Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty by Jody Gehrman
A month ago, a teen and I were talking about books we had recently read, and she said she had just finished Carrie Jones‘ excellent Tips on Having a Gay (Ex) Boyfriend. After I finished going on about how Jones had written a sequel which I kind of wanted to read but kind of was afraid to read because I thought Tips was a fabulous YA romance on its own, she asked if I could recommend any YA romances. Set in the summer. And not written for younger teens. (I swear, she totally asked me this on her own.) Jody Gerhman‘s Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty is very different from Tips, and although there are better books out there and I’m on the fence as to whether it really is a romance or merely realistic fiction with a large romantic subplot (as well as whether a book recommended for ages 14 and up can truly be considered “not for younger teens,” because you know they’re going to read it anyway, but as it’s not for 12 and up, I’m saying yes), it is still good enough and romance-ish enough for me to recommend to my teen. And to make things even better, it takes place over the course of a summer. So on to the book.
Geena’s two best friends have never met, but she’s arranged things so that all three of them will be working together at Triple Shot Betty’s, a drive-through coffee stand, and she just knows that they’re all going to get along and have a great summer. However, upon meeting, Amber and Hero dislike each other and are not afraid to let Geena, or each other, know it. While Hero is polite enough that she probably would have been nice to Amber anyway, Amber starts insulting Hero practically from the moment they meet. Hero, understandably, is not about to back down after being stereotyped and insulted. Not helping matters is the fact that the hottest guy in Sonoma, the guy Amber hooked up with when she first moved to town, is interested in Hero, but Hero is not interested in him. Instead, Hero’s in love with the Italian guy interning at her family’s winery, but her overprotective father refuses to let her date. And Amber does want to be a tattoo artist, and Alistair Drake, former drummer/current owner of a famous tattoo parlor did just happen to buy the place next to Hero’s home. So even if they dislike each other, maybe Amber and Hero can call a truce, making a deal that will benefit both of them without letting Geena know about it, since their plans just happen to involve her and a certain smart and cute bicyclist.
Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty was inspired by Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, but as I’ve never read the play or seen the movie (or the play), I can’t compare the two. However, I can say that Confessions is an enjoyable, if not particularly memorable, read. Most of the secondary characters were on the flat side and the story didn’t stick with me the way Tips did. But it was humorous, though not laugh out loud funny, and I found both the romantic and the will-they-all-become-friends? subplots satisfying—teens looking for a summer friendship story along the lines of Peaches will also find much to like in Confessions.
Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty will be published on April 17.