Monday, November 28, 2011

If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor by Barbara Ehrentreu

Carolyn Samuels is obsessed with the idea of being popular. She is convinced that the only thing keeping her from happiness is her too heavy for fashion body and not being a cheerleader. Hyperventilating when she gets nervous doesn’t help. When she is paired for a math project with the girl who tormented her in middle school, Jennifer Taylor, she is sure it is going to be another year of pain. With Carolyn’s crush on Jennifer’s hunky junior quarterback, Brad, her freshman year in high school looks like a rerun of middle school. When Jennifer is the only student who knows why she fell in gym class, Carolyn is blackmailed into doing her math homework in return for Jennifer’s silence. Jennifer takes on Carolyn as a pity project since she can’t be seen with someone who dresses in jeans and sweatshirts. When Jennifer invites Carolyn to spend the night to make her over and teach her to tumble, Carolyn learns Jennifer’s secret and lies to her own friends to cover it up. Will Carolyn become a cheerleader and popular? Does she continue to keep Jennifer’s secret? Or will she be a target of this mean girl again?

I was Carolyn Samuels in high school, although my grades weren’t high enough to tutor anyone or for anyone else to ask me to do their homework.  Fortunately, I grew up in Chicago and the high school I attended was large enough that the kids who bullied me in grammar school went their own way and I made new friends.  Cheerleading?  Tumbling?  My favorite sports were reading and writing fiction.  I was terrified of falling and of balls flying at me.  But I digress.  I identified with Carolyn, even forty-some-odd years later.

Whether you’re seventeen or seventy, you’ll identify with someone in this book.  It was written for young adults, but it’s a great read for everyone.  However—it is a MUST READ for teenage girls.  Jennifer’s secret is one shared by girls everywhere and Carolyn’s dilemma whether or not to keep that secret is probably shared by just as many other kids.  If you have a daughter, granddaughter, niece or any teenage girl in your life, by all means, give her a copy of “If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor” for Christmas.  Reading this book could save a girl’s life, or help a young girl save her friend’s life.

Price:  $5.95


  1. Rochelle, thank you for fixing my name! Thank you also for the 5 roses and I do hope every girl 10-14 gets a chance to read this. Older girls might enjoy it too, because it is about the first year of high school. Adults enjoy it too!!

  2. As I said, even forty years after high school, I identified with the girls. This book is a MUST read for high school and college-aged girls driven to be perfect and for their friends who may be trying to figure out the best way to help them--keep their secrets or tell someone? And a good read for those of us who can look back and say, "that was me."