Study Guide

A Little Less Girl Summary

By Tess Oliver

A Little Less Girl Summary

Our story opens with a breakdown—a literal one. Jake West's car breaks down on the side of the road and it just so happens to stop at the same spot where a girl from his high school named Amy committed suicide last year. Bummer. But this is a double bummer for Jake since everyone in town blames him for Amy's death. See, Amy had a major crush on Jake and then he said some not-so-nice things about her. Naturally, everyone assumed that after Jake stomped on her fragile heart, she decided to end it all and drove her car over a cliff. Yikes.

That same day, Amy's cousin, Dani Spencer moves into town and into Amy's old house. She knows all about Jake, but doesn't quite believe that Amy would have killed herself over some boy—even if this one does look particularly dreamy on horseback. When Dani finds Amy's old diary and a sketchbook of drawings, she decides to start poking through them to investigate and figure out exactly what happened to Amy. She's ready to give Sherlock Holmes a run for his money.

On the first day of school, Jake falls head-over-heels for gorgeous Dani. Of course she's probably not going to be standing in line to date the guy who drove her cousin to suicide, right? But as much as Dani wants to hate Jake, she has to admit that he's not quite the jerk she expected him to be. Even though pretty much everyone at school—including their teacher, Mr. Dermott—seems to blame Jake for Amy's death, Dani just can't bring herself to do it.

Dani starts hanging out with Jake and his friends and has some good times in an old abandoned bus. She also joins the swim team with Jake and is so fast she earns the nickname "the Mermaid." Sweet.

Finally, Dani asks to play something called "the Game." She read about it in Amy's diary and she knows that something really upsetting happened to Amy while she was playing one night; Dani just has to find out what. Turns out the Game involves being blindfolded and tied to a chair in the woods at night. Super spooky. Dani is out in the woods waiting for Jake to find her and untie her when someone suddenly tries to kiss her. What the heck?

Later, at a bonfire, Dani finds out that her mystery attacker is none other than her creepy ex-boyfriend, Cody. She also suspects that he's the same person who attacked Amy the night she played the Game. Cody tries to kiss Dani again at the bonfire and Jake rushes to defend her and gets stabbed for his trouble. Jake lives, but he's bleeding and Dani is seriously swooning. Later, Jake shows Dani some paintings Amy did in a tunnel in the woods and they see one showing Amy being attacked and biting someone's hand. Could this be Cody? Or some other creep?

Meanwhile, Dani talks with Mr. Dermott about some swimming scholarships and he warns her to stay away from Jake—the kid is totally a player. Dani tells Mr. Dermott that Jake isn't responsible for Amy's death. She knows because she read Amy's diary and she can see that her cousin didn't hate Jake and certainly wouldn't have killed herself over him. In fact, Dani tells him, that's why she doesn't think Amy committed suicide at all. Who cares what the official police report says? Detective Dani has her own theories.

That night, someone breaks into Dani's house and steals her diary. Weird, right? The next morning, Jake runs into Mr. Dermott at school and he's acting pretty odd. He's so out of it that he ends up confessing to breaking into Dani's house and also to having an affair with Amy. Whoa…

Turns out, Mr. Dermott was with Amy the night she died. Amy threatened to tell the school board about their relationship, so Mr. Dermott followed her on his motorcycle as she drove away from his house. He watched as Amy accidentally drove off the road, then he just motored away without telling anyone what happened. Now that's a jerk for you.

In the end, Mr. Dermott is caught and Dani and Jake finally know the truth about what happened to Amy. And, yes, in case you were wondering, they totally get together and ride off into the sunset on Jake's horse. Okay, the horse part didn't really happen, but we can dream, can't we?

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