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Out of His League

Out of His League

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What's the first rule of reinventing yourself as a cool girl at a new school? Steer clear of your old crush.

A new school means a fresh start. So long Ronnie Smith, invisible tomboy, and hello Veronica, popular new hottie. This is my chance to finally be seen...and kissed.

Yeah, that's right. I've never been kissed. But I mean to change all that now that I'm starting over with a new look and attitude. The only problem? I'm not the only one from my old school who's transferred to Briarwood High.

Drew Remi is here, too, and he's still the same wildly popular baseball star. He's also the only person who can ruin my new life. But he can only rat me out if he recognizes me. So, why am I so upset when he doesn't have a clue who I really am?

★★★★★ "I LOVE this book. Veronica and Drew were just the coolest and cutest couple I could ever have imagined." - Reviewer

★★★★★ "This book is so satisfying. This is the third YA book I've read by Maggie Dallen, and I've loved every one. Dallen has a talent for tapping into and satisfying high school fantasies while keeping the stories charmingly grounded in teenage angst, hopes, fears and audacity. Who hasn't dreamt of escaping high school pigeon holes and reinventing a spectacular new persona?" - Reviewer

★★★★★ "This was such a sweet read!" - Reviewer

Main Tropes

  • Mistaken Identity
  • Nerdy Girl / Popular Guy
  • Sweet YA For All Ages

Intro Into Chapter 1

Fake it till you make it.

As far as personal mantras go, mine wasn’t terribly original, but it was effective. Sort of. At least, I hoped it would be. 

Time would tell. 

My best friend, Trent, was driving me to my first day at a new school for my junior year. After a lifetime of going to the same school with the same class, I’d been granted an amazing opportunity to start fresh and I was determined to make the most of it.

Physically, at least, I was ready. You know those scenes in cheesy teen romantic comedies where the girl gets a makeover and is totally transformed in a one-minute montage?

Yeah, I’d done that. 

Well, my friend Margo had done that. She’d been the one to teach me how to blow out my frizzy, curly brown hair into pretty waves. She’d taught me how to wear makeup and how to walk in heels. But trust me, it hadn’t happened in a matter of minutes. It had taken all summer.

Mentally I was prepped, too. I’d been planning for this moment ever since I got my acceptance letter from Briarwood, a private school I scored a scholarship to. It was on the other side of town from my old public school, Atwater, and it might as well have been in a different universe.

No one knew me at Briarwood, which was terrifying, but also incredibly exciting. It meant I had a chance to reinvent myself, and I didn’t have to wait until college to do it. Physically and mentally, I was ready to play the part of Veronica Smith—the confident, cool, dateable new junior. 

But if I could actually pull it off remained to be seen.

Sitting in the front seat of Trent’s car as we neared my new school, it was kind of hard to fake it. Trent knew me way too well. He, like everyone else I’d grown up with, knew me as Ronnie—tomboy, jock, and completely invisible to the male population. 

Before you get any ideas, I should say right now—this is not a story about how I fell in love with my best friend. No way. Trent is awesome and I love him dearly—as a brother. So no, and also…ew. I can’t even go there in my imagination. I should also probably mention that my friend Margo in the backseat was his girlfriend. They’d been dating since freshman year and since I was Trent’s best friend, Margo had become my first and only female friend by default. 

I’d been friendly with a lot of the girls on my old soccer team, but soccer was the only thing we’d really had in common, and those friendships had stayed on the field. Besides, any one of my former teammates would have looked at me like I was crazy if I’d asked them to help me with my hair. But Margo? She stepped into the role of my lone girl friend like a champ. 

But she wouldn’t be my only female friend for long, hopefully. Veronica Smith was going to make friends. Girl friends. And she was going to be noticed by guys. She was going to flirt, and date, and as God as my witness, she was going to have her first kiss.

My inner diatribe was cut short as Briarwood came into view. The butterflies in my stomach went crazy and I sucked in a quick, loud inhale as I clutched my belly. 

Trent glanced over. “You all right, Ronnie?”

“It’s not Ronnie anymore,” Margo scolded from the backseat. 

I felt her hands on my shoulders as she leaned forward so her face was next to mine. I already knew I was in for another pep talk. She’d very sweetly come over to my house super early this morning to help me with my hair and makeup.

Despite her many lessons these last few weeks, I still hadn’t been confident enough to do it on my own. This morning she’d alternated between making me look good and boosting my confidence.

I was so freakin’ glad Trent was dating Margo. 

Trent tried to be helpful in his own way, like by offering to give me a ride on my first day so I didn’t have to show up on the bus. Still, he couldn’t quite seem to get on board with my plan. He didn’t understand why I might want something different, to be somebody different. 

Margo, on the other hand… well, I got the feeling that this was her dream come true. She was a big fan of all those cheesy rom com movies where the nerdy girl becomes popular just because she gets a sweet blowout and a pair of contact lenses.

For Margo, my plan was the closest thing she’d ever experienced to that in real life. And in real life, she got to be the awesome fairy godmother character who gives the makeover. 

She was pretty pleased with herself on that front.

I glanced in the side mirror at the still unfamiliar reflection. I was pretty darn pleased, too. She’d done an awesome job. I wouldn’t have recognized me if I saw myself walking down the halls of my old school, where Trent and Margo were headed after they dropped me off.

I’d been dying for a change for a while now but trying to change your image when you’re surrounded by people who’ve known you since kindergarten? It’s next to impossible. Even Trent couldn’t wrap his head around this new me and he knew me better than anyone.

It was Margo who reminded him. “She’s going by Veronica now,” Margo said, her voice all stern, but still cute. She couldn’t help it. Margo was just cute by nature. Small and blonde, she’d always been popular at Atwater. Not in a Mean Girls way but in the “I’m nice to everyone” way. In return, everyone loved Margo. Including me. She’d taken me under her wing these past few weeks, helping me to develop my new identity.

