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Metro Girl (Alex Barnaby Series #1) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Alexandra (Barney) Barnaby roars onto the Miami Beach scene in hot pursuit of her missing baby brother, "Wild" Bill. Leave it to the maverick of the family to get Barney involved with high-speed car chases, a search for sunken treasure, and Sam Hooker, a NASCAR driver who’s good at revving a woman's engine.

Engaged in a deadly race, Bill has "borrowed" Hooker's sixty-five-foot Hatteras and sailed off into the sunset...just when Hooker has plans for the boat. Hooker figures he'll...

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Metro Girl (Alex Barnaby Series #1)

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Overview

Alexandra (Barney) Barnaby roars onto the Miami Beach scene in hot pursuit of her missing baby brother, "Wild" Bill. Leave it to the maverick of the family to get Barney involved with high-speed car chases, a search for sunken treasure, and Sam Hooker, a NASCAR driver who’s good at revving a woman's engine.

Engaged in a deadly race, Bill has "borrowed" Hooker's sixty-five-foot Hatteras and sailed off into the sunset...just when Hooker has plans for the boat. Hooker figures he'll attach himself to Barney and maybe run into scumbag Bill. And better yet, maybe he'll get lucky in love with Bill's sweetie pie sister.

The pedal will have to go to metal if Barney and Hooker want to be the first to cross the finish line, save Bill, Hooker's boat...and maybe the world.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Taking a break from her bestselling Stephanie Plum series, Janet Evanovich's new stylish stand-alone thriller is now available in a signed limited edition.
Maureen Corrigan
By the time Barney and Hooker were stranded, "Survivor"-style, on a desert island complete with creepy-crawly creatures and a rogue bomb, I was won over by the sheer comic ingenuity of Metro Girl's loopy plot.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
"Just because I know how to change a guy's oil doesn't mean I want to spend the rest of my life on my back, staring up his undercarriage." From the word go, Evanovich delivers her usual goods, albeit in a different vehicle. After 10 Stephanie Plum novels, each more successful than the last, Evanovich introduces Alexandra Barnaby, aka Barney. Barney hails from Baltimore rather than New Jersey, but she's from the same slice of working-class life as Stephanie; she donned mechanic's overalls in her father's garage during summer breaks from college. Her younger brother, Wild Bill, shares her passion for cars, and now he's disappeared from Miami, along with NASCAR star Sam Hooker's boat, the Happy Hooker. Evanovich doesn't mind showing her romance roots, as Barney and Sam start off snarling at each other; as any reader can tell, they have to team up (a) to save Bill and (b) to enjoy delicious sex. As in the Plum books, plot takes a back seat to riffs, roughups and dialogue-and in the last lies the book's most notable distinction. If Stephanie bids fair to be New Jersey's Dorothy Parker, Barney is Baltimore's echo of Robert Parker. Conversation is terse and coded, full of sexual innuendo, with a high premium on toss-away lines uttered under duress. Despite the amazing quantity of physical jeopardy, there's little tension; it's all about hanging out with Metro Girl and NASCAR Guy-which may be just what millions of Evanovich fans will want. Agent, Robert Gottlieb. (Nov.) Forecast: Evanovich will see major marketing for her HarperCollins debut, including TV and prints ads and a national bus tour with the author, her webmaster daughter and Barnaby the St. Bernard, which means that Alexandra Barnaby will likely prove as popular as Stephanie Plum (the Plum novels are published by St. Martin's). Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Simultaneous with the HarperCollins hardcover. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-A comic misadventure from the start, this mystery is a good combination of light thriller and fast-paced action. Alex Barnaby receives a late-night call from her brother that ends in mid-sentence with a woman screaming in the background. Being the dependable sister that she is, she catches the next flight down to Miami to find out what happened. Alex soon discovers that her brother has gone missing with a recent Cuban immigrant who may or may not know the location of a warhead and a fortune in gold. She cuts down the inept bad guys with her wit and a few well-placed accidental kicks and moves. For fans of the author's "Stephanie Plum" series, the book is a letdown as there are moments when readers have to suspend disbelief and accept contrived plot twists. Evanovich is better at dialogue than description, which may frustrate some seasoned readers, but the dialogue is what keeps the story moving and is, ultimately, the novel's saving grace.-Erin Dennington, Chantilly Regional Library, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Tulsa World
“The action is lickety-split”
Boston Globe
“Moves at a breezy pace, engaging the reader...fun in the Florida fast lane.”
Kansas City Star
“Clever, approachable characters.”
Tampa Tribune
“Clever, fast-paced.”
Raleigh News & Observer
“A quirky, fast-paced thriller.”
Pittsburgh Tribune
“Breezy.”
Detroit Free Press
“A fast, crisp book.”
Newhouse News Service
“A lot of fun.”
Orlando Sentinel
“A rib-splitting debut.”
Washington Post
“Sheer comic ingenuity.”
Reviewingtheedvidence.com
“Cracking fun.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“This is a bright and breezy book, and a welcome change for Evanovich fans.”
New York Times
“A spunky heroine....cheery.”
Columbus Dispatch
“The characters are breezy and spontaneous....Evanovich’s story has attitude.”
Arizona Republic
“Screwball entertainment.”
Miami New Times
“A mysterious romp involving cold-blooded murder and a sexy NASCAR driver.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061798184
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Series: Alex Barnaby Series , #1
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 13,745
  • File size: 373 KB

