In first novelist Gehrman's inventive retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, the setting is Sonoma, Calif., where Geena looks forward to a summer with her wild best friend, Amber, and prim cousin, Hero, who has just returned from boarding school. They do not automatically bond, as Geena had hoped, but when Hero and Amber become targets of a deceptive golden boy, they learn to depend on each other. There is plenty that is true to Shakespeare (including clever exchanges and a surfeit of romantic confusion), and the author has made some smart updates. The girls, for example, work together in a drive-through coffee shop; a subplot has Hero's good-girl reputation put in jeopardy when the supposed golden boy posts faked sexy pictures of her on MySpace. Readers may find the girls' revenge scheme a bit outrageous, but will root for them anyway, especially strong, skateboarding Geena, who, when her new boyfriend refuses to help, bravely tells him, "Then you're no friend of mine." Even those unfamiliar with the Elizabethan model will enjoy this savvy remake, with its traditional ending, where everyone gets exactly what they deserve. Ages 14-up. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Confessions of a Triple Shot Bettyby Jody Gehrman
Geena can't wait to spend summer vacation at the Triple Shot Betty coffee shop with her best friend, Amber, and her cousin, Hero. But Amber and Hero hate each other on sight, and Geena's dreams of a girl-bonding summer fly out the window - then vanish entirely when a few cute (okay, drop-dead gorgeous) guys enter the picture. All is not what it seems, though, and in a story of mistaken identities, summer high jinks, and just enough romance, Geena and her friends learn that when Bettys unite, they can take on the most powerful force in their world: a hot guy.
Geena Sloane works at a popular drive-through caffeine joint. Her dream for her 16th summer involves boys, lattes, and hanging out with “the girls.” Her prim and proper cousin Hero and Geena’s best friend Amber are both working with Geena at Triple Shot Betty’s for the summer. Geena’s plan for them to hang out isn’t exactly working, since Amber and Hero hate each other. The only time that they manage to tolerate each other is when they set Geena up on a date. As productive as this seems to them, Geena isn’t interested, but at least her friends are talking to one another. When Hero’s face is Photoshopped on revealing photos of Amber, all friendships come to a screeching halt. Can the three girls unite to seek revenge on the hot guy who set up both Amber and Hero? While teenage slang contains swear words and sexual innuendos, the high school audience will find this novel highly realistic. It provides an honest representation of high school summers with characters who realize that sometimes fitting in means being yourself after all; this is a lesson that is not easily learned, as Geena proves. The outcome of Geena’s summer is better than the process itself, but it is the process she wouldn’t trade for anything. Reviewer: Ashleigh Larsen
March 2008 (Vol. 42, No.2)
Gr 9 Up- Geena, 16, plans to spend her summer working at the local coffee shop in her Sonoma Valley town with her cousin Hero and her friend Amber. She envisions grinding out espressos and supersize iced mochas during the day and spending sleepover nights painting toenails and confessing secrets. Within the first few hours of her arrival home from a Connecticut boarding school, Hero falls in love with an Italian boy working at her father's vineyard and it's clear that she and Amber are not going to be friends. As the story unfolds through Geena's diary entries, readers discover each girl's strengths, flaws, and personality. Truly updating this story inspired by Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing , Gehrman includes a contemporary subplot in which John, whose affections Hero rejects, posts faked nude pictures of her on MySpace, thanks to Photoshop. To save her reputation, the girls concoct a complicated revenge plan that succeeds, revealing the popular and confident John for who he really is. While the drama of this situation might seem outlandish to adults, the author touches on a very real concern of Internet safety. Reluctant readers will be attracted to the hot-pink cover and "hot guy" plotline, but more competent readers will enjoy the novel as well. Gehrman blends realistic teen characters who use slang, curse, and talk about sex with skillfully descriptive writing, leaving readers with a double shot of a highly caffeinated and hard-to-put-down book.-Sarah O'Holla, Village Community School, New York City
Read an Excerpt
Thursday, June 5
Great. So much for my summer. I should have known. School's not even out yet, and Operation Girlfriend is already in tatters. Amber, Hero, and I were going to be glorious; armed with big sunglasses and supersized iced mochas, we were supposed to take this crazy, tourist-trap, sun- and wine-soaked town by storm. I could see us so clearly, laughing happily as sunlight doused our brown shoulders and pooled in our bouncy, naturally highlighted hair. We were supposed to spend lazy afternoons lounging in bikinis on Hero's deck, and long, giggly nights painting our toenails in sorbet hues. But what are we doing instead? Enduring awkward pauses and thinly veiled snarkiness.
