Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The Girl Least Likely, by Katy Loutzenhiser

Harper Audio, ISBN 9780063077744, June 2021

"Voice galley," read by a synthetic voice, not whoever is the eventual narrator. The sound of the voice is pretty good, but intonation, emphasis, pronunciation are not always consistent. The real narrator will undoubtedly be much better.

Gretchen is a high school junior in Portland, Maine, the youngest of three siblings, and a generally quiet, somewhat withdrawn girl. She doesn't call attention to herself. She has only a few close friends, and not a large number of friendly acquaintances. She's a member of the yearbook club mainly because an extracurricular activity is required, and in her freshman and sophomore years, there were enough members that she as able to do only tasks that didn't require much interaction with anyone not a member of the yearbook club.

Becoming a standup comic is something that never crossed her mind.

This year, there are only four members of the yearbook club, and so she has to be actively involved with people. Her sister and her cousin convince her to go to a bar with them, with a fake ID originally created for her cousin's ex-girlfriend, and due to a series of events that don't quite make sense to her, she winds up doing a standup act in what she doesn't at first realize is a competition--and placing well enough that she's expected to return next week.


It's not long before she is living a double life, and her standup comic alter ego is bleeding over into her "real" life. Her friends in the bar/comic world think she's of legal age, and a far more outgoing person than she has ever been, in addition to thinking she has a different name. But she's also using some of her "standup comic" personality to help her do the more challenging tasks she's stuck with in the yearbook club, asking questions of people involved in the various other school activities.

And her new best friend is the guy who's the photographer for the yearbook club, while her longtime best male friend whom she has a crush now, is suddenly more distant, and spending time with girls Gretchen knows she can't compete with.

She can't keep all these balls in the air forever, and things must inevitably come crashing down.

It's a lot of fun, and genuinely funny.

I received a free electronic "voice galley" of this audiobook from the publisher via NetGalley, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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