“She’s Ronnie,” Trent said, “And she always will be.”

I sighed. That was why this new and improved me could only exist at a new high school. I had to kill off Ronnie. It’s not like I was the lowest rung on the social hierarchy. I had some friends—all nerdy boys, except for Margo and my teammates. Trent might have been the nerdiest of them all. It was still a wonder to me that Margo had fallen for him, but I guess he did have a cute grungy rocker look about him that was an oddly good complement to Margo’s goody-two-shoes vibe.

My vibe was total tomboy. I’d always been into sports and had been more comfortable hanging out with the boys in my class. I’d never liked shopping, or tight clothes, or taking time to do my hair. I liked being comfortable, and that usually meant oversized T-shirts and frizzy curls scraped back into a ponytail. 

And while that was all fine and good for a long time, once I hit high school I didn’t know how to break out of that image. And here’s the thing… I wanted to go on a date. I wanted to be kissed. And yes, one day I wanted a boyfriend. I didn’t want to go through my entire life being treated like a boy just because I’m good at sports and don’t know the first thing about highlights and lowlights.

So when I got the scholarship offer to go to Briarwood, I seized on the chance to start fresh. Just thinking about the clean slate ahead of me made the butterflies ease up, excitement taking their place.

It was hard to not feel like a fraud, but as Margo liked to point out—I wasn’t being a fraud, I was just being a better version of me. Because while I liked sports, there was more to me than just that. I was also a good baker and had great grades. I liked to read romance novels and I adored old movies. I wrote for the newspaper back in my old school and dabbled in photography.

I was more than just a tomboy, just like Trent wasn’t just a computer nerd with a thing for indie bands. But I guess when you’re stuck in the same building with the same group of people, you get put in a hole. You get stuck with your label and it’s almost impossible to break free.

There were a lot of reason I wanted to go to Briarwood—great soccer team, better chance at getting into a college of my choice, better teachers—but starting fresh was the biggest one. 

Trent pulled up in front of the school, which looked daunting with its ivy-covered walls. Margo kneaded my shoulders like a coach, which she kind of was. She was my cool-girl coach. “You’ve got this, Veronica.”

It was a bad sign that my full name sounded weird to me, wasn’t it? 

No. I’d get used to it.

Trent sighed. “I still don’t get why you want to be different. You’re the coolest girl I know, and—”

Margo and I both slapped his bicep and he winced. “Aside from Margo, obviously.”

Margo grinned and planted a kiss on his cheek. But he was focused on me, his eyes sweetly squinted with concern beneath his black-framed glasses. “Ronnie, you don’t need to change who you are just to be liked by some guy.”

I held back a sigh as Margo groaned and flopped back in her seat. We’d all been over this so many times, it was getting super old. 

“I’m not changing who I am just to get a guy,” I said for the millionth time.

“She’s being herself, just in a way you’re not used to,” Margo chimed in.

I pointed back to her—Margo got it. “Exactly. I’m being me, just… a new me. I want to be all of me.”

Trent looked unconvinced.

“I’m fun, right?” I asked.

He nodded. “Yeah, of course.”

“And I can flirt…I think.” I’d never really tried because there were no guys in my old high school who wanted to flirt with me.

“I’m sure you can,” my ever-supportive Margo said. 

Trent rolled his eyes. I think it icked him out to think of me flirting just like I didn’t particularly like to think about what he and Margo got up to during their sexytime. 

I’m serious when I say that Trent was the brother I’d never had. And I guess Margo was kind of like the sister I’d never had. So together? Ew. I couldn’t go there.

I shook off the horrid thought and focused on the conversation at hand. “And I am a girl, right? So why shouldn’t I have fun and flirt with boys?” I grasped Trent’s hand, outright pleading with him to understand. “Just once I want a guy to look at me like I’m a girl. I want to be invited to parties that aren’t a bunch of dudes playing video games.”

“You like video games,” he pointed out.

I rolled my eyes. “Of course I like video games, but every once in a while I’d like to go to a party where there are girls there and dancing and spiked punch and—”

“And you have watched too many movies,” Margo said with a laugh. “No one has spiked punch at house parties.”

I waved her off. “Fine. Beer. Whatever. I just want to experience what it’s like to be popular and…” Wanted. Noticed. Seen. “And liked for something other than my skills on the field or as a gamer.”

Trent looked like he might relent, but he still had concern in his eyes. “But you’re not going to stop playing soccer, right?”

I shook my head. “Of course not. I love soccer, and volleyball, and softball—I’m not giving them up. I just don’t want that to be all that defines me.”

At this point, my monologue was on automatic. We’d gone through this before. So. Many. Times. I loved the fact that he loved me just as I was, but in a way Trent’s view of me was part of the problem. He’d never see me as anything other than his old pal Ronnie, and I couldn’t wait to be surrounded by people who didn’t know me at all. 

I glanced up at the school and watched as a stream of students filed out of cars and into the big double doors. An entire school full of people who didn’t know me.

This was my dream come true.

“Fine,” Trent relented, reaching into the backseat to grab my book bag. “Let me know how it goes today.”

“I will.”

“And tell Drew I say hello.”

His words stopped me as I was reaching for the door handle, a sick feeling started to well up in my gut. “Drew?” I turned around to face him. “Who’s Drew?”

I could only think of one Drew. As far as I knew, Trent and I both only knew one Drew. 

Relax, Ronnie. Maybe this Drew was a musician who Trent knew from seeing local bands or something. Maybe he was a friend of the family or—

“Drew Remi,” he said.

The name made my stomach heave.

Drew Remi.

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