Fabu. Just what I had in mind.
Tomorrow, after a mercifully brief half day, school's officially out. When that final bell rings and we're released en masse from those stifling, fish-stick-scented halls, I should be the happiest girl on Earth. I mean, come on, this is my sixteenth summer; it should be epic. I've read enough coming-of-age novels to know this is the magic moment when even we late bloomers get to shed our ugly duckling baby fat and emerge as triumphant, nubile swans. I wanted to share this historical turning point with my two best girls: my cousin Hero, and my friend Amber.
Just one tiny glitch in that brilliant plan: Hero and Amber are on the fast track to hating each other's guts. They met for the first time like four hours ago, and already they're constructing voodoo dolls.
What was my first clue that Amber and Hero weren't exactly hitting it off? Oh, let's see, maybe it was when Hero stopped by Triple Shot Betty's today and Amber called her a scrawny littlebeeatch.
I honestly have no idea how this happened. There I was, wiping up coffee grounds, nursing a mocha, and bursting with almost-summer excitement. Triple Shot Betty's is a drive-through coffee stand about the size of a shoe box; if you don't clean constantly, it's like working in a mine shaft. I guess the caffeine and chocolate hit my system all at once, because I found myself chattering incessantly to Amber about Hero while I cleaned.
This, I suspect, was my first mistake.
"She's a total girl-genius," I said, scrubbing at the espresso machine. "She speaks fluent Italian-her mom was from Milan-and now she's learned French too, and last summer she taught herself Latin for fun! Can you believe that? I just know you two are going to get along so well. She's flying in from Connecticut today. Her sister's picking her up. Bronwyn. You're going to love her too. She's a sophomore at Berkeley and she's so insightful about the human condition-picture Michelle Pfeiffer with a psych degree. Okay, only half a psych degree, but she's going to be the best therapist ever. She's been practicing on Hero and me since we were five, analyzing our dreams and asking us how decapitating Barbie makes us feel. Anyway, sorry I'm babbling, I just can't wait for you to meet Hero!"
"Cool." Amber toyed with the straw in her drink. She didn't look very excited.
"What's wrong?" I paused in my frenetic cleaning and studied Amber. Her long red hair was draped around her face, so it was hard to tell if she was mad or tired or what.
"Nothing." She still didn't look up. "What kind of name is Hero, anyway?"
"Oh, that. Our moms were totally crazy about Shakespeare-it's a long story."
"And she goes to, like, a boarding school?"
"Yeah. She has English with Virginia Woolf's great-grandniece."
"Who's Virginia Woolf?" Amber asked.
I searched her face for signs of irony. Nope. Not a trace. "Nobody-just a writer." I racked my brain for something that might impress her. "Plus, her roommate's mom is Johnny Depp's agent."
Amber looked up. "Has she met him?"
I shook my head. "No. The school's in Connecticut. Johnny's in L.A." Strictly speaking, I guess I don't really know where Johnny Depp lives, but it seemed a reasonable guess that he wasn't camped out in Connecticut.
"Oh." Amber went on twisting her straw in listless circles. I'd never seen her like this. She was acting like this was Labor Day, not Summer Vacation Eve.
"Aren't you psyched? School's out tomorrow! No more legalized torture at the hands of sadistic algebra Nazis!"
"Yeah. I'm psyched."
Usually Amber is the most vivacious, in-your-face, outrageously funny coworker on the planet. Get a double latte in her, she's like your own in-house comedy channel. Today she was acting more like the Grim Reaper on downers. I didn't have time to investigate further, though, because right then a familiar blond head appeared at our window.
"Hero!" I dropped my sponge and almost knocked Amber over as I lurched past her. "Oh my God! You're home!" I wrenched the window open and squeezed my body halfway out, pulling her into an awkward hug.
As I clutched at my cousin, I smelled her familiar scent: apple shampoo and baby powder. We hadn't seen each other since Christmas, which seemed like forever. She looked a little different: Her usual B cup seemed to be inching toward the C range, and the rail-thin, hipless body she'd inhabited throughout our childhood was filling out into curves. Her nose was still slightly freckled, though, and the miniature rhinestone barrettes she'd been wearing since junior high were still struggling to stay attached to her blond, baby-fine bob. She was dressed in her usual: a gossamer-thin skirt paired with a filmy tank under a barely-there cardigan.
"I'm so glad you came by!" I said. "Come around back-I'll show you the inside." She ran to the back door and I let her in. As she crossed the threshold, she said, "Wow, this place is so small!"
