Love, Inc.

Love, Inc.

4.3 18
by Yvonne Collins

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Zahra, Kali, and Syd would never have met if their parents' marriages hadn't fallen apart. But when the three girls collide in group counseling, they discover they have something else in common: they've each been triple-timed by the same nefarious charmer, Eric, aka Rico, aka Rick. Talk about eye-opening therapy. Cheerful, diplomatic Zahra is devastated. Rico had been… See more details below


Zahra, Kali, and Syd would never have met if their parents' marriages hadn't fallen apart. But when the three girls collide in group counseling, they discover they have something else in common: they've each been triple-timed by the same nefarious charmer, Eric, aka Rico, aka Rick. Talk about eye-opening therapy. Cheerful, diplomatic Zahra is devastated. Rico had been her rock and sole confidant. How could she have missed the signs? Folksy, flirtatious Kali feels almost as bad. She and Rick had only been on a few dates, but they'd felt so promising. Hardened vintage-vixen Syd is beyond tears. She and Eric had real history... Or so she'd thought. Now all three girls have one mission: to show that cheater the folly of his ways. Project Payback is such a success, the girls soon have clients lining up for their consulting services. Is your boyfriend acting shady? Dying to know if your crush is into you? Need match-making expertise? Look no further than Love, Inc.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This overlong story focuses on high school sophomore Zahra Ahmed-MacDuff—part Pakistani, part Scottish-American—whose parents recently separated. Forced to join a support group for "teens who have ‘families in transition,' " she meets flirty Kali and artistic Syd. When the girls learn they are all dating the same guy, they pull off an over-the-top revenge scheme that leads to the formation of Love, Inc., which helps couples "match, patch, and dispatch," depending on which service is needed. Soon the friends are staking out possible cheaters, mediating breakups, and doling out revenge pranks (these can be vicious: they do ,000 worth of damage to their ex's car). Collins and Rideout (Girl v. Boy) are most successful when focusing on Zahra's struggle with her ethnic identity; her Pakistani grandparents want her to be more traditional, but she blames their strictness for her family's breakup and wants to prove that "Zahra Ahmed-MacDuff isn't ashamed to be hyphenated." While Zahra eventually comes to terms with her identity and family, even readers who buy the far-fetched premise will have trouble tracking Love, Inc.'s long client list and several subplots. Ages 11–up. (Jan.)
VOYA - Spring Lea Henry
Zahra Ahmed-MacDuff is being pulled in many directions lately. Her parents are separated, and with her grandparents moving in with her mother, she is in the middle of a serious tug of war between her Scottish and Pakistani roots and her current life as an American. Thrown into therapy as a way to cope with all the turmoil, she meets Syd and Kali, whose parents have also split up and who share something else in common: all three are dating the same boy! Eric, aka Ric, aka Rico, has been three-timing them. The way the girls deal with his shenanigans puts them in a small spotlight, and they find themselves approached by other lovelorn individuals asking for help. Thus, Love, Inc. is born. But can the girls juggle school, therapy, Love, Inc., and family obligations all at once? Their adventures ramble all over Austin, Texas, and force them to take a deeper look at what is happening around them and within their own hearts. This is a breezy read with strong appeal for those looking for something "clean" to enjoy. Reviewer: Spring Lea Henry
Children's Literature - Michele C. Hughes
Meet high school sophomore Zahra MacDuff—half Scottish-American, half Pakistani. The tension between her cultures is so great that Zahra's parents have separated, and it seems that Zahra's mother is caving in to family pressure to act more like an MOT, or Member of the Tribe, as Zahra and her little sister call it. The only good things in her life are her dream of becoming a television chef and her dreamy boyfriend, Rico. Convinced she's troubled, Zahra's parents put her in group therapy for teens, where she makes friends with flirtatious Kali and brooding, artistic Syd. Before long, they discover they have more in common than the group—Rico is three-timing them. An outrageous act of revenge unites them further and opens the door to a lucrative business in affairs of the heart, including mediation, break-ups, matchmaking, surveillance and revenge. Meanwhile, Zahra tries to sort out her own love life while fending off her grandparents' efforts to conform her to their culture. A high-profile job gone bad exposes Love, Inc. to the scrutiny of the girls' families, effectively ending their business but leading to some positive outcomes for all three of them. The characterizations of the girls are distinct and complex, and even the adult characters are effectively developed. Zahra is a likeable, sympathetic character, with wisdom beyond her years. When reading about the exploits of the girls and their freedom to have those exploits, it's easy to forget they're 15 years old—and then a little unsettling to remember. The amount of time they devote to romantic endeavors at the expense of personal development doesn't bode well for their futures as well-rounded young women. Nonetheless, the willing suspension of disbelief is easy because the story flows so well and the sometimes humorous plot is intriguing and skillfully crafted. Reviewer: Michele C. Hughes
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Tenth-grader Zahra Ahmed-MacDuff struggles with her Pakistani/Scottish-American heritage as well as with her parents' recent separation. She is placed in group counseling with other teens where she meets Kali and Syd. Much to the girls' surprise, they soon find that they have more in common than divorcing parents: the same boyfriend. They are being three-timed by Eric (aka Rico and Rick). The girls plan and orchestrate their revenge on Eric with precision and style. Their Austin, TX, community can't help but notice, and soon word gets around that the trio can be hired for all manner of romantic troubles; thus Love, Inc., is born, specializing in matchmaking, mediation, surveillance, breaking up, and revenge. Business is booming and the teens' friendship also blooms. Through Love, Inc., the girls discover their own strengths and work with them to understand the confusing world of relationships, including their own. Several subplots keep the book flowing and interesting. The three main characters are well-developed, each with her own quirks and fortes, and the supporting cast members are also refreshingly multidimensional. Not necessarily a quick read, but still a worthy one for teens wanting a book that is fun while still containing some substance.—Mindy Whipple, West Jordan Library, UT
Kirkus Reviews

Following her parents' separation, Zahra is forced into group therapy, where she meets Kali and Syd. The three girls quickly find that fractured families are not all they have in common—it turns out that they are all dating the same guy. Despite their differences, they find they are all good at one thing: revenge. After trashing their boyfriend's car and then his reputation, they decide to offer their services to others. The specialty at Love, Inc., is initially payback, but the three jilted girls find they have a wider range of love-related services to offer. Genuinely endearing, narrator Zahra reacts authentically to betrayal, her parents' separation and the confusion of assimilating her Pakistani and Scottish-American roots. Smart dialogue and a hip cast of characters keep the story engaging. Unfortunately, the plot is too often bogged down by superfluous details that make the book read more like a visitor's guide to Austin, Texas, than a fast-paced novel of romance and revenge. (Fiction. 12 & up)

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Product Details

Disney Book Group
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File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
12 - 15 Years

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