Lily B. on the Brink of Cool

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Overview

Note to future biographers:
I am Lily B.

Likes: Recording events in my journal which will be widely praised when I am famous

Dislikes: Family outings, people who make own bed in hotels (read: MY MOTHER), and the many uncool items in my closet.

Summer Plans: I figured I was doomed for a vacation of boredom, until I met the most amazing girl, Karma, and her incredible family. ...

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Overview

Note to future biographers:
I am Lily B.

Likes: Recording events in my journal which will be widely praised when I am famous

Dislikes: Family outings, people who make own bed in hotels (read: MY MOTHER), and the many uncool items in my closet.

Summer Plans: I figured I was doomed for a vacation of boredom, until I met the most amazing girl, Karma, and her incredible family. And guess what? We're related! The summer is looking up, and I just may be on the brink of cool.

"The eventually internationally recognized writer Lily Blennerhassett" spends her thirteenth summer missing her best friend and keeping a journal of her boring life at home and exciting newly-discovered relatives.

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Editorial Reviews

ALA Booklist
“Funny, fast-moving.”
Publishers Weekly
A pitch-perfect tween/teen vibe? Varnoff has it in spades as Lily Blennerhassett, a 13-year-old aspiring writer with lots to share about the family, friends and life she considers fabulously boring and oh-so-uncool. In keeping with the novel's humorous `Can-you-believe-this-is-happening-to-me?' tone, Varnoff effortlessly expresses Lily's exasperation with her parents, her penchant for typical teenage melodramatics and a blend of cockiness and insecurity-sometimes all in the space of a few sentences. Lily believes her social situation can't get worse when she's forced to attend a drab and bland family wedding. But when the cool LeBlanc family, described as "cousins of cousins," shows up looking very out of place, Lily has the impression that things will improve. She enjoys a brief, rebellious run at coolness as she befriends the newcomers, but soon discovers that the LeBlancs aren't what they appear to be, and her own parents aren't so bad after all. Snappy phrasing and lots of literary references will keep sharp listeners entertained and on their toes. Ages 9-13. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Future Biographers, take note: Lily Blennerhassett is keeping a diary. When she becomes a rich and famous writer, her take on her thirteen-year-old life will be here for you to study—the good, the bad, and the very funny. At the start of the book, Lily's in despair; her best friend Charlotte has abandoned her for Young Executive Camp and her parents make her crazy—particularly because they're normal, boring parents who are failing to provide her with the rich experiences she thinks she will need to produce a great novel someday. Enter the LeBlancs—distant relatives who fascinate Lily with their expensive taste in clothes, vegetarianism, and environmental activism. After they manage to scam Lily into loaning them her family's vacation house and then sue her family for $1.3 million, they lose their thrall for Lily, who learns to appreciate what she has. Lily's adoration of the LeBlanc family wears a bit thin, but overall, this is an entertaining novel that middle-school girls will pass to their friends. 2003, HarperCollins Children's Books, Ages 10 to 13.
— Anne Marie Pace
VOYA
This novel might surprise some readers. The title and cover art, as well as the tone of the book's first few chapters, signal that it will be a light-hearted, female-oriented novel about a typical suburban thirteen-year-old girl. Lily Blennerhassett is just that sort of narrator, but her exuberant, self-centered chirpiness is subjected to some major strains as events unfold. Lily begins her story saying, "My life lacks excitement," and she is eager to break away. Before long, Lily finds just the sort of excitement she has been seeking in the company of the LeBlancs, a glamorous and adventurous family she meets at a wedding. Charles and Veronique LeBlanc and their daughter, Karma, exude all of the style and charisma that Lily admires. She is thrilled when they take an interest in her, and she feels "on the brink of cool" when she is with them. She eventually finds that the thrills come with an unexpected price tag. The novel is presented as Lily's summer diary through September and her fourteenth birthday. As in other recent diary novels, such as Jaclyn Moriarty's Feeling Sorry for Celia (St. Martin's, 2000/VOYA April 2001) and Louise Rennison's Georgia Nicholson books, the diary format is stretched to implausible limits, as if the diarist were recording fresh entries in her journal almost continuously. Aside from that quibble, this diary novel is well told, presenting an initially naïve narrator, who has an intense social adventure that forcefully teaches her about substance versus appearances. PLB