"Welcome to our pygmy sweatshop."
"It's kind of cute," she said, wide-eyed. "Like a doll's house. Bronwyn just went to Sonoma Market. She'll pick me up in a minute." Hero nodded at Amber, then quickly cut her eyes to me.
"Oh-sorry . . ." I looked from Hero to Amber and back again. This was the moment I'd been looking forward to-finally, our trio would magically come together-but now that it was really happening, I found myself going all awkward and shy. "Hero, this is my friend Amber. Amber, my cousin Hero."
Amber didn't get up; she just sat there, fiddling with her straw, looking glum. "Hey." She gave Hero the once-over. "What's going on?"
"I'm fine, thank you. And yourself?" Hero has such impeccable manners, you'd think she was employed by the royal family. It can be embarrassing.
"Can't complain." Amber looked mildly amused. "Geena was just telling me all about you."Hero glanced at me and tucked a strand of hair behind one tiny, translucent-pink ear. "Oh, really?" She giggled nervously. "Like what?"
Amber leaned back against the counter, her knees splayed out immodestly in her distressed-denim mini. "Like how you're roommates with Johnny Depp's daughter."
"His agent's daughter," I corrected.
Hero nodded, setting her tiny Prada purse on the counter. "Oh, yeah. Mallorie. She's really nice. She's spending the summer in Tuscany," she said to me. "Dad said we might go there for Christmas again."
"How nice for you." Amber's sarcasm was obvious to me, though Hero's bland expression made me wonder if she detected it.
What was happening? "Um, Amber moved here from Lake County," I blurted. "Last fall."Hero nodded politely. "Do you miss it?"
"Not really. I mean, you know, if you like hippies, tweakers, white supremacists, and born-agains, it's paradise. Otherwise it pretty much sucks ass."
Hero's lips tightened, like she'd just sampled a lemon. "And how do you find Sonoma?"
I wanted to shake Hero-she was being so stiff and aloof-but then, Amber wasn't doing much to put her at ease either.
"I find it . . . quaint."
"So you like Sonoma Valley High? I never went there."
Amber squinted at her. "It's like most high schools. You've got your jocks, your emo-kids, wangsters, FFA freaks. I seem to have found my niche right away, so that was nice."
I knew what was coming; I wanted to close my eyes, like before a car crash. I started to say something-anything-but it was too late.
"Oh, well that's good, that you feel-you know-comfortable," Hero said, nodding.
"Uh-huh. I even have a nickname at school. They call me Blowjob Beezie."Hero's eyes went wide. I winced. Amber smirked.
Cue extremely awkward pause.
Just then Bronwyn's bright red Jeep pulled up and she hollered through the window, "Hey, little cuz-what's up?"
Only then did I realize I'd been holding my breath. "Bronwyn! Love the new haircut." She'd chopped her hair really super-short, and it made her eyes look even bigger and grayer than usual. She's so beautiful. If she weren't my cousin and incredibly useful when it comes to psychological insights, I'd have to kill her.
"Thanks." Bronwyn looked at her sister. "Come on, Hero. We gotta fly. I told Dad I'd get you home for dinner. Elodie's making millefeuille just for you."My mouth actually watered slightly. Elodie, their French chef, makes the best millefeuille in the world.
"Millefeuille," Amber said, still smirking. "Quelle yummy."
"Okay, just a sec." Hero looked at Amber uneasily. "Nice to meet you."
I grabbed Hero's hand and squeezed. "I'll call you soon as I'm off."
The minute they'd driven away, Amber blew a couple strands of hair out of her moody green eyes and looked at me. "So that's Hero . . ."
"Was that really necessary?"
Amber raised her palms. "What?"
"What? That's what they call me. Is that supposed to be a secret?"
I sighed. "Hero's sheltered. She's-"
"The chick's got a phone pole up her butt-is that my problem?"
A black convertible Saab full of tourists cruised up to the window. You could tell they'd already sampled a few too many Pinots and Chards, because the women were laughing like hyenas. The driver looked at me over his Ray-Bans and ordered four cappuccinos in a sulky tone. I got them their coffees; predictably, they didn't tip, and I swore at them under my breath.When I looked at Amber, she was back to twisting her straw in slow circles. She looked as miserable as the stingy Saab guy.
"I was hoping we'd all be friends," I said.
"Don't hold your breath," she said.
"What don't you like about her?"
She looked at her watch. "How much time you got?"
"Seriously." I knew from her expression she was getting annoyed, but I wanted an answer.
