gracie has never felt like this before.  One day, she suddenly can’t breathe, can’t walk, can’t anything—and the reason is standing right there in front of her, all tall and weirdly good-looking: A.J.

But it turns out A.J. likes not Gracie but Gracie’s beautiful best friend, Sienna. Obviously Gracie is happy for Sienna. Super happy! She helps Sienna compose the best texts, responding to A.J.’s surprisingly funny and appealing texts, just as if she were Sienna. Because Gracie is fine. Always! She’s had lots of practice being the sidekick, second-best.

It’s all good. Well, almost all. She’s trying.

Funny and tender, Well, That Was Awkward goes deep into the heart of middle school, and  finds that even with all the heartbreak, there can be explosions of hope and moments of perfect happiness.

No one does tween better than Rachel Vail. Her characters come alive on the page, make you worry, hope, laugh and cry along with them, right to the very satisfying last page. And it doesn’t hurt that the romance, though age appropriate, sizzles.
— Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries
★ Gracie’s breakneck narration is presented in and out of text messages, folding in an effortlessly diverse cast including Latina Sienna, and Filipino-Israeli Emmett. Through her protagonist’s rollicking commentary,
Vail captures the anguish and hilarity at the heart of middle school.
— The Horn Book, starred review
★ Vail may be disguised as an adult, but somewhere inside she is hiding a sensitive, confused, hormonal, loving, and intelligent adolescent. Using Cyrano de Bergerac as a model, Vail has created a fast-paced comedy characterizing a teen girl’s growing pains on the journey toward womanhood. Bring a tissue (or a pack), and enjoy.
— VOYA, starred review
★ As per her usual blend of energy, wit, and genuine emotion, Vail has created a story that is at once
delightfully gossipy, playfully ironic, and deeply moving.
— BCCB, starred review
Vail skillfully details the politics of middle school, mean girls, first dates, and best friends in this sensitive and funny coming-of-age story. But it’s the storyline revolving around Gracie’s sister and her parents—and the resulting reflection on grief and the risks of loving another person—that leads to the story’s most profound and memorable moments.
— Publishers Weekly
Gracie is fabulously sarcastic and a little neurotic, her first-person narrative thoughts pinging and ponging across the pages…The sensitive subplot concerning Gracie’s deceased older sister weaves in and out of the main plot, never overshadowing it but enhancing it with sincere emotion until the concluding chapters pull everything together.
Hilarious and heartfelt.
— Kirkus Reviews
A modern, multicultural version of Cyrano de Bergerac…Vail’s portrayals prevent the characters from being mere stereotypes…This tween romance proves that some stories stand the test of time, even with modernization.
— School Library Journal
Set in the tumultuous world of eighth grade, Rachel Vail’s delightful take on Cyrano de Bergerac is laugh-out-loud funny, but also perceptive and touching.
— Junior Library Guild, selected book
Rachel Vail’s Well, That Was Awkward screenshots the teen years.
— Vanity Fair, in the “Hot Type” section of the March 2017 issue
This is tale of all that’s awkward about middle-school life: navigating a best-friend’s romance, the un-fillable hole a lost sibling may leave behind, and discovering what’s sincere at a time when people are hiding their truths as best they can. Vail brings this awkward time to life without being awkward at all. The novel is as funny as it is tender; a treat for readers of any age.
— Barnes and Noble Kids Blog
... captures that head-spinning, butterflies-in-tummy, OMG-my-crush-is-so-cute feeling.
— Girls' Life
This story of middle school relationships is both hilarious and poignant.
— Brightly (featuring WTWA in a “17 Middle Grade Books to Look Forward to in 2017” round-up)
I would not want to be thirteen again, but if I were somehow transported back to that age, I’d want Gracie on my side. And I’d want Rachel Vail to tell my story. A refreshingly satisfying novel about friendship, first love, and wading through the murky waters of adolescence.
— Ann M. Martin, author of The Babysitters Club
What could possibly go wrong in this scenario? Everything, of course, and that’s the joy of this hilarious and heartfelt novel of tween love.
— Chicago Tribune, March 10, 2017