— Walter Hogan
KLIATT
Lily is convinced that summer is going to be a real drag. The camp she has gone to every summer has closed, and her best friend has decided to go to a Young Executives' Camp instead. Since Lily was unable to muster up any enthusiasm for such an undertaking, she is resigned to staying at home. Her only joy is gained from writing in her notebook, a voluntary assignment for Honors English. Then, everything changes. While attending a family wedding, Lily meets her distant relatives, the LeBlancs. Charles and Veronique exude an aura of sophistication, as does their daughter, Karma. Lily wants nothing more than to gain Karma's friendship. She wants to soak up a bit of their "cool," and she's willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen. Kimmel's novel is a first-person account of the summertime drama of one excruciatingly self-conscious teen as she attempts to define herself apart from her parents. Lily's over-the-top narrative voice will likely appeal to many middle school readers. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2005, HarperCollins, 272p., Ages 12 to 15.
—Heidi Hauser Green
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Lily Blennerhassett's summer can't get any worse. Her best friend has left to attend Young Executive Camp and life at home is absolutely uninteresting. To stave off the boredom, she records her up-to-the-minute thoughts and the details of her life in her journal. Then she meets Charles and Veronique LeBlanc and their daughter Karma at cousin Delia's wedding. The LeBlancs are sophisticated, they care about the environment, and they DO things. Lily gets swept up in their causes, recording all the events in her diary, which also details how these professional con artists use this naive 13-year-old, abuse her trust, and eventually sue her family for $1.3 million. The pacing of the book is fast and smooth. Attuned readers will catch on to the con game, as there's a hint of unease in Lily's meetings with Karma that's exciting yet creepy. Lily is a likable teen who wants more than she has, only to discover that what she has is pretty darn good. By book's end, she has changed from a whiny kid who judges everyone to a wiser person who can question those judgments.-Linda Bindner, Truman State University, Kirksville, MO Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Pay attention, future biographers. Writer-to-be Lily Blennerhassett wants you to know her secrets-plus she's getting credit for this vacation diary. It's going to be a dull summer: Lily's parents schedule outings to yarn-making seminars and accordion factories and her best friend is at Young Executive Camp. But at an otherwise dreadful family wedding, Lily meets her fascinating LeBlanc cousins. The family snubs cool cousin Karma and parents, but Lily adores them. They're beautiful, stylish, and definitely not boring. Despite her parents' disapproval, Lily spends much of the summer visiting the LeBlancs. She loves their environmental group, Hug the Planet, and their fancy clothes and food. Though Lily won't see it, the untrustworthy LeBlancs exploit her financially. When she gives her cousins the key to her family's summer cabin, things go horribly wrong. Is Lily too gullible to be a writer? Will she need to become an accountant instead? A delightful heroine, sweeter than predecessors Georgia Nicholson and Adrian Mole-and hilarious. (Fiction. 9-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060005887
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/3/2005
  • Series: Lily B. Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Age range: 9 - 13 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Kimmel Willard, the pen name for Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, is a lifetime Little House enthusiast. She is the author of many books for children, including the Lily B. series. She lives in Cold Spring, New York, with her husband and their daughter.

