By Ekta R. Garg
July 5, 2017
Genre: YA fiction
Rated: Bookmark it! / 4 stars
When a shy high school senior accidentally switches phones with a football star, she gets more than a week-long text exchange. The teen finds out she can be funny and outgoing and all the things she imagined only other girls embodied. As she finds out, however, people can only reveal the truth about themselves when they’re actually face to face. Wattpad author Lindsey Summers shares this sweet story with readers in her first novel, Textrovert.
Keeley Brewer knows one thing for sure: her twin brother, Zach, is way more popular than she is. And why wouldn’t he be? As a bona fide football star, the entire student body of Edgewood High is counting on Zach to take them all the way to victory at the state finals. Although she’d never really say it to his face, Keeley just doesn’t get what the big deal is with football. She’d much rather hang out with her best friend, Nicky, anyway.
The girls make a plan to visit the fair at the end of the summer as a sort of last bash before senior year starts, and Keeley could definitely use a night out. Despite her assertion at the beginning of vacation that she’d get all of her AP homework done, she hasn’t even cracked a book yet. Maybe a trip to the fair will help her with all the stress. Unfortunately going to the fair only makes the stress worse when Keeley accidentally leaves her phone on a food table. She rushes back to find it sitting there, only to realize much later that the phone she picked up isn’t hers.
Somehow she managed to switch phones with a boy named Talon. The two begin texting back and forth, and while Keeley would do anything to get her phone back ASAP Talon says he’s off to football camp for a week. After some banter, he agrees to contact Keeley any time she has a text or voicemail.
It may have started off as a simple message exchange system, but soon enough Keeley finds herself talking to Talon about all sorts of things. With him, behind the safety of the cell phone screen, she acts like a different person. She isn’t the introverted girl who lives in her brother’s shadow. She’s funny and flirty and can come up with some great one-liners to dish it right back to Talon.
Talon finally gets back into town, and the two agree to meet and exchange phones. Before Keeley knows it, though, their meeting leads to a disaster of identity. Talon has been hiding something about himself. When she finds out what it is, Keeley will have to decide whether she can keep talking to this guy who she’s been falling for one text at a time.
In her first novel, author Lindsey Summers offers the YA set something to balance other books in the genre: a sweetness that feels more authentic than much of the dystopian or heavy-handed fare available. Readers expecting a life-altering experience, such as in The Hunger Games, will find Textrovert all the way on the other end of the spectrum, and that’s a good thing. As much as target market readers need books to ground them in the grim reality of the world, they also need stories that reflect their most common experiences.
Some of the plotting feels a little rushed. Keeley’s brother, Zach, accepts what he perceives as her flaking out on him early in the book without questioning her on it even once. They may be twins, but often they don’t act within the cultural parameters expected of twin siblings. Summers may have taken this approach intentionally; readers might think it’s an oversight.
Still, Summers manages to offer teens issues they can identify with: cyber bullying; the uncertainty that comes with a first love; and feeling out of place even among one’s friends and family. All of these topics surface in the book in a manner accessible and solvable. Some readers might wonder if the problems discussed come across as too simplistic. Others may appreciate the lack of the heavy-handed approach that often accompanies YA novels.
I recommend readers Bookmark Textrovert.