Worthy is a cute little contemporary that shows what can happen when an app is developed and targets the girls at an ordinary high school, causing them to be rated by their peers as to whether or not they are “worthy” of the guy they are currently dating.
Linden and her best friend Nikki never really let people get to them – they were who they were and they were happy. Guys, popular girls, and other kids at their school didn’t have the chance to judge them or make them question their worth. Linden is an in between kind of girl – she isn’t popular, but she isn’t quite on the lowest of the social ranks at her school, either. Nikki is more on the popular side, and despite being a curvier girl than many of the other popular girls, pretty much has an assortment of friends, and she’s happy with who she is. She’s even dating Jake, one of the most popular guys at school, even though Linden seems to think that maybe Jake isn’t good for her, because Nikki seems to act like someone else whenever he’s around.
One day, Linden downloads an app called Worthy. The app chooses a random couple and posts a picture, with the caption of “Is she worthy?” along with two buttons: a heart to vote for yes, and an X to vote for no.
At first, Linden doesn’t want to get caught up in this, but after a while, she finds herself voting along with the rest of her class, watching as her female classmates’ self-esteem plummets as they begin seeing what others think of them. Even though it’s anonymous, Linden can’t help but feel bad, especially when Nikki gets chosen to be featured on the app.
Meanwhile, a relationship is slowly forming between Linden and baseball star Alex. The two of them start to get closer, sharing a first date, and then a first kiss, as well as family dinners and the small things that others don’t know about them that makes them tick. Linden is also trying to bring some publicity for the upcoming prom by being the publicity director for social media.
When Linden and Alex’s picture pops up on Worthy, Linden isn’t sure how to handle it. When Alex decides he wants no part of the destructive app, Linden gets upset – after all, she’s reading some of the comments others are posting, and she is genuinely hurt by what her classmates have to say. Even though Linden doesn’t like to think that she lets social media and other people run her life, she finds herself letting the comments and voting get to her. She wishes she could be more like Nikki, who doesn’t let these types of things change who she is or what she feels about herself.
Worthy is a relevant book for today’s teens (and adults, too), as so many of them suffer from social media addiction and allow themselves to be judged by others on social media. It definitely hits home in many areas, such as how we allow ourselves to be judged online and how we react to that type of judgement. Since teenagers today live in a world where they are surrounded by social media and smartphones, I think this book is an incredibly important read to remind them to keep in touch with who they are, and not what others might think.
While I really enjoyed this book and managed to read through it in a short time, I felt like maybe it could have been a little bit longer so that we got to know Linden’s character a little bit better. She kind of seemed like a typical YA contemporary character to be honest – although she did have a few things about her that I thought were pretty awesome, such as her desire to write and a good portion of the book talking about how she wrote stories. She even planned on writing one to win a scholarship to a writing workshop for teenagers. She also worked in a library, and mentioned her love of books a lot throughout the novel.
Nikki’s character seemed to have a lot more personality than Linden’s however, and I honestly loved how she stayed true to herself no matter what.
The family aspect of the book is interesting, for both Linden and Alex. Alex’s family is busy planning an elaborate quinceañera for Alex’s sister, and you can tell the family has a really tight bond, which I thought was amazing. Linden’s mom quit her job as a teacher to take up her lifelong dream of being a firefighter, and I loved how her parents made it work, even though her mom was away a lot. That really stuck out, because so many YA books have family drama, but there wasn’t any of that here. It was a nice change.
The relationship between Alex and Linden feels kind of forced, which was a bummer. I was more or less hoping it would feel like one of those romances that you find yourself really hoping that the couple makes it, but unfortunately I didn’t care much either way. I also didn’t think there was enough emphasis on the actual Worthy app for the first half of the book – it kind of mentioned it here and there, but I guess I expected the whole book to focus on it more than it did.
It was interesting to see who came up with the idea for the Worthy app in the book though – I definitely didn’t see that one coming. That was well done and definitely makes the book tie up nicely!