The stirring novel Smash It! by Francina Simone follows teenager Olivia James as she attempts to turn her year from predictable to exciting. Olivia notices that she has a tendency to give up on her aspirations, as well as, blend in with the crowd. She decides to write down what she wants to accomplish and follows through. Of course, alone she doesn’t realize her goals; her friends, new and old, push her to see it through. Unfortunately, Olivia loses sight of this as her relationships become more complicated and must recognize how she has wronged those around her, including herself.
This story does an excellent job of portraying how complicated life and relationships can be when someone is young and trying to come to terms with their identity. The plot was clear as it was evident that the story was leading up to the school play. Elements like the unique characters, dialogue, and youthful style worked well. Despite this, some comments about how being friends with women is more difficult than being friends with men and other jokes did rub me the wrong way.
Looking past that, I would recommend this book to other teenage girls looking to learn to love themselves because it teaches that self love should always come first. – Lynda O