Meet the Author

Janet  Evanovich

Bestselling author Janet Evanovich is the winner of the New Jersey Romance Writers Golden Leaf Award and multiple Romantic Times awards, including Lifetime Achievement. She is also a long-standing member of RWA.

Biography

When plucky Stephanie Plum lost her job as a lingerie buyer, she had little other choice than to take a position working for her cousin Vinnie's bail-bonds office where she'd spend her days and nights hunting down fugitives, solving mysteries, and falling ass-backwards into adventure. Come to think of it, Ms. Plum has more than a little in common with her creator Janet Evanovich.

Much like the panty-pushing Plum, Evanovich once made her trade in erotica as a romance novelist for the trashy Bantam series "Loveswept." Tiring of the genre and finding herself increasingly fixated on crime, mystery, and the kind of adventures she came to love through comic books like Uncle Scrooge, she decided to ditch steamy stories in favor of off-the-wall humor and feats of daring. As Evanovich said on her website, "after twelve romance novels I ran out of sexual positions and decided to move into the mystery genre."

The resulting Stephanie Plum Mysteries reflect Evanovich's love for comics, toys, shoe-shopping, Cheez Doodles, and beer. Evanovich also created a memorable character that shares many of the author's distinctive traits, such as her self-effacing, dirty-minded wit. The Plum Mysteries, while often rambling and thin on plot, are never anything less than entertaining, hilarious, and refreshing in every way.

Stephanie Plum made her debut in 1994's One For the Money, in which she tracked down Joe Morelli, an ex-cop and murder suspect who'd also been guilty of taking Stephanie's virginity when she was 18. The novel's sly mix of sexiness and childlike playfulness made for a sort of young adult novel for adults.

Since then, the red-hot bounty hunter and a crew of misfits that includes retired hooker Lula, aging bail-jumper Eddie Decooch, and Plum's own hipster granny have romped their way "through the numbers," establishing Evanovich as one of the best and most inventive writers of "Strong Woman" mysteries and guaranteeing her a place on the New York Times bestseller list.

In 2004, Evanovich introduced a smart, savvy new series featuring Alexander "Barney" Barnaby, a sexy Baltimore car mechanic, NASCAR nut, and amateur sleuth with her own posse of delightful eccentrics. She's not Plum, but she's definitely a peach. Hey, what else would you expect from a Janet Evanovich heroine?

Good To Know

Evanovich's motorcycle-riding daughter Alex has created an online comic about her hamster called "Batster," which her mother proudly displays on her web site. With episodes like "Batster vs. Beerzilla," it's clear that wackiness runs in the Evanovich genes.

If you think the Stephanie Plum novels are zany, wait till you hear about what Evanovich was writing before she started getting published. As she explains on her web site, "The first story [I ever wrote] was about the pornographic adventures of a fairy who lived in a second rate fairy forest in Pennsylvania."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Steffie Hall
    2. Hometown:
      Hanover, New Hampshire
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 22, 1943
    2. Place of Birth:
      South River, New Jersey
    1. Education:
      B.A., Douglass College, 1965
    2. Website:

First Chapter

Metro Girl LP

Chapter One

Just because I know how to change a guy's oil doesn't mean I want to spend the rest of my life on my back, staring up his undercarriage. Been there, done that. Okay, so my dad owns a garage. And okay, I have a natural aptitude for rebuilding carburetors. There comes a time in a girl's life when she needs to trade in her mechanic's overalls for a pair of Manolo Blahnik stilettos. Not that I can afford a lot of Manolos, but it's a goal, right?

