Undercover by Beth Kephart
(Harper Teen, Hardcover)
You must rush out and get this book as soon as it's released (Sept. 18th, I think). Seriously, it's that wonderful! I was lucky enough to get an advance copy and I fell in love with it as soon as I read it and here's why...
Elisa ghostwrites love letters for boys at school, which sounds corny. But it works in this novel because it's so ironic - Elisa gets to talk to all the popular boys but, unless she's giving them a love letter for their current girlfriend, they don't notice her. So shy, clumsy, totally-un-girly Elisa surrounds herself with writing and learning to ice skate. This book was magical for me because I completely escaped into Elisa's story and her beautiful writing (if you only read a few pages, read her poems). Oh, and Elisa's English teacher recommends that she keep a "book of words" which is basically a journal of words and their definitions, some real and some made-up. I was so inspired that I started my own word journal. This isn't a love story, per say. It's a novel about finding yourself. As the front cover says, "Nature is not the number one mystery. It's the heart that takes top honors."