In this slice-of-life middle grade novel, we follow twelve-year-old Jessie who’s staying at her cousin, Ann’s for the summer. Jessie and Ann have grown apart since Ann became friends with a popular girl. Jessie throws herself into trying to score a dog-walking apprenticeship with a grumpy dog-walker, Wes. Things are going well until a new dog-walker moves into town. Jessie’s also dealing with a crush on a new boy in town and of course her nemesis, Ann’s friend.
Can’t Beat the Chemistry is an Australian young adult novel which follows MJ and Luke, two polar opposites. MJ is a super smart half-Asian girl whose parents have extremely high expectations for her future career as a cardiothoracic surgeon. She lives to study, and readers immediately see that she is more than lacking in the social skills department.