This entertaining teen-texting melodrama addresses deeper issues of self-love, grief, real friendship, and fitting in. Well, That Was Awkward gives pitch-perfect voice to a multicultural group of school friends who live in New York City. The Loud Crowd is what the popular kids call themselves, and Gracie and her closest friends Sienna, Emmett, and AJ hover on the periphery of the top level, which lends the story a tension that feels believable. Crushes, awkward behavior, and self-consciousness dominate their thoughts and texts. Because, eighth grade.
Vail does a deft job portraying Gracie as funny and ungainly, yet true to herself. She strives to be comfortable in her own skin, which is a fantastic message for tween girls. Gracie and Sienna are aware that girls insult themselves more than boys do, and then make a pact to stop insulting themselves. Can we please have more of that in contemporary media? As Gracie would say, #togetherness. When everything seems to go wrong, and her phone goes silent, Gracie's depth of emotion feels real. No one wants to be left out. That dark spot, however, makes the fairy tale ending very satisfying.