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First Chapter

Lily B. on the Brink of Cool

Wednesday, June 19

My room.

NOTE TO FUTURE BIOGRAPHERS: Welcome to the notebook of the soon-to-be internationally recognized writer Lily Blennerhassett (that's me -- nom de plume pending). I am recording my life for the benefit of future scholars devoting their professional lives to my Collected Works and for the benefit of readers, writers, and all who Seek the Truth.

And also because this counts as a summer project for Advanced English.

Thursday, June 20

Kitchen Table. With Nutter Butter.

My life lacks excitement. It's worse than that, actually. My life lacks action. Conflict. Drama. My life lacks anything of substance, unless you count three green and two yellow vegetable portions on that nutritional food pyramid. The rich and varied scope of human experience has passed me by. I am an uninteresting person. I lack the raw materials necessary to produce a great novel.

I blame my parents. They are simple, plain, by-the-book people. They do not take risks. They do not pick up hitchhikers. They do not sample mushrooms that grow in the wild. They are so mainstream, they make The First Lady look radical.

Take driving with my father, for example. I may be only thirteen, and totally lacking in driver's education, but even I know that on the highway the left lane is supposed to be the fast lane. But my father disregards this Accepted Fact of Life on a daily basis. He'll maneuver the Honda into the left lane, then cruise along at 55, the posted speed limit in most of New York State. Not 54. Never 56. And when regular people, nice average Joes, come up behind him wanting to pass, he refuses to move over to the right lane. And okay, some of these people might get a little irritated. And maybe they flash their lights, or honk, or do a little innocent tailgating. Can you blame them? And what does my father do? Nothing at all. Just chugs along at 55 with this quiet It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood expression on his face. And if you make the mistake of pointing out that someone is trying to pass, he'll just shake his head and smile. He'll point to the speedometer. He'll say, "I'm doing the legal speed limit. Nobody has any right to complain. This is the speed we're supposed to be going."

I think I've made my point.

But let's not forget my mother. Somebody ought to apply for a grant to seriously study her. When my mother stays in a hotel, she makes the beds in the morning. I am not inventing this. Whether it's the ritziest place in the state or the Super 8 just off the freeway exit ramp, she always makes the beds and folds the used towels neatly on the rack. She claims she "can't think clearly with the beds unmade." I may only have gotten a B in bio, but I do know there is no connection between brain activity and bed sheets. I don't need therapy to know the real issue is how our family appears to other people. Unmade beds are untidy, and the last thing Mom wants is for word to get out to the Super 8 housekeeping staff that the Blennerhassetts from Room 118 are Untidy People.

Given the opportunity, I feel sure William Shakespeare would have driven faster than the speed limit. And I feel very safe in saying that Jane Austen would not, in comparable circumstances, have straightened up her room at the Super 8. Life in the fast lane has NEVER been worse.

Friday, June 21

Raining. Upstairs. Window seat.

I am waiting for Charlotte. It will be difficult saying a serious good-bye to someone who is attending Young Executive Camp for part of the summer. If it had been anyone else, I would have written a sarcastic short story about it and submitted it to The New Yorker. But it is more complicated than that.

Charlotte and I have spent every summer together since we were in kindergarten and became best friends. First it was Fairy Day Camp, then it was Sports Center Intensive Swim Program. Somewhere around the third or fourth grade we did the Brownie/Girl Scout thing.

And for the last several years Camp Migawam. We slept in a cabin together, canoed together, swam together, launched butter pats at the ceiling in the dining room. Together.

I realize it isn't Charlotte's fault, necessarily, that Camp Migawam went out of business after Charlotte called the newspaper regarding the offering of bribes by camp administrators to the state health and safety inspector. I don't blame her for that. But when it came time for us to pick a new way to spend the summer, Charlotte got all flipped out about this new alternative camp she'd found out about on the web, where Chief Executive Officers and Business Tycoons of tomorrow come together for the purposes of "educational enrichment." I looked at the brochure, just to see. It was appalling! No canoes. No cabins. No swimming, no sailing, no archery, not even any nature walks. Instead, the brochure talked about seminars, interactive workshops, and lectures by visiting corporate leaders. In short, it was a nightmare.

I kept thinking she'd come to her senses. I kept thinking we'd find some nice tennis camp, or a riding program, or a hiking trip for girls. But Charlotte wouldn't budge. She was determined to enroll in Young Executive Camp. Spending a large part of the summer without Charlotte would be a disaster. But let's face it -- me at Young Executive Camp would be a catastrophe.

My future plans do not include working in an office. They do not include panty hose and unscuffed shoes. They do not include briefcases or cell phones. They do not include carefully folded newspapers and takeout coffee or the commuter train.

Lily B. on the Brink of Cool. Copyright © by Elizabeth Kimmel. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 28, 2010

    CHECK IT OUT!!!!!

    I DONT REALLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK THAT MUCH.... I READ IT AND IT IS REALLY HORRIBLE....

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 12, 2009

    Wow-Wee!!

    I really enjoyed reading this book, just because it was so clever and funny. It was well-written, and I liked the storyline. Lily was just like the book itself...clever and funny!! Not only was Lily funny, but so were her uptight parents. I would suggest this book to any girl looking for a good read. This book was spunky and out there, which is some of the reason I really liked this book. It was great. Yeah, it was a hilirious summer read for a bood teen =).

