Not every book has to be a masterpiece.
Not every story has to be an opus.
Sometimes, fun is simply fun.
That’s the premise behind ‘Grade A Stupid’ by A.J. Lape.
The central heroine is Darcy Walker, a 15-year-old that is
wise beyond her years – and yet still manages to struggle in school. Most
everyone around her realizes that Darcy is actually too smart for her own good –
and she’s actually bored. Darcy, though, has self-esteem issues and just chalks
it up to being slow.
Darcy’s father, who she is on a first name basis with, seems
to encourage his daughter and be frustrated by her at the same time. Murphy
sees Darcy for what she is – but that doesn’t stop her from driving him to
Darcy’s school life is plagued by bully girls, no
self-awareness, and a circle of friends that is mainly made up of guys.
You see, Darcy is beautiful and hot – but she doesn’t seem
to realize it. Everyone else in the school does, and that’s one of my main
problems with the book.
While I love the story and I love Darcy as a heroine, I don’t
think it’s necessary for every single male in the book to stumble over
themselves because she’s just so wonderful. It doesn’t ring true.
My other quibble with the story – and it’s the one thing
that kept me from giving this book a perfect score – is the dialogue between
Darcy and her best friend Dylan.
You see, Darcy and Dylan have best friends forever. Dylan is
the hottest guy in school and every girl wants him – which means practically
every girl hates Darcy and wants to take Dylan from her.
On the flip side, every guy in school likes Darcy and that
makes Dylan jealous which causes him to lash out like he’s a wife-beater in
You see the problem? When
you compound that with the way the two talk to each other – constantly telling
each other that they love each other in a corny way – you stumble across the
only real flaw in the story.
I get that this is written for teenage girls and they like
to romanticize things – but the dialogue between Darcy and Dylan isn’t even
remotely believable. Neither is the way the interact with one another.
I know a lot of teenage girls wish boys would fall over them
like the boys in this book do over Darcy – but that’s pretty much science
As an author, Lape paints delightful characters that are
easy to relate to. All she needs to do is tone down the corny dialogue.
There are a few grammar issues -- but they're relatively minor.
The mystery at the center of the book is actually quite
solid. As a reader, you have to suspend disbelief that Darcy manages to learn
the things she does and get involved in the scenarios she does.
This is young adult fiction. You have to just let certain
things go. I wouldn’t have loved movies like ‘The Goonies’ and ‘Gleaming the
Cube’ as a kid if I wasn’t able to suspend my disbelief. That’s what you have
to do with ‘Grade A Stupid.’
I think the true mark of a good book – especially if it’s in
a series – is if you want to read the sequel right away. Just FYI, I finished ‘Grade
A Stupid’ at 2 a.m. last night and immediately downloaded and started reading
This is definitely worth the read if you like to laugh
and you don’t mind stories that aren’t
grounded in too much reality – which is just the way I like my fiction.
‘Grade A Stupid’ is available for .99
on Kindle and $9.13