3.5Original review: http://onabookbender.com/2012/03/14/review-the-edumacation-of-jay-baker-by-jay-clark/It took me a little while to settle into The Edumacation of Jay Baker, but it had nothing to do with the story, and everything to do with the fact I was reading an ARC. I caught a grammar error on the first page, and it took a bit before I got over myself. Once I did get invested in the story, I devoured the book in an evening. There is a valuable story nestled in between the constant barrage of pop-culture references and other snarky banter. In her review, Jess called Jay the male version of Juno. I can definitely see that, though for me the awkwardness shifted a little bit too much between charming awkward and awkward awkward. While it didn’t necessarily work all the time for me, it fits Jay’s character.If you read the synopsis, you know that it mentioned something that I have professed my profound dislike for: love triangles. But! But but but. You will perhaps be surprised to find that I really had no issues with this love triangle. If anything, it was a realistic love story with some overlapping love interests and confusion. I can deal with that. It wasn’t over dramatized and there was more to the story than the love interests. In fact, a lot of the whole love interest/triangle deal led to the importance of Jay learning to be himself, and that was good.One of the best aspects of The Edumacation of Jay Baker is the cast of characters. Jay is fun, but his mortal enemy (Mike), his sister (Abby), his love interests (Cameo and Caroline), Ms. Lamert, and his parents make this book what it is. Being a big sister myself, I identified with Abby, and thought she was well-portrayed. Big sisters represent! Jay’s run ins with Mike are hilarious and the resolution to that story arc was both surprising and satisfying. Ms. Lambert also shined through — when you can’t count on your divorcing parents to be there for you, everyone needs a teacher like her — and provided a strong adult figure in the story.In the end, The Edumacation of Jay Baker is a story about a boy who learns to deal with the craziness that life can bring. It is contemporary, but not realistic in the sense that actual teenagers (and parents, and teachers) would speak and act the way they do in the book. Contemporary comedy is a more accurate term perhaps, and there is also truth in comedy. And I always love a story where the main character learns how to be himself. Or herself. Stories like that are incredibly important. I wished I had had more stories like that when I was a teenager.The Edumacation of Jay Baker is a quick read that will make you laugh at all of the antics, and feel for Jay through all of his downs.