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Well, That Was Awkward

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Gracie has never felt like this before. One day, she suddenly can't breathe, can't walk, can't anything and the reason is standing right there in front of her, all tall and weirdly good-looking: A.J.
It turns out A.J. likes not Gracie but Gracie's beautiful best friend, Sienna. Obviously Gracie is happy for Sienna. Super happy! She helps Sienna compose the best texts, responding to A.J. s surprisingly funny and appealing texts, just as if she were Sienna. Because Gracie is fine. Always! She's had lots of practice being the sidekick, second-best.
It s all good. Well, almost all. She's trying.

314 pages, Hardcover

First published February 28, 2017

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About the author

Rachel Vail

62 books418 followers
I was born on July 25, 1966, in NEW YORK CITY, and grew up in New Rochelle, NY, with my mother, my father, and my younger brother Jon. (And down the street from my future husband, though of course I didn't know that until much later.)

Some details, I do know-I was very into reading and theater, so I read every book I could get my hands on (especially realistic fiction, either contemporary or historical) and took acting workshops and auditioned for every play in school, camp, or the community. I played Peter Pan, Miss Hannigan in Annie, Benny Southstreet in Guys and Dolls, the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, and lots of extremely memorable chorus parts-for instance, I was "girl number two" in Fiddler on the Roof-the one who said "We heard about your sister, Chava". I didn't care -I just wanted to be on stage. Waiting backstage before curtain call, after giving my all in a performance, was the best feeling I knew. In seventh grade I started taking magic lessons, and by eighth grade I was making all my own spending money by performing at kids' birthday parties as a clown named Tallulah. I liked the freedom of wearing all that grease-paint-I could be as wacky and un-cool as I wanted. I tried dance but felt so clumsy. I faked a sprained ankle to get out of the recital. I took voice lessons which made me a little light-headed (and I was afraid of the voice teacher's growling, drooling Doberman) and both saxophone and piano, neither of which I ever practiced. I did well in school but started a lot of my work at the last minute, in a crazy mad dash, so that it was never late but there were usually careless errors or areas I had to fudge. I had this idea that to work hard at something was sort of a negative, an admission that I didn't have natural talent. If I wasn't going to be Mozart and have the music (or dance, or math, or social studies term paper, or whatever) channeled through me from God, then I was just embarrassing myself by all that workmanlike effort. I didn't get over that idea until after college, by the way.

Career Ambitions

I never really planned to be a writer. I planned to be a financial wizard after learning about option-spreading at age 10, then a poet after discovering Shakespeare at 11. After overhearing "the real power is held by the lobbyists" on a class trip to Albany, I planned to become a lobbyist. Secretly, of course I always imagined myself as an actress, but that didn't seem hard or important enough, and also I worried I wasn't naturally gifted enough.

My parents were always great. I liked to make them proud, and they trusted me and supported my efforts and interests, which was sometimes weirdly tough. There was so little for me to rebel against.

As a Kid
When people ask me what I was as a kid, I always feel like my answer is at best incomplete.What are you like, as a kid? I'm still trying to figure out what I'm like as an adult.

Well, things went in waves. Sometimes I felt very "in", very aware of and tied in to the whole scene, excited by who liked whom, all the gossip, some of it less than kind. Other times I felt so alone-like there was nobody like me, nobody who liked me, nobody to talk to. And much of the time it was somewhere in between. A best friend when I was lucky, and a few people in each crowd I liked and who liked me. I resisted being classified as a brain or a jock or alternative or popular-too limiting. I would have to shut down too many parts of myself to be just one type.

I went through a very intense stage in middle school (Junior High). I worried about being too ordinary. I also worried about being too weird. I also worried about changing states of matter, my inability to be morally certain, ignorance (my own and world-wide), and making a fool of myself.


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5 stars
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992 (39%)
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556 (22%)
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136 (5%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 515 reviews
Profile Image for Meg Cabot.
Author 289 books33.6k followers
April 13, 2017
Loved this book. Rachel Vail's characters, adults and children alike, never fail to come alive on the page. And the tiny little age-appropriate romance made me so happy!
Profile Image for Nomes.
384 reviews376 followers
January 21, 2019
Well, That Was Awesome!

