Book Review: The Jerk Magnet by Melody Carlson

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐(⭐)


Chelsea Martin has always been the ugly duckling wallflower, just doing her best not to stand out and get made fun of. Then her dad makes a big announcement – they’re moving to California, and he’s marrying his girlfriend. Her new stepmother helps Chelsea with a complete makeover – and now she’s getting all the attention. While this is great for her confidence and making new friends, it also means she’s getting a lot of attention from jerks who only like her for her looks. Hence she is dubbed the “jerk magnet”.

What I Liked

  • This book does a great job of addressing what it’s like to be judged by your looks from many different perspectives. She’s attracting both positive and negative attention with her new looks, but she watches and sees how people treat those like she used to be.
  • This book sort of introduces CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) without directly stating it. The character just works to refine her thoughts through a more positive lens. It was really cool to see this thought process because while CBT is super important (especially if you struggle with anxiety or depression), it’s not often conveyed in characters.

Neutral Observations

  • This is a Christian book. Just putting it out there in case that’s not your thing. 🙂
  • The book was a little outdated in what it mentioned – it was written more for me in high school (10ish years ago) than for high schoolers now. Which is probably why I gave it 5 stars when I read it in 2012, but only 4 stars when I re-read it in 2018. (Examples include references to Robert Pattinson/Edward Cullen and “What Not to Wear”.)

What I Didn’t Like

  • There were a couple of phrases or moments that threw me off guard because they wouldn’t be considered politically correct. This author as a whole is great at addressing different mental issues (I mean, see the CBT part above), but described the main character’s thoughts as schizophrenic or socially retarded. Which I thought seemed incongruous with the rest of the book and with the author’s writings as a whole. (She’s one of my favorite authors, so please don’t hate her for the two words I found that just stuck out weirdly to me. Clearly I’m being nitpicky, and the other tens of thousands of words are great. :))

In Conclusion

If you want to read a high school level book regarding what it feels like to be judged by your appearances, this one is perfect for you.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

(affiliate link)

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