When Reed starts acting more confident, girls from both school and work notice him. Before he knows it, he's gone on his first date - and his second date the very next day! But Reed is ultimately unimpressed by the girls that are interested in him, and he falls for the girl next door instead.
As opposed to Pygmalion and stories of that nature, where the character changes to be more socially acceptable and/or more attractive, Reed did not intend to change his looks and become popular. He simply got taller and got a haircut - basically, literally, he grew up. He feels uncomfortable in his new height and stature. He is incredibly smart and incredibly shy.
Throughout the story, Reed's grandmother tries to come up with the perfect entry for the New Jersey state motto contest. Keeping with this theme, each section of the book is a numbered exit, rather than being called a chapter, and has a funny title. His gran's creativity extends to the kitchen, and she's constantly supplying the teens with tasty treats.
His parents are also in the picture, though peripherally. His older sister is married with four kids of her own. Reed honestly loves baby-sitting his nieces and nephews, earning him more points in the nice boy handbook.
Though this book is all about one teen's quest for romance, it stays fairly clean. Reed wants to find a girl that likes him for him, not for his appearance, and he would rather have a heart-to-heart talk than a naughty rendezvous. Were the book a film, it would be given a tame PG rating.
If you want a cute story about first dates and gentle break-ups, if you liked Saved by the Bell, or if your heart belongs in New Jersey, give THE GIRLFRIEND PROJECT by Robin Friedman a try.
Interview: Robin Friedman (2007)
Interview: Robin Friedman (2010)
Book Review: Nothing by Robin Friedman