Hello, new favourite book :)

Well, That Was Awkward is one brilliantly funny, very clever, unputdownable, grin-worthy absolute blast of a book. Oh my gosh, I loved it so.

Well, That Was Awkward is a charming loose retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac ~ always a fun premise to remake for teens of today ~ who are texting and emoji-ing all over the place. It's a real feel-good story with delicious puns, quick witted humour, a tortoise (and a rabbit), a suddenly cute boy, best friends, epic inside jokes (Never. Gonna. Happen.), and the perfect amount of depth to flesh out all the characters. The characters are in grade 8 and they are perfectly awesome. Oh, and the parents were also complete classics! I love when parents are just as funny and original as the teen characters (shout out to all you awesome parents out there! Haha).

True to the title, there were many hilariously awkward moments, so this should be your next read when you're in the mood for some LOLs (haha). I seriously loved this ~ it's a perfect blend of some of my fave things in fiction: light-hearted fun with the perfect amount of angst, awkward shenanigans, characters who are my people, and a plot which builds in anticipation to a sweet. sweet climax and charming and cool resolution.

Note: this is a perfect one for all the MG readers out there, as well as YA readers - and adults who love to smile and reminisce about those awkward early teen years, haha.
Profile Image for Vikki VanSickle.
Author 12 books200 followers
July 25, 2016
What a delightful reading experience this was! The voice is pitch-perfect, as are the ever-shifting loyalties and relationships of the characters. Vail is skilled at mining the adolescent experience in a cringe-worthy, aw-honey kind of way, but never, ever talks down to her audience. The NYC setting, cast of characters and relationships made me think of Goodbye Stranger, but with a heavier dose of comedy. Like Stead, Vail showcases city kids who aren't the children of upper crust Manhattan society. There is a touch of Cyrano de Bergerac here, but the reader doesn't need to be familiar with the reference to enjoy the story. Will definitely be on my top of 2017 lists
381 reviews1 follower
July 15, 2017
Omg omg omg omg that was the cutest book I have ever read in such a long time. It was so freaking cute. I'm actually speechless. I want more. I wish the book didn't end as quickly as it did. I wish there was a second book!!!! I usually don't read middle school books because I'm so much older but I really enjoyed this one because it reminded me of the awkwardness and weirdness of middle school. It reminded me of all the problems in middle school and all the drama. It was so realistic, like all the stuff in this book actually happened in my middle school. I loved how gracie and emmet were texting for their best friends the whole time and they actually ended up liking each other. They originally were friends and liked other people but they ended up together and it was the best combination ever. I didn't like how the book just ended with her being shook like I want to see them go on dates it's no fair. And I was so cheesed when sienna wanted to make more friends like people always take best friends for granted it's so dumb. I highly recommend this book to remind you about your middle school experience. And Riley the mean girl was on my nerves I was so happy when sienna finally stood up to her. And the whole addition with Gracie having a dead sister and family issues and trying to solve the family issues was a super interesting add on.
Profile Image for Olivia S.
9 reviews2 followers
March 13, 2019
I think that a possible theme could be to support others even if it means that you won't get what you want. This book shows how hard middle school can be, and how much drama takes place. Also, even though Sienna and Gracie are good friends, Sienna gets the guy that Gracie likes but Gracie still helps Sienna out. Even though Gracie is going through a lot, she tries to act like she isn't.
Profile Image for Heidi.
756 reviews175 followers
February 21, 2019
Well, that was adorable. Funny, so relatable, and heartwarming. I can't wait to give this to some of my middle schoolers. I want to see more of these characters!
Profile Image for aya ༊*·˚.
16 reviews3 followers
March 24, 2023
This book did a good job at REALISTICALLY showing the struggles of bring in middle school which I feel like is hard to find in a book. Quick read. I enjoyed it 😋✨
Profile Image for Destinee.
1,586 reviews142 followers
September 6, 2017
I do so enjoy a smart love story. This ranks right up there with my faves. It's lighter than Eleanor & Park, but just as swoony. It's as sweet and funny as Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, but unlike with Simon, there's really no surprise as to who Gracie is meant to fall in love with. And that's okay. Gracie's clever, somewhat manic internal monologue is endearing and pulled me through the story even though I knew pretty much all along what the payoff would be.