"Name one thing that's wrong with her."
"She's a stuck-up, rich, bony-assed beeatch."
I sighed. "That's three things."
"That's the abridged version."
"Why are you being like this?" I put a hand on my hip. "She's not stuck-up. Just because her dad owns Monte Luna doesn't mean-"
"Wait a minute . . ." Amber looked like she was trying to remember something. "Her dad owns Monte Luna Winery?"
"Yeah." I tried not to sound defensive.
"So Alistair Drake is their new neighbor?"
I looked at her blankly. "What are you talking about?"
"Hello! Alistair Drake? Former drummer for Stalin's Love Child? Founder of Floating World Tattoos in Santa Monica?"
"If you say so."
"Duh, he just bought a huge place right by Monte Luna."
I was steadfastly blasé. "Oh. So?"
She made an impatient sound. "So he's the most amazing tattoo artist on the planet, and he's going to open a second Floating World up here."
Amber's big dream is to be a tattoo artist. At first I thought that was kind of sad. I mean, we're young, we can do anything we want, and her mission in life is to drill ink into the pores of hippies, bikers, and giggly trendoids? But the more she told me about it, the more I started to respect her vision. She says it's body art; skin is her canvas. And anyway, who am I to judge someone who knows what she wants? I'm so indecisive, I'll probably still be a barista when I hit thirty.
"Alistair Drake studied tattooing in Japan for years. He's a genius. Anyone who apprentices at Floating World has respect and job security for life." She bit at a cuticle on her thumb, looking suddenly small and scared. "It's going to be totally competitive. I bet everyone in northern California's going to apply. Still, I have to work there."
"Well, maybe Hero could introduce you, then. I mean, if they're neighbors . . ."
Amber arched an incredulous eyebrow. "Yeah. Like that's going to happen."
"What? It's not a big deal. I'm sure she wouldn't mind."
She didn't look convinced. In fact, she was staring at me like I was pathetically slow. "Girls like Hero don't do favors for girls like me, okay? We're from completely different worlds."
"Oh, come on-you don't even know her."
"I know how much money it takes to buy a winery like Monte Luna."
I shook my head. "Uncle Leo didn't buy it. Hero's mom inherited it-it's a family business."
She eyed me suspiciously. "So then, your family owns it too?"
"No. Hero's dad is my dad's brother-my parents aren't rich, you know that." Hero and I don't talk about money, but it's pretty obvious her side of the family has a lot more than mine. They live in a sprawling, vineyard-enshrouded nouveau villa up on Moon Mountain, while Mom and I inhabit a tiny Craftsman-style bungalow in town. I never really think about the differences between us that much, but obviously these distinctions were important to Amber, and for some reason that irked me. "So what if Hero's family has money? It's not like that's who Hero is. Monte Luna doesn't affect her personality or anything."
"Right." I'd never heard her sound so bitter. "And I suppose boarding school is just a way to ensure she's well-rounded. It's got nothing to do with being too good for us townies."
I hesitated. Sure, I was bummed when Hero decided to go away to school. And yeah, sometimes I wondered if she didn't feel a tiny bit superior, now that her classmates were chummy with Johnny Depp. But Hero was still my cuz; it bugged me that Amber was so sure she had Hero pegged five minutes after meeting her.
"You know, she could have gone kayaking this summer in Patagonia, like her dad suggested," I said. "But she decided to work here, with me. She likes Sonoma." Of course, Hero also vetoed the kayaking thing because she considers camping a form of ritualized torture, but Amber didn't need to know that. "She hates it when people assume she's different just because she's rich. She just wants to be normal."
"Normal?" Amber made a sarcastic sound in her throat. "That's pretty funny."
"What do you mean?"
She took out a compact and applied a fresh coat of lip gloss. "I doubt her idea of normal and my idea of normal are even in the same universe."
I watched as she pressed her lips together, spreading the sparkly orange lip gloss evenly. Her point wasn't exactly lost on me. When Amber showed up last fall at Sonoma Valley High, I took one look at the tattoos, the tight, cleavage-baring clothes, the pierced belly button she never failed to display, and I thought what everyone else did: Who's the new hoochie-mama? But then we started working together at Triple Shot Betty's, and I got to know her. I was fascinated by her in-your-face attitude and her total disregard for social norms. You can learn a lot about someone when you're stuck together in a box the size of a broom closet, and Amber's the type of girl who'll tell you about her dad's meth habit, her mom's obscenely hot twenty-year-old boy toy, and her avid interest in pornographic manga within the first ten minutes of meeting her.
