How to Be Bad (a novel)

How to Be Bad (a novel)

Summer before senior year should be more than just work, everyone says. So Jesse decides on a quick road trip with her best friend Vicks, and yeah, the new girl can go, too. Long miles and long days later, the three have more adventures than they planned on and make some memories they didn’t expect.

It’s just a road trip for three girls who work at Waffle House together – Jesse isn’t really trying to outrun the news from Mom’s cancer doctor. And Vicks needs to visit her boyfriend at college football camp (not calling her for two weeks – huh!). Even misplaced rich girl Mel wants to see huge Old Joe gator and Coral Castle and other unique sights featured in Fantastical Florida. Nine hours to Miami, nine hours back, an easy weekend drive, right?

Jesse does need some time away from Mom and all the dogs at their trailer for grooming and Mom’s boyfriend with the icee cart. They just can’t see how praying about Mom’s diagnosis would help, how going to church with Grandma would make them all feel better.

The little sister to a houseful of big brothers, Vicks loves sports and weird stuff like Old Joe, refuses to be a clingy girlfriend – still not cool that Brady won’t call her from the university after they’ve been dating for a year. She’ll just remind him how she’s different from all those athlete-worshippers he’ll meet in Miami.

Mel’s rich dad keeps moving their family around, so here they are in Niceville, another big house, another place to not fit in. A middle kid, she gets outvoted by her crazy younger brother and perfect older sister on everything. Having a chance to make some real friends - that would make paying for any road trip worthwhile.

A temperamental car, roadmaps gone wrong, detours and cute guys and crazy weather – each chapter is written from one girl’s viewpoint by one author, creating a triple look at a simple road trip that turned into so much more. Who knew that trying to be a little bad could turn out to be good after all?

Extras at the end of the book include the Bad Girls’ Playlist (music for a road trip), a Bad Girls’ quiz, and notes on how writing pals and popular young adult authors E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Myracle wrote How to Be Bad together when they lived far apart.

Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA - blogging young adult books beyond bestsellers at

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