My name is Alexandra Barnaby, and I worked in my dad's garage in the Canton section of Baltimore all through high school and during summer breaks when I was in college. It's not a big fancy garage, but it holds its own, and my dad has a reputation for being an honest mechanic.

When I was twelve my dad taught me how to use an acetylene torch. After I mastered welding, he gave me some spare parts and our old lawn mower, and I built myself a go-cart. When I was sixteen, I started rebuilding a ten-year-old junker Chevy. I turned it into a fast car. And I raced it in the local stocks for two years.

"And here she comes, folks," the announcer would say. "Barney Barnaby. Number sixteen, the terror of Baltimore County. She's coming up on the eight car. She's going to the inside. Wait a minute, I see flames coming from sixteen. There's a lot of smoke now. Looks like she's blown another engine. Good thing she works in her dad's garage."

So I could build cars, and I could drive cars. I just never got the hang of driving them without destroying them.

"Barney," my dad would say. "I swear you blow those engines just so you can rebuild them."

Maybe on an unconscious level. The brain is a pretty weird thing. What I knew was that on a conscious level, I hated losing. And I lost more races than I won. So, I raced two seasons and packed it in.

My younger brother, Wild Bill, drove, too. He never cared if he won or lost. He just liked to drive fast and scratch his balls with the rest of the guys. Bill was voted Most Popular of his senior class and also Least Likely to Succeed.

The class's expectation for Bill's success was a reflection of Bill's philosophy of life. If work was any fun, it would be called play. I've always been the serious kid, and Bill's always been the kid who knew how to have a good time. Two years ago, Bill said good-bye Baltimore and hello Miami. He liked the lazy hot sun, the open water, and the girls in bikinis.

Two days ago, Bill disappeared off the face of the earth. And he did it while I was talking to him. He woke me up with a phone call in the middle of the night.

"Barney," Bill yelled over the phone line. "I have to leave Miami for a while. Tell Mom I'm okay."

I squinted at my bedside clock. Two AM. Not late for Bill who spent a lot of time in South Beach bars. Real late for me who worked nine to five and went to bed at ten.

"What's that noise?" I asked him. "I can hardly hear you."

"Boat engine. Listen, I don't want you to worry if you don't hear from me. And if some guys show up looking for me, don't tell them anything. Unless it's Sam Hooker. Tell Sam Hooker he can kiss my exhaust pipe."

"Guys? What guys? And what do you mean, don't tell them anything?"

"I have to go. I have to ... oh shit."

I heard a woman scream in the background, and the line went dead.


Baltimore is cold in January. The wind whips in from the harbor and slices up the side streets, citywide. We get a couple snowstorms each year and some freezing rain, but mostly we get bone-chilling gray gloom. In the midst of the gray gloom, pots of chili bubble on stoves, beer flows like water, sausages are stuffed into hard rolls, and doughnuts are a necessity to survival.

Miami, it turns out, is hot in January. I'd taken the midday flight out of BWI, arriving in Miami midafternoon. When I left home I was wrapped in a quilted down-filled coat, cashmere Burberry scarf, fleece-lined boots, and heavy-duty shearling mittens. Perfect for Baltimore. Not great for Miami. On arrival, I'd crammed the scarf and mittens into the mediumsize duffel bag that hung from my shoulder, wrapped my coat around the duffel bag handle, and went in search of the taxi stand. Sweat was soaking into my Victoria's Secret Miracle Bra, my hair was plastered to my forehead, and I was sucking in air that felt like hot soup.

I'm thirty years old now. Average height and average build. I'm not movie-star gorgeous, but I'm okay. My hair is naturally mousy brown, but I started bleaching it blond when I decided to stop being a grease monkey. It's currently platinum and cut in a medium-length shaggy kind of style that I can punk up with paste if the occasion arises. I have blue eyes, a mouth that's a little too big for my face, and a perfect nose inherited from my Grandma Jean.

My parents took Bill and me to Disney World when I was nine. That's the extent of my in-the-flesh Florida experience. The rest of my Florida knowledge consists mainly of horrific bug stories from my mom's friend Elsie Duchen. Elsie winters in Ocala with her daughter. Elsie swears there are cockroaches as big as cows in Florida. And she says they can fly. I'm here to tell you, if I see a cow-size cockroach fly by, I'm gone ...

