Juniors by Kaui Hart Hemmings
Publication Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
High school junior Lea Lane recently moved to Hawaii with her actress mom. She hasn’t really made many friends on the island other than her childhood friend, Danny.
When her mom’s rich friends, Eddie and Melanie West invite Lea and her mom to move into their guest house. Lea’s not excited. Moving means living on her popular classmates’ property. She’s embarrassed to be accepting charity for Whitney and Will’s parents. Lea doesn’t want to be known at her posh private school as a charity case.
To her surprise, Lea finds herself becoming friends with Whitney and maybe something more with Will. She’s also experiencing more in life than ever before. But her friendship with the West kids may be changing Lea in a way she never wanted. Lea will have to decide if being friends with the West kids is worth losing the respect of the two people she cares the most about.
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I loved how Juniors started off. It was a creative start but something I could imagine happening in real life. Lea was a normal teenage girl trying to figure things out. I liked her the dynamic between her and Danny. It was a cute friendship. I also loved the nod to the Hawaiian culture and scenery.
Somewhere in the middle of the story, it lost me a bit. Lea got very immature and it was hard for me to read. A lot of it was very realistic but it still drove me nuts — especially her “relationship” with Will. I hated how she treated her mom, too. I was frustrated with the story and kind of wanted it to hurry up and end.
Then, right before the very end, the story picked up and went in the direction I was hoping it would the entire time. I wish it would have happened earlier. I would have liked more interaction between Danny and Lea. I would have loved for the entire book to have more Danny in it. He was the cute and funny part of it all.
Juniors wasn’t my favorite book by Kaui Hart Hemmings. The Descendants has that spot. I still think Juniors had a good message for teenagers, though. I would suggest it to young adults going through high school. It’s an excellent representation of what trying to fit in could be.