This is a feel-good story with humor, great writing, lots of heart, and compelling characters. Win.
Profile Image for Vanessa.
689 reviews6 followers
July 30, 2018
Rachel Vail writes some good characters! This could have been a cute, Cyrano de Bergerac type middle grade romance, and it would have still been good! But Vail added a layer of depth: Gracie and her parents are still dealing with the unexpected death of a child, years before Gracie was born. This adds interesting interactions between Gracie and her parents, as well as Gracie and her peers. The story arc was somewhat predictable, but that didn’t make this any less of a sweet, enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Abby :).
3 reviews
October 14, 2022
It’s that time of year..
Back to school. I walked over to the shelfs and pretended like I was going to get a book, solely to make my teacher happy. Until something caught my eye, it had a cute cover and an interesting title. So I picked it up, not expecting much. Little did I know how much I would like it.

Well, that was awkward, it was written by Rachel Vail. This is a story about a girl named Gracie, and her three friends and they go through a LOT together. Sadly her parents are very over protective and it’s all because of one big incident.

I really loved the tone and style of this book. I would have rated this 5 stars but it got bumped down to 4. It was only a four because the beginning felt too slow. But my advice is to just stick with it because it got a lot better. This book can be suspenseful, serious and funny all at the same time. But some of the chapters unfortunately felt long even if they were fairly short. Each chapter is more exciting than the last one, but if I had to choose one it would definitely be when they were at the party! This story brings you on a rollercoaster of emotions, and demands you to lose sleep because of it. I think that's what makes Well, that was awkward so special to me. This is a page turning/ hilarious/ drama filled book so if you enjoy any of those things you should really take this book into consideration when deciding a new novel. This book is a realistic fiction story that also has a very interesting
and creative storyline.

That said this was a great book and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a good read.

Profile Image for Kathleen.
328 reviews11 followers
March 8, 2022
I enjoyed this middle grade book that tackled grief and awkward middle grade dynamics/relationships, all while semi-retelling one of my favorite plays: cyrano de bergerac. It was probably more of a 4 star read but needed some editing (the ages of the narrator’s sister never aligned with the anniversary of her passing - and it was mentioned a lot) and the audiobook narrator mispronounced some words that threw me off 😅 probably all petty complaints. Still a good read.
255 reviews10 followers
July 13, 2018
Sweet junior high story about friends, friendship, pre-dating, bullying, belonging, family, and loss. Vail is quite the wordsmith, and she is adept at teen-talk, including texting between characters. Think of this as at the early end of Jennifer E. Smith books--same audience, just months before. Now I need to read Unfriended!
Profile Image for Maddie.
19 reviews3 followers
November 8, 2021
I absolutely love this book! Rachel Vail smoothly blends Gracie's average teenager anxieties with a devastating loss. Gracie is so sweet and is very lucky to have friends like Sienna, AJ, and of course, Emmet!
Profile Image for Michele.
494 reviews10 followers
April 9, 2023
Wow, if this isn’t a middle schooler��s mind… At first I hated the pacing of this book. Then I started thinking about the conversations I have with my own child and it clicked. I’m recommending this to her next!
Profile Image for Amy.
844 reviews44 followers
Want to read
March 9, 2017
A portrayal of romantic life that’s appropriate for upper elementary readers narrated by a voicey, nerdy main character who is a little too quick-witted to be realistic.

Gracie likes AJ.
AJ likes Gracie’s best friend, Sienna.
Shy Sienna isn’t sure how to respond, so Gracie writes Sienna’s texts to AJ.

I appreciated that this book had a premise that was appropriate, realistic, and appealing to both elementary and middle school students -- first crushes, first kisses, puppy love, and a lot of awkward.

