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As her junior year ...
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As her junior year begins, Cammie can’t shake the memory of what happened in Boston, and even the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women doesn’t feel like the safe haven it once did. Shocking secrets and old flames seem to lurk around every one of the mansion’s corners as Cammie and her friends struggle to answer the questions, Who is after Macey? And how can the Gallagher Girls keep her safe?
Soon Cammie is joining Bex and Liz as Macey’s private security team on the campaign trail. The girls must use their spy training at every turn as the stakes are raised, and Cammie gets closer and closer to the shocking truth….
Like everyone in the world, I remember adolescence clearly -- and mostly with horror. It’s not the moments of humiliation that haunt me in the middle of the night, but piercing memories of mistakes I made: errors in judgment, ethical missteps, selfish unkindness. I could have been a case study for research proving that adolescent brain development (or the lack thereof) leads to reckless, foolish decisions. So when I decided to read all the 2009 finalist entries in the Young Adult (YA) category for the RITA, romance’s most prestigious prize, I was curious about how realistic they would be. Would these six heroines engage in anything that I -- or at least my memories of myself -- would recognize?
They do. In fact, all of these novels do a brilliant job depicting a young adult’s scrambled thinking and -- even better -- the first sign of the maturity that scientists promise will eventually occur. Here, the road to love is littered with risk-taking behavior.
In three of these stories, the heroines not only make excruciatingly bad decisions, but the consequences of their actions are front and center to the plot -- and those consequences range from humiliation to gunshot wounds. The heroine of Tina Ferraro’s The ABC’s of Kissing Boys doesn’t make it to the varsity soccer team. So Parker comes up with a desperate plan to get on the team that involves paying for a kiss, tricking her way onto the team and…making a fool of herself. Ouch! The mistakes similarly pile up in Lauren Strasnick’s Nothing Like You; the heroine here is sleeping with a popular guy in secret, while she makes friends with his long-time girlfriend. Can you spell Disaster? Neither of these novels flinch from putting their heroines in really dreadful, self-induced situations. I couldn’t stop reading; fascinated horror kept me turning the pages. Ally Carter's Don't Judge a Girl by her Cover showcases a different -- if no less immature -- aspect of the teenage brain. Cammie Morgan is a spy, attending one of the world’s best high schools for that business. At least she’s conscious of what she’s doing wrong: “Did I know it was against the rules? Yes. Did I think it was foolish? Absolutely.” But (sigh) she goes right ahead and does whatever she wants.
If you happen to be a young adult yourself, or you know a young lady who might be interested, you can’t do better than buy these books. As the mother of a tween, I know how hard it can be to find YA books that appeal to a young girl and don’t horrify the woman with a credit card in hand. Far too many books aimed at this age group are little more than candy floss tales of conspicuous consumption. These novels will satisfy both of you.