Metro Girl LP. Copyright © by Janet Evanovich. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Interviews & Essays

An Interview with Janet Evanovich

Bestselling author Janet Evanovich gets off to a quick start in Metro Girl, and the sizzling South Florida setting is only one of the surprises in store for readers this time out.

The real scorcher is the news that Metro Girl is an exciting detour from Evanovich's beloved Stephanie Plum mystery series. This fast-paced thriller introduces readers to Alexandra Barnaby -- a brainy, brash, big-city gal navigating through mayhem and murder in unfamiliar territory from Daytona to Key West, as she searches for her missing brother. Her venture into the steamy wilds of Florida includes unexpected car chases, NASCAR racing, explosions, and more The story also generates passion when her search merges with handsome, hard-headed local guy Sam Hooker's hunt for his stolen boat…with her wild baby brother as the prime suspect.

Janet Evanovich made a pit stop to tell Ransom Notes readers about this latest lap in her exhilarating writing career:

Ransom Notes: The first thing everyone wants to know is whether you're planning Metro Girl as a stand-alone novel or as the kick-off for a new series?

Janet Evanovich: I actually haven't decided. It was originally meant as a stand-alone, but I had a lot of fun writing the book and I've really become attached to the characters.

RN: Is there anything from your personal experience that inspired Metro Girl?

JE: Two things: The first is that I had such a terrific time doing research in South Florida that I ended up buying a house there! And the second thing is that I've turned into a NASCAR junkie. I love the speed and the noise and the way NASCAR has made the entire production accessible to the fan. I especially love Dale Earnhardt Jr. advertising fried chicken, wearing a hat that says "I eat what tastes good." How could you not love a man who'd wear that hat!

After saying that, I probably should explain quickly that this is not a NASCAR book. The story takes place during the off season and is only about NASCAR in that one of my protagonists is a NASCAR driver. Sam Hooker is NASCAR GUY -- a lovable macho jerk with a lot of hero potential. He'd wear the fried chicken hat in a heartbeat.

RN: What was the biggest difference for you between writing Metro Girl and writing a Stephanie Plum book?

JE: My biggest fear was that after ten "Plums" I wouldn't be able to get out of Stephanie's head. I had a brand-new setting and a great story line -- but, until I started writing, I worried that Alexandra Barnaby would be a Stephanie clone. As it turned out, the two protagonists have such strong and unique personalities that my fear was ungrounded. I loved writing Metro Girl. I loved the exotic Florida setting. I wanted something hot, with attitude and energy...and that's Miami. Plus it meant I had to do lots of research in South Beach! My webmaster daughter and I spent hours there, observing men in thongs and Speedos. Also, I enjoyed writing more of a thriller than anything I've put in a Stephanie Plum story. The stakes in Metro Girl are higher and international. I also really love the two protagonists here. And, while Metro Girl is told from Alexandra Barnaby's point of view, it's a dual-protagonist book, with Sam Hooker getting almost equal time. Of course, as in all my books, readers can expect to find some sex, some pizza, some cussing, some fast-paced action, and some scenes that will make them smile. My goal is always to make sure readers feel good when they finish one of my books.

RN: There's one last thing readers are clamoring to know. Will you be writing more Stephanie Plum books?

JE: Of course! I'm working on No. 11 right now.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 186 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(63)

4 Star

(51)

3 Star

(38)

2 Star

(17)

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(17)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 187 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    An interesting departure

    I fell in love with Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plumb series years ago and have been a loyal reader ever since. When I found that she had another series, I picked up this fist book with great anticipation. I was not disappointed.

    While not nearly as tongue-in-cheek as the beloved but clueless bounty hunter, Metro Girl is funny, lighthearted, and still thrilling. Alexandra (Barney) Barnaby, is a fresh and endearing character, and Evanovich manages to steer her in and out of trouble without becoming clichéd or redundant. Barney is smart enough to figure things out, tough enough to drive stock cars, and girly enough to feint when she gets giant spiders in her hair.

