Things Jolie Needs to Do Before She Bites It, Kerry Winfrey. Feiwel Friends. ISBN: 9781250119544.
Book published July 10, 2018
Jolie’s a lot of things, but she knows that pretty isn’t one of them. She has mandibular prognathism, which is the medical term for underbite. Chewing is a pain, headaches are a common occurrence, and she’s never been kissed. She’s months out from having a procedure to correct her underbite, and she cannot wait to be fixed.
While her family watches worst-case scenario TV shows, Jolie becomes paralyzed with the fear that she could die under the knife. She and her best friends Evelyn and Derek decide to make a Things Jolie Needs To Do Before She Bites It (Which Is Super Unlikely But Still, It Could Happen) list. Things like: eat every appetizer on the Applebee’s menu and kiss her crush, Noah Reed. Their plan helps Jolie discover what beauty truly means to her.
**Big thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the digital ARC!
I requested this book from Netgalley when I was in the middle of my contemporary fiction kick, so when I picked it up yesterday I wasn’t sure how I was going to like it since my mood has shifted more toward fantasy. But I really liked Things Jolie Needs to Do Before She Bites It! It is a heartwarming story about a girl who, like most girls, feels like one physical feature makes them less beautiful than they really are. It is a story about friendship, family, venturing outside your comfort zone, and realizing that life doesn’t always go as planned.
Some of the weirder things I loved:
- Peter: Who is this kid?? First he was annoying, then he was funny, then he was annoyingly funny? He is one of the more secondary characters but he made such a lasting impression on me for just showing up at the most random of times and being very unpredictable.
- Worst-case-scenario TV: YES! A million times yes! I love the shows about crime, medical mishaps, and other scary-yet-true stories. I love that this was included in such a funny and positive way.
- Jolie and Noah Reed: This is so high school and cringey in the best ways possible. Jolie freaking out over kissing Noah was funny and endearing, especially when Peter got involved.
In addition to these random things I loved in the book, I found the message about body image and self-esteem to be really important and ultimately uplifting. Studies have shown that by age 17, 78% of girls feel unhappy with their bodies. This book with its 16-year-old main character who struggles with her underbite is so relatable to these girls, underbite or no underbite.
I also liked the family and friendship aspects. Jolie’s family is loving, weird, and supportive, much like her friends. They provide great support systems as she gets closer to the date of her surgery and as she develops character-wise.
I gave the book 4 stars instead of 5 because I felt that the plot moved a bit slowly and some of the thought points were repeated too much, making the tone a bit childish at times. The plot revolves around Jolie’s upcoming surgery and accomplishing the list she made in case, worst-case-scenario, she dies on the operating table. A lot of things happen, but it just seems to crawl along and repeat itself in some places.
Overall, I really likes the message this book developed. It, and the characters, were believable and relatable, making for a touching and funny story.