Janice Wills has a knack for anthropology. She likes to observe her class mates anthropologically as they socialize and survive high school.
Her and her best friend Margo are Unremarkable Smart Girls. Faced with the annual Miss Livermush Pageant, they each feel self-conscious and nervous about the expectation of entering the sort of rite of passage for sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds in Melva, North Carolina. That is, until Margo gives herself a makeover and is suddenly the talk of their classmates.
Janice then decides to enter the pageant for anthropological research reasons and is overwhelmed with juggling her friendship with Margo, the impending Miss Livermush Pageant, her anthropological research, and the new thought of boys. Two specific boys as a matter of fact. Jimmy Denton, the very Hot Theatre Guy and Paul, Janice’s sweet and funny friend who changes his hobby as often as his underwear.
The Rites and Wrongs of Janice Wills is the story of Janice suddenly becoming part of the culture she always watched from the sidelines.
I found Janice Wills to be an enjoyable read and felt that Janice was the epitome of an awkward girl coming to terms with herself, and finally seeing herself as pretty. She also really came to terms with how she treated people. She used to study her high school from the sidelines, always quick to point out a person’s flaws and used her anthropological research as an excuse for why she did this. The rest of the characters in the novel really helped her see that she did it as a coping mechanism for her self-consciousness and helped her see how mean her tactics were.
I can really relate to that, as I am very hypercritical, as Janice was described, and have been told by several people that I am. For me, it is indeed a coping mechanism for being so self-conscious. I am always fearing people are talking about me behind my back, so to help take control over that fear, I point out ones’ flaws to make myself feel better. Seeing Janice come to terms with herself and her body really brought me hope that I can do the same.
The plot and writing of Janice Wills was simple and in a way, that was actually nice. It wasn’t too deep or complicated and everything got wrapped up in one quick swoop. This could be either a good or bad thing, depending on the type of book you are looking for.
I would recommend Janice Wills to anyone that just wants a quick and light read, free of a complicated plot.
Meghan is a 18-year-old book blogger. She likes to read and write in her spare time and would like to become a published author one day. She plans on going to college soon.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Arthur A. Levine Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.