Magan: One Night that Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt

One Night that Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 242
Published: July 6, 2010
Target Audience: Young Adult
Format: Hardcover borrowed from the library.
How I heard about it: It was on the return cart at my library.

Summary: For five years, Eliza has documented all of her fears – things she’s afraid of doing or saying, but wishes she had the courage to do. Her purple notebook goes missing and she begins getting mysterious texts from her ex-boyfriend’s exclusive group of friends, the 318s, that require her to act on some of her fears. If she refuses, her notebook and everything she’s recorded will be published on the internet.

Things I loved about this book:

  • it’s fast paced and there’s never a dull moment
  • there’s lots of drama and a few details about why Cooper and Eliza broke up that I had to piece together
  • it made me think about my fears and what I’d have to act on if something like this happened to me

A few things I’d be nervous to do that Eliza is faced with – singing karaoke in front of a coffee shop full of people, telling one of her closest friends a secret that she’s kept for years, and walking up to a random boy in a club to ask him to dance. All of the things Eliza was forced to do really spoke to her character. She was someone who wasn’t popular and didn’t have a ton of self-confidence. I rooted for her because she was so much more that what she gave herself credit for. I saw how empowered Eliza would feel if she could make herself get past her nerves and conquer her fears.

BUT, don’t for one second think that I was okay with Eliza being blackmailed by all the 318s just because she’d realize how easy it was to do each task. I mean, how jerky could those guys get? I’ve read several books about mean girls who are terrible to other girls, but I’d never read a book about guys who were so cruel and demanding to a girl. Cooper, the ex-boyfriend, was someone I wanted to trust so badly, but I questioned his involvement with the 318s. There were times I wanted to scream at the pages he still LOVES you, Eliza! Give him a chance! and others where I felt like saying No! Don’t do it! Don’t trust him again!

You should definitely pick up this book if you’re looking for a quick and entertaining read. It was fun for me to put myself in Eliza’s shoes. A few of my fears I wouldn’t want to come face to face with…

  • giving a speech in front of a packed room full of people
  • confronting some of the mean girls I had to deal with in high school

If you kept a notebook of fears, what would you write in it?

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