However, I found the message, packaging, and pacing to be a little bit off as compared to the plot. I found the premise appropriate for readers in grades 4 and up, while the voice, the nerdishness, the punning, the pacing, and the sense of humor is closer to the maturity of a YA. That is to say, I think a lot of young readers who could find this book appealing won’t, because it’s about 100 pages too long and the character seems too wise to be relatable.

I’d give this book to fans of books like Rebecca Stead’s Goodbye Stranger for a few reasons. Both have smart female characters who are witty, wise, and totally middle school. Both take place on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Reviewed from ARC.
Profile Image for Namratha.
1,072 reviews233 followers
April 3, 2021

Well, that was downright adorable.

And also intuitive, smart, funny and brimming with such a big BIG questioning heart.

Aimed at a younger audience than YA Lit, the middle-school characters are still viewing the world, relationships and their interactions with a certain degree of freshness, naivety and idealism. And yet, with a larger issue at hand, the book manages to tint fourteen year sunshine-girl protagonist Gracie with many interesting, painful and mature layers.

Yet another aspect of the book that I liked was that it was actively trying to convey a message of self-love (zits, big body, loud mouth, no filters and all). There was not much self-deprecation or long whining rants that seem to have become the mainstay of middle-school and YA Lit novels for a long, long time now.

Cute characters with a couple of cliches thrown in, the book still manages to surprise you, make you smile, tear up a wee bit and have a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Diane.
509 reviews8 followers
January 1, 2018
I love this book for middle school and up. Lighthearted but deals with some tougher topics in Gracie's life. I enjoyed reading it!
Profile Image for Isabella G.
4 reviews
October 26, 2017
I thought this book was very well written. It showed the real humor and struggles of the middle school experience. There were a lot of relatable moments and it showed its ok to feel. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves realistic fiction.
Profile Image for Jen Bojkov.
1,037 reviews14 followers
December 28, 2017
Yet another really good read from the 2018-2019 Lone Star list. This is #6 or 7 for me to read and so far, I have not been disappointed. I would call this one like John Green or Sarah Dessen for middle grade readers. It was sweet, funny, angsty, and ultimately hopeful. I really liked it.
Profile Image for Melissa Sarno.
Author 4 books59 followers
February 15, 2017
This book really surprised me with its depth. Not only is it a fun, romantic, funny, witty, read but also really poignant when it comes to the main character's relationship with her parents.
Profile Image for Kyla.
1,009 reviews14 followers
April 13, 2017
This was a pitch-perfect Middle School/MG read. Characters with depth and interests outside of the plot, a sweet romance, romantic entanglements without tons of physical stuff - lovely. Hard to do!
Profile Image for cam.
57 reviews
April 9, 2020
i read this almost a year ago and just realized i never put it on my goodreads... oops

Anyways, back to the actual review!

This book gives off similar vibes to Real Friends. The characters here are a bit older than the kids in Real Friends (Gracie and her friends are in 8th grade), but the book is still remains age-appropriate. I loved how Gracie's voice mirrored that of a real, modern-day young teen. She thinks and acts her age, and she's not the cliche "I'm not like other girls" who are essentially just really pretty tomboys and more often than not stray into Mary Sue territory. Gracie had her own insecurities, and the book explored her progress into being okay with who she was.

My only complaint was that the mean girl, Riley, was a bit of the typical pretty, popular bully. I get that she was there to cause conflict, but she seemed a bit one dimensional. And with every bully, there's always the one person who tries to defend them by saying "she's not that bad, she's just insecure." Yes, I understand that bullying usually stems from insecurity, but it always gets portrayed as an excuse for the bully to behave the way they do without bothering to correct it.

However, for a middle-grade novel, this was a very cute, easy read. Would definitely recommend picking up if you're looking for something more lighthearted!

Profile Image for Rustin Verret.
82 reviews1 follower
March 25, 2019
Gracie likes AJ. At least she thinks she does. The problem is that Riley also likes AJ. Meanwhile, AJ likes Gracie's best friend, Sienna. It's all a big awkward mess. Gracie, AJ, Sienna, and Emmet have always been best friends, but one day things change. AJ and Sienna start dating. Now with the whole support of the "Loud Crowd" behind them. Gracie has to figure out her feelings fast, or things will end in disaster. Does she like AJ and tries to hide her feelings from Sienna? Or does she like Emmet who she's known and supported for almost her whole life?