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 17, 2009

    LILY B. ON THE BRINK OF COOL -vannhi ly (Vannie lee) <----pronounced im 10 yrs old

    this was a really good <BR/>i was amazed reading it<BR/>this is one of my fav. books<BR/>im very satified<BR/>i dunno wat that meant but....<BR/>WHO CARES<BR/>my life is very similar to lily's<BR/><BR/>to hear more my e-mail is hellovannhi321@aol.com<BR/><BR/><BR/>thx<BR/><BR/><BR/>my aim is hellovannhi321<BR/>facebook-vannhi ly<BR/> <BR/><BR/><BR/>commmet

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  • Posted January 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    luv it!

    this book is just sooo cleverly written! its an awesome summer read 4 a bored preteen or teenager! =D

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2008

    Awesome

    I enjoyed this book very much. It was an exciting read, and I am pleased with the way Elizabeth Kimmel wrote this book. It felt like you were actually reading the copy that Lily wrote in.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2008

    SuPa AwEsOmE

    this book changed my life completely

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2008

    book lover...

    A great book... I finished it really quickly... deffinitly recomended....

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2007

    Great

    It was a great book with an ending that I really did not anticipate. I loved this book and recomend it to any reader.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2007

    Awsome

    It is like a journal. Lily takes it around with her everywhere, I loved it!!,

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2007

    A Very Good Way to Spend your Day

    This book was about a cute and classy Lily B. who is just tired of her ordinary life and trades it with something very unordinary. The plot is wonderful and Lily B. is full of sass! Everyone who loves peppy and fun books should read this one!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2006

    Lily B. On the Brink of Cool is AMAZING!

    Lily B. on the Brink of Cool is an excitng, captivating book that had me glued to its' pages. While i can't relate to the plot, I can relate to her thoughts, feelings, world, and her digging to reach the inner her.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2006

    Great!!!!!

    This book was great. It was humorous and exciting to read. I can't wait to read the sequel... I enjoy reading this book. I love the way the author wrote the story in journal format. I reccommend this book to anyone.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2006

    REALLY GOOD

    This is an amazing book that i think every girl can somehow relate to! I love this book! good thing they came out with a sequel! so physched about that! This a must read for all girls!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2005

    Outstanding Book

    Lily B. can relate to most pre-teens. She is trying to fit in and find out who she is. It was fun to read Lily's journal entries. I can understand where she is coming from, so this book is not a fantasy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2005

    really really good!!

    omg i love this book....i wrote a review before anyone else did, like a year ago, but it never showed up. anyway, this book is amazing!! its so funny and you totally relate to what she's talking about: embarrassing/annoying parents, trying to fit in, etc. definitely read it, i guarantee you'll love it !!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2005

    The Best

    This book is one of the best books I have ever read. I am looking forward to reading 'Lily B.on the Brinkof Love'. I love Elisibeth Cody Kimmel, she is a great author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2004

    This is One of the Best Books I Ever Read!!!

    Lily B. on The Brink of Cool, by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, is a very well-written book. Lily Blennerhassett, a 13 year old girl, is writing this book as a journal for extra credit in English class. She thinks her life is as boring as a spider¿s life under a bed. She¿ll do anything, I mean anything, to change her life. For some strange reason, Delia, Lily¿s long distance cousin, invites Lily and her parents to her wedding to Ned. As usual, Lily is having the worst time. Then suddenly the LeBlancs walk in. Lily is astounded by their grace and beauty. She cannot believe that she¿s related to them. After she got to know the LeBlancs her life changes. She becomes a vegetarian, wears nicer clothes, and starts caring for animals all because she thinks the LeBlancs do too. Mr. And Mrs. Blennerhasset don¿t want their daughter visiting the LeBlancs, but for some reason the won¿t tell her why. Even though she knows her parents cannot stand them, she visit¿s the LeBlancs anyway. This lack of consideration gets her into some big trouble, trouble that causes her whole family pain. Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give Lily B. on the Brink of Cool a ten. I love how the author writes it like Lily herself. How she puts the date and time ¿Lily¿ is writing the journal entry. I think it¿s a great book that teaches young girls to just be themselves.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2004

    great read!!

    omg!!! i loved this book (and still do!) i really wish that she would make a second one! i loved so much im looking for a new book to read and really want one just like this! read it for girls 9-14

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2004

    A Book on the Brink of Cool

    Lily is a very smart girl who just wants to fit in with the kewl ppl. she is kinda clueless though to the other things that are happening around her. if u wanna kno wat i mean i think u should drop everything and read this!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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