    Overall, I enjoyed Metro Girl enough that I will be picking up the rest of the series. It'll give me something to read while I wait for the next Stephanie Plumb to come out!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted November 29, 2004

    Stephanie Plum It's Not, But It's Good

    Metro Girl is a good read, if you're not trying to compare it to the Stephanie Plum series. Barney Barnabas is a funny character, likeable and quirky, and her unintentional sidekick Hooker is typical Janet Evanovich. The plot is good if far fetched, but well worth reading. The book would be great if you'd never heard of Stephanie Plum, but it's still pretty good if you have. I'm looking forward to the next Evanovich, whether Plum or Barnaby.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2013

    Sam & Barney pull it off!

    Awesome Chemistry between Sam & Barney! The supporting cast is a hoot!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2013

    Recommend

    Good book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted November 28, 2012

    Love it

    I love reading a new series with different characters in funny situations!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 14, 2012

    Bored and did not finish the book.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted May 7, 2014

    A fun easy read

    Just go along for the ride and enjoy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 6, 2014

    Good job as usual.

    I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2014

    Selena

    Waits.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2014

    Love it

    I loved it even more than the Stephanie Plum series!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 17, 2013

    A funny, entertaining read.

    I got hooked and Evanovich's books with the Plum series, and I have worked my way through all of them. Metro Girl is the same entertaining read. I enjoy the prose and the story, anyone looking for well-written entertainment should read it.

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

    Posted February 15, 2013

    Recommend

    Metro Girl will not disappoint fans of Evanovich. It's a quick, easy to read good time!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 31, 2012

    Metro Girl isn't really a departure for Evanovich,as much as it

    Metro Girl isn't really a departure for Evanovich,as much as it is a simple change in scenery.  As in her Plum series (which I love, by the way), you have your female protagonist Alexandra Barnaby (aka Barney), her on-again/off-again beau  Hooker, an obnoxiously adorable canine in St. Bernard Beans, and an oddball cast of supporting characters including Barnie's friend and occasional co-conspirator Felicia. The plot is really beside the point. All you need to know is that trouble happens and  hi-jinks and hilarity ensue. Janet's signature situational comedy, oddball characters, and bumbling detective aesthetic are in full force here. Overall, beyond the new characters and change in setting, there is very little substantial difference between the Barnaby and Stephanie Plum series, but that really shouldn't matter. Evanovich's strength is her ability to consistently deliver light romance/mystery with memorable characters and  lots of laughs and, while it's probably not as strong as her best Plum novels (the story lags in places), it certainly does the job. It's certainly worthwhile for Evanovich fans.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2012

    Ihhjjo

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    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2012

    Bored with most of it. But Janet - You are awesome.

    Bored with most of it. But Janet - You are awesome.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2012

    Big fan

    I am a big fan of all her books. This series is just as fun as plum! I plan to read every book she has ever written .

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  • Posted March 28, 2010

    May seem a little slow as you meet the characters at the beginning, but well worth it. The characters are lovable, unique, and just lots of fun!

    This is a fun action adventure for both men and women. I would normally classify Janet Evanovich as a great writer for women. I laughed so hard during "Motor Mouth" the second book in the series, I had to go back and get "Metro Girl". I passed the books along to a male friend of mine and even he enjoyed them. He typically reads science fiction and action adventure. He would never dream of reading Evanovich especially since the books are pink... but the books are full of action and hilarious characters!

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  • Posted October 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Bit Dissappointing

    This is the first book I've read by Janet Evanovich. I have heard so many good things about her, but I must say that I was disappointed with this book. While there was some humor involved, I did not feel a connection with the characters. Unfortunately I did not have a satisfied feeling when I was done with the book either. I am sure that will try another of her novels, perhaps this wasn't the best one to start with.

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  • Posted July 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    One of my favorites

    I absolutely loved this book. I read it after reading all of the Plum books, and I didn't have any problem enjoying it. Since first reading it, I have read the book four times. It never ceases to entertain me, and I have to admit for being able to reread, I like it better than the Plum books.

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Book Reveiw For Metro Girl. (Mrs.Q class)

    I picked this book because the cover cought my eye. It didnt look like any other book around it. To my suprise when i started reading it was REALLY GOOD. alex a small town girl, heading to miami to save her brother in need. Along the way she runs into hottie NASCAR driver "Sam Hoocker" With All kinds of dramtic events along the way she fights her way to find her brother and make it out alive. <BR/><BR/>*This has to be one of my favortie books. i normal dont like to read, but i couldnt but this one down. I deffently thing you should read this book. 5 star rating.

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