I thought this book was very well written and a delightful read to finish my spring break reading. I especially loved the characters and how well they were written. It. reminds of how well authors make their characters human, rather then their characters being robots without emotions. Another reason why I loved this book is that it was just a normal book about middle school life. It was nice to have a break from dystopian and fantasy. The reason why I gave this book 5 stars is that it was a perfect, little nice book with tons of situations that could potentially happen to anyone in middle school. Overall, it was a very cute book with tons of messages of what to do in awkward situations.

Next up: Everless by Sara Holland

Still reading: The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
Profile Image for Rummanah (Books in the Spotlight).
1,370 reviews15 followers
July 23, 2017
4.5 stars!

Well, That Was Awkwardof a diverse group of middle schoolers embarking on their journey to high school. Gracie Grant, a tall eighth grader who has a prominent nose and hails from New York City, takes the lead as our Cyrano figure. She is bubbly, plucky, and optimistic. Gracie's best friend, Sienna Reyes, needs help texting the boy who likes her, the handsome AJ Rojanasopondist. Though nursing a broken heart, Gracie puts aside her feelings and is completely there for her best friend. Text messages are sent and their meanings are flustered over. Despite having feelings for AJ, Gracie has no idea that someone is actually interested in her. The romance in this book is adorable as the characters try to find their own voices and personalities as they come to terms with their own shortcomings. It made me thankful that I will never have to relive those awkward moments ever again.
Along with a light, fun story line, Well, That Was Awkward also has depth with a subplot of Gracie confronting with the lost of her sister who died in a car accident before Gracie was born and Gracie's plight of always appearing to be happy and okay for her over-protective parents. This subplot weaves in and out throughout the story and doesn't overshadow the lighter moments. I actually think it enhances the story and gives Gracie a really nice character growth arc. I was really happy that the author prevents all of her characters from being one dimensional stereotypes though she does highlight the common cliques in middle school. I was also impressed that Gracie parents are
fully formed, not the typically clueless adults or worse absent parents who are featured in many books written for this audience. There is a nice twist in the Cyrano story that left me completely satisfied. Well, That Was Awkward is a perfect read for romance and realistic fiction fans of all ages and I highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Katherina.
343 reviews53 followers
February 18, 2018
My roommate walked in one night and said she was surprised I was up so late when I had class the next morning. I just groaned and said that this book was about middle schoolers and wasn't supposed to be so interesting! But this book was surprisingly captivating! I picked it up at the library to read while I waited for the book I actually wanted to come in. And it was just so adorable! It was sweet and funny and yes, even relatable! It made me glad to be past the awkward middle school years, and laugh because even as a 20-something year old I still die from my own awkwardness sometimes. Vail hit the nail on the head with what middle school was like, and what life is still like. She got a lot of emotions in there, but it never got too overwhelming. The perfect light, funny but down-to-earth read.
2 reviews
March 28, 2019
Well...That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail was one of the best books I've read so far. I would say that this book would capture the attention of mostly teenage girls. The main character is Grace. Grace is a highschool student who makes friends wherever she goes but has a family loss that is getting harder to avoid. She has 3 friends that always have her back. But since they are older and are becoming teenagers, drama starts unfolding between crushes, school, and the school bully.

I rated this 5 stars because it is truly a wonderful book. It is one of the most relatable books I've read and I found so many connections throughout the book. While reading this book I felt so many feelings, when the character Grace was sad I was sad. When things were falling apart in her life I sympethized her and hoped for the best. When she was happiest I was happy with her. When she was just mad at the world I wanted things to fet better for her. Me getting rid of this book is "Never Gonna Happen". The plot is well thought of in this book amd all the characters are quirky in their own ways that makes you instantly root for them. Overall I would definetely reccomend this book.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 515 reviews

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