I guess since I like Amber and Hero both, I assumed they would instantly hit it off. Until today, it never occurred to me that they have absolutely nothing in common. I mean, Amber's an uninhibited trailer-trash goddess, and Hero's this perfect little Rhodes-Scholar-to-be. Maybe it was a mistake to get Hero this job.
"Just keep an open mind," I said, hiding my second thoughts with an encouraging grin. "I'm sure you'll love her if you get to know her."
Amber snapped her compact closed and shrugged.
"Are you going to graduation tomorrow?" I asked.
"Yeah, I guess." She didn't sound enthused.
"Cool. Let's go together. Maybe Hero can borrow her dad's car."
Amber's glossy lips went all pouty. "She doesn't even go to school here. Why would she go?"I tried to hide my exasperation. "She grew up here-of course she'll want to go. Come on, Amber, lighten up. We'll have fun."
She looked away. "You're not going to like . . . spend the whole vacation with her, are you?"
I took a step toward her. "I was hoping we'd all spend it together. Is that so crazy?"
"Yeah." Our eyes met and she softened her tone a little. "I don't know. Maybe not."
"Give her a chance. We're going to have a great summer."
"If you say so . . ." She definitely didn't look convinced.
Suddenly, neither was I.
Meet the Author
Jody Gehrman is a Betty of all trades. She writes novels for adults, is a playwright, an actress, and a singer-songwriter. This is her first foray into young adult literature. She lives in Potter Valley, California.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I thought this book was amazing! I suggest it fo girls in middle to high school.
Amazing soo G! Love it!!!:)
This is a good drama packed book. I reccomend this book to anyone!!
This book was absolutely amazing. I loved it, the second book could've been a little better though. I made my best friend read this book, and she adored it also. All around great book, I suggest that everyone read it. I can't believe that the sales rank on this book is 157,951. What's up with that? Really, read this book.
this book is great i was so good it was funny and romantic and the ending is great read this book great i"d recommend it to teens 13 and older cause of some language and....other things but very good book C:
This book is a must read for all girls!! It has drama, romance, and excitment. I so hope they make a second one and maybe even a movie on it! Once you read you ARE HOOKED, then sad when you finish it. It is worth the time to read it!
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this book was actually a modern retelling of the Shakespearean comedy "Much Ado About Nothing"! It sticks to the main story of confusion and love giving way to more love and less confusion. The characters are fun and relatable and give the book the charm it needs to hook a reader within the first few chapters. It's a cute novel that will make you laugh and smile!
Fun coming of age story. Geena works at Triple Shot Betty's with her best friend Amber an aspiring tattoo artist. When Geena's wealthy cousin Hero comes home from boarding school for the summer she's excited for the three of them to spend the summer together. Much to Geena's dismay Amber hates Hero on sight. It'll take a full summer, a few cute guys, and some working together after near disaster happens before Amber and Hero see eye to eye. Some parts are serious, some are funny, but this is definitely for upper teens as the language and content are mature. Gehram reminds me of a female Chris Crutcher with this one at times.
Wow, teen fiction has come a long way since the days of Sweet Valley High! The characters in Jody Gehrman's world are well developed. Geena's a studious skater girl who's more into her GPA than boys. Her best friend, Amber, is a knockout redhead with an absentee mother who's less into her studies than boys (hence her sketchy reputation) and drawing. Amber and Geena work together at one of those drive-up coffee shops, and Geena hopes they will become a trio of besties when her cousin Hero comes to stay for the summer. Hero's rich, blonde, prim, and very "My Little Pony." So, it only follows that Hero and Amber, the prettiest girl in the trailer park, wouldn't get along on sight. This book contains good messages. For example, sometimes it's necessary to look beyond the surface to find common ground, and sometimes what lies beneath the surface is much less appealing than the surface itself. This is true in the case of Hero and Amber, and Geena and her rival, Ben. There are many other instances where this is true, but I wouldn't want to ruin major plot points in the book for any future readers. Another particularly valuable message in the book is not to believe everything you hear. Question the source. Just because someone seems to be unaffected by a particular rumor doesn't mean they are; don't perpetuate it by repeating it. This is particularly true in Amber's case; she seemed to laugh about her embarrassing, degrading nickname of Blow Job Beezie, when it's impossible to imagine that couldn't have hurt. Rumors have an impact on real people, so if you're not going to ignore them, the least you can do is question the logic of them. This was a very good book. I'd definitely recommend it to teens or adults.