I really enjoyed Awkward.
I really liked Mackenzie as a protagonist. Often, books will say a character is "smart", but will never show it. But Mackenzie actually knows stuff and understands things! Bates goes out of her way to not just tell, but show that Mackenzie is intelligent, which I loved.
Whenever so-called "nerds" are main characters, be it in books, tv shows, or movies, they always get great grades without lifting a finger or sacrificing anything. Joey Potter from Dawson's Creek is a great example of this faux-nerd phenomenon--she gets amazing marks, but, somehow, she still has time to hang out with her friends and get caught up in a love triangle with Dawson and Pacey. Not realistic. In Awkward, Marni Bates finally tells the story of a real nerd. Someone who really cares about school. Someone like me.
I also loved Mackenzie's friends and her brother. They are all hilarious and smart and stupid and real. I loved the little silent conversation she had with Jane, and, of course, I loved Corey.
Of course, I also loved the romance (Have I ever not?). Logan is a good boy: well developed, flawed, but also noble and understanding and sweet.
One thing I really found interesting in the book was the use of drinking as a narrative device. Mackenzie goes to a party and gets really drunk. Slowly, she remembers pieces of her night, which the reader knows almost all of. It creates an interesting case of dramatic irony, something you rarely see in first person novels for obvious reasons.
Anyone who's been around YA long enough will liken this book to Robin Benway's Audrey, Wait!. The similarities are undeniable--sudden, unwanted fame, involvement with a band, tv show spot to clear her name. And those similarities annoyed me a teeny bit, I will admit. But, overall, it doesn't matter. Because Awkward was awesome enough on its own that it allowed me to mostly ignore these coincidences.
All in all, Awkward is a unique, funny, enjoyable read. I'd gladly recommend it to any YA fans--particularly all the nerdy teenage girls out there.