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Things Jolie Needs to Do Before She Bites It

Review

Things Jolie Needs to Do Before She Bites It

Jolie Peterson has been reasonably happy for most of her life. She has a loving and supportive family, reliable grades in school, and some great best friends. However, she’s never felt perfect. She has a mandibular prognathism, another way of saying an underbite. Jolie’s never felt as pretty as her older sister Abbi or even pretty enough to participate in things like speeches in front of her class. She gets regular headaches, chewing is a painful issue and she still dreams of a first kiss.

"THINGS JOLIE NEEDS TO DO BEFORE SHE BITES IT followed a very clear and delightful path. The story was laid out very smoothly and I got to know the characters in a special way."

Two months away from the final surgery where Jolie hopes to be “fixed” with her underbite, something noticeable enters her mind. After watching worst-case scenario television and a few minutes on Google, Joli develops a fear that she could die on the table. Feeling an urge to get some things done in the unlikely event that she will die (again, very unlikely, but still), she enlists the help of her two longtime best friends, Derek and Evelyn. They come up with a list of “Things Jolie Needs to Do Before She Bites It (Which Is Super Unlikely, but Still, It Could Happen).” On it are about 10 or so things that Jolie wishes to do before she dies, and she doesn’t want to wait for after the surgery. This includes kissing the very popular Noah Reed (whom Jolie has had a crush on since his bright eyes met hers). As the surgery gets closer the list begins to unfold, in some ways that weren’t planned. Jolie begins to question what the surgery really means to her, and how important it is to have value in her individuality. Guided by her friends and family, THINGS JOLIE NEEDS TO DO BEFORE SHE BITES IT really is a story about taking chances and following your heart, even when it’s not what you expected.

THINGS JOLIE NEEDS TO DO BEFORE SHE BITES IT followed a very clear and delightful path. The story was laid out very smoothly and I got to know the characters in a special way. One of my favorite parts of the story was how the author chose to incorporate Jolie’s friends in her life. When I read other young adult novels the protagonist often has a best friend or a close group. In this book, Jolie had two close friends that chose to comfort her and guide her in different ways. Derek was the supportive and familiar friend she’s known since kindergarten. Evelyn was her feisty girlfriend who Jolie could share laughs with and get compelling advice from.

As I said earlier, the story did follow a clear plotline. One critique that I could give to this area is how many parts, or the whole book, were a bit cliché. The foreshadowing or hints are things I’ve heard before and I found the ending exactly how I expected. In some ways, it was comforting for a story to follow what you’d expect. I found it ironic how the book followed a very clear path but the story with Jolie’s list didn’t go as planned for her.

Overall, the book was fun and light. It would be great for a vacation away or an easy car ride. It was simple enough to pick up and leave for a while, so a reader wouldn’t have to worry about following if they had something like school or another book in the way. The author gave me a fun book filled with heart, and an interesting take on today’s standards of “pretty” with self-confidence. It was a feel-good story, and after finishing it I was left with a genuine smile.

Reviewed by Lillian B., Teen Board Member on July 10, 2018

Things Jolie Needs to Do Before She Bites It
by Kerry Winfrey