Andrea Anderson (Andi) has to compete with her perfect sister Laina not only for her parents' attention, but for the affections of Jarod, who also happens to be Laina's best friend. So Andi sets in motion a twelve step plan to get her life back on track. When she finds out that Laina has a crush on Shane, who's going out with Laina's ex-best friend Rachel, Andi hatches a plan to set Laina up with him so that she can have Jarod for herself.
Along the way, Andi discovers that Laina is not as perfect as she thought; she's got problems of her own. What's with the sabotaging behavior of Laina's so-called best friend Kendra? And what dark secret is Laina hiding from Andi? Andi also realizes that Laina's not the only one getting attention from boys; she herself has no shortage of admirers, especially the ever-present Dave. Even Jarod seems to be ambivalent about the two sisters. Who will he choose? And will he be too late? Maybe love is right under our noses the whole time; we just have to stop looking in the wrong direction.
"Twelve Steps" is a great clean read for teens. Even the swearing is cute, for example, "Oh. My. Gobstopper!" The story is fast-paced and written in a great natural style from the point-of-view of sixteen-year-old Andi. The real life action is cleverly mirrored in the stage production of Cinderella, starring Jarod as Prince Charming and Andi as one of the step-sisters. Andi's humor prevents her from becoming an unlikeable character, and, thankfully, her shallow and selfish attitude turns around and she finally starts thinking about others instead of just herself. In addition, the author subtly hints, through snippets of conversation, that all may not be as it seems, and that Andi's perceptions of reality may be clouded by her own emotions. This would make a great movie!
I received this book in return for an honest review.