High school senior Julia Thomas should be obsessed with Prom, snagging a perfect boyfriend, and decorating her future college dorm room, like the rest of her friends. Her mom’s perennial alcoholic binges followed by stints at a rehab “spa” should make her scream with rage. Her dad’s near-total absence from her life should make her resentful.
Instead, the only thing Julia Thomas feels is detached. Numb.
She’s pretty sure spending some time away from the suffocating sinkhole that is Pittsburgh, PA is the only thing that would help, but Dad still thinks Julia is an irresponsible little kid and won’t foot the bill. Her last hope is to win Senior Tag, which basically means spending the final weeks of senior year running around town half-naked trying not to get squirted with a water gun. Julia has always thought the game was stupid, but it’s pay-to-play with a two thousand dollar payout for the winner. Underwear and ridiculousness aside, Julia needs the money.
There’s only one problem – a very cute classmate that Julia only noticed when he joined the game, too. Alex Winston is fast, handy enough to engineer his water gun into a far-reaching soaking machine, and bound and determined to win.
He’s also funny, sweet, the only guy who’s ever really listened to her, an amazing kisser...and the only thing standing between Julia and the cash she needs to get out of town for the summer.
Julia is in serious trouble.
Friends…If you haven’t read one of Leighann Kopans’ books yet, you don’t know what you are missing. I loved her One Universe series and while contemporary isn’t always my thing, I find that Kopans puts a twist into every one of her books that makes them stand out from all the other YA Contemporary books out there and You’re It immediately had my attention because aside from the normal character driven story that revolves around home and high school life, this book includes something called Senior Tag.
First the characters. Julia is fantastic. I have to admit, as a companion to Solving for Ex, I had no recollection of her from that book but once her brother (Brendan) and his girlfriend (Ashley) were mentioned, I started to remember the storyline. I loved that we got to see these two again but also see them from Julia’s point of view. Getting back to Julia…I loved her. She is smart but she doesn’t really know what she wants to do with her life after graduation. To say her family life leaves a bit to be desired would probably be an understatement. Her dad is hardly ever home, her brother is at school, and her mom continues to have her issues so when Julia finally realizes the thing she needs to do is get away and experience something completely different, she immediately asks her dad to help her out thinking it is pretty much a done deal. Unfortunately, Julia’s father still looks at her as an irresponsible little kid and decides he won’t pay for the trip but Julia is motivated to make it happen. Lucky for Julia she has one more option – her best friend told her about Senior Tag and now Julia decides she is going to play…and she is going to win the money so she can go on her trip.
The other character I’ll mention is Alex Winston. Alex is planning on going away to school next year and has worked hard both in school and for his step-dad’s company to make sure he has both the grades and the money to get where he wants to go. When something happens that could unravel his plans, Alex makes the decision to join Senior Tag so that he can win the money and pay for his room and board without causing his mother and stepfather more worry than they already have. I loved how much he cared about those around him and did whatever he could to help just about everyone. Now that Alex has joined the game and is hanging out with some of the popular boys in school, Julia has noticed him and they are both a bit distracted by each other.
I loved seeing the relationship develop between these two. There are ups and downs and secrets kept and revealed but the development of the friendship and eventually more, was fantastic. As they both try to figure out what’s more important to them – the money or their relationship – they both learn more about themselves.
So…you are probably wondering what Senior Tag is. I admit, when I found out that this is really a thing in the town that Kopans lives in, I was amazed. It is essentially a water gun fight…with rules. I don’t think I would have the guts to wander around town in my underwear and that’s essentially what these kids have to do…or they lose. If they are caught by an opponent in their clothes in an open game area, they can be shot with a water gun and are out of the game. I loved how much thought both Julia and Alex put into the game and how to win. Even as the game became a boys against girls agenda, it was still very entertaining. At least until the miscommunication which leads to the showdown between Alex and Julia.
So…that’s all I’m going to tell you about this one….other than go read it! If you are looking for a YA with solid characters, a fantastic story, and a fun twist to a storyline, definitely consider this book. I loved the companion books to You’re It as well and would definitely recommend them to any YA fan. You don’t have to read all to know what is going on but you should…just because they are all so good!
Thank you to the author for the review copy!