‘Girl at Heart’ by Kelly Oram is a sweet, entertaining, easy read that any lover of YA romance will adore. Charlie Hastings, the main character, is the only girl on her high school’s baseball team. Her dad, a former baseball player himself, is the only parent in her life since her mother died when she was six, and her best friends are all guys, so she doesn’t know much about being a girl. When she decides she wants to learn how to embrace that part of herself, her whole being is called into question, especially by her best guy friend, Eric, on whom she is harboring a crush.
The unpredictability of the story was refreshing, as it wasn’t abundantly clear how the relationships would pan out. While feeling out of place when her best friends react poorly to the idea of her even considering attending the prom, it hurts her. She can’t understand why the mere thought of her in a dress would be so horrible to them. It hurts even more when Eric asks someone else to prom. All of these things together are enough for her to question who she is, and in doing so, she decides that maybe the team isn’t for her. Yet, she finds a keen sense of understanding in her team captain, Jace, who has been harboring his own crush on Charlie for years. Jace is the stuff book boyfriends are made of – sweet, intelligent, and extremely attractive.
When Charlie confides in Jace about how she feels about always being seen as only the tomboy, he helps her find herself. When he brings his twin sister Leila into the mix, Charlie finds out just how much fun being a girl can be. This makes her friends – especially Eric – upset that she’s changing, but she finds the process cathartic. Needing a push in a different direction is just what Charlie needed, and it satisfies her more than she ever thought possible.
‘Girl at Heart’ has a healthy mix of emotion, from pained to lovestruck, and it encapsulates so much of what people nowadays wish for but don’t necessarily get. Everyone longs for something. This hope is what makes us human. If we would just reach out and try to take it, like Charlie does in this book, maybe we’d all be a little bit happier. If Charlie had only listened to her friends, she might never have found a part of herself that allowed her to learn and grow and gain new perspective. May everyone have such good fortune! A must read!
You can find ‘Girl at Heart’ by Kelly Oram here.
*Review originally posted at YABooksCentral.com*