This book had so many promising points that it completely fulfilled – a feud between two girls for the same boy, learning to understand others who may be dealing with more than you could ever know, and Rube Goldberg machines.
Yes, that was a major part of this book that made me incredibly excited to read it. As someone who has spent countless hours over the years watching videos of Rube Goldberg machines online, I was so thrilled to see a book that features them as a part of the story.
If you aren’t familiar with these machines, they are these overly complicated set-ups that you go through to finish a simple task. I’m sure you remember in older cartoons how a ball would go through a series of incredibly detailed and complicated moves in order to reach a specific goal (like popping a balloon). Well they are absolutely fascinating, and completely mesmerizing. If you haven’t seen one of these nifty machines in action, head on over to YouTube and search for some. I’m sure you’ll spend hours watching them.
Aside from that, If you want to read an absolutely powerful and moving story about the lines that separate us and how we might view each other without knowing the other’s story, Just Another Girl by Elizabeth Eulberg is probably the most heart wrenching and compelling tale on this subject that I have ever come across to date.
“It’s hard to keep a secret in a small town.”
Both Parker and Hope are keeping secrets from others – Hope’s secret is that she has been hopelessly in love with Brady, her best friend, for years now. The two of them have been close for years now, but Hope has never showed Brady that she feels anything more for him that just friendship – she fears that if he knows, it will change everything between them, and even worse: he won’t feel the same way.
“I loved Brady. Truly and deeply loved him. It wasn’t some silly schoolgirl crush. It was real.”
So the two of them spend their time together mostly at school, designing Rube Goldberg machines to enter in competitions with some other classmates who are also interested in working with them. In fact, there is an entire club at the school dedicated to designing them. In fact, they are about to take one of their newest (and still in construction) machines to a competition – where they will have the chance to be alone in a hotel during it. Hope is really depending on the competition to spend some alone time with Brady and hopefully make him see that he should choose her.
Although Hope considers herself a nice person, she is always behaving coolly toward Brady’s girlfriend, Parker. Parker is a sweet girl, yet she has secrets of her own that hardly anyone knows, including Hope. While Parker always tries to be friendly toward Hope, Hope is always under the impression that not only does Parker dislike her, but she enjoys flaunting her relationship with Brady in her face. This causes Hope to find herself hating Parker.
But Parker’s secret prevents her from ever really being happy. While Brady knows Parker’s secret, not many others do, aside from her close friends. Those secrets really formed who she is as a person, and although she has Brady, she really envies Hope, because Hope has something that she doesn’t. While Hope things Parker has everything she could ever want – looks, friends, and Brady, there’s a truth buried there that Parker tries her hardest to pretend doesn’t exist.
“I have such a depth to all my friends. But at the end of the day, I feel as if I owe much more to myself.
There is really only one person who can save me.
And that person is me.”
Strong and attempting to be independent, Parker is going through things that Hope would never believe. Which just goes to show that you can never really know what is going on with other people. The girl you might think is all that and your worst enemy might simply turn out to be just another girl after all.
Just Another Girl is told from two viewpoints: Hope and Parker. Both of the characters are strong and have a very deep personality, and I feel as though the author does a fantastic job writing them in a way that allows us to really get inside their minds and their hearts. While reading this book, I felt like I knew them both.
I really liked Parker’s character more, as Hope kind of came off as a bit whiny and spoiled. Her hatred for Parker was based on the fact that she had Brady and was more popular, which is shallow, of course, but yet realistic. Parker, on the other hand, might appear to be kind of shallow on the surface, but underneath all of that, she was troubled and dealing with more than anyone should have to. This really added a lot of depth to not only her character, but the whole novel.
The whole plot was well rounded and was perfectly done in order to show an important message: that we should never be quick to judge someone we really know nothing about, because they could have problems we could never even fathom. This is such a powerful message that is perfect not only for teens, but for adults as well.
This is the first book that I’ve read by Elizabeth Eulberg, but her talent of taking a story and weaving into something wonderfully important and relevant definitely makes me want to read more books that she’s written.