The Queen of Cool

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Overview

"Albert Camus meets Mariah Fredericks in this smart, edgy take on one adolescent’s search for identity and meaning in life." — KIRKUS REVIEWS

On the outside, Libby Brin is the most popular girl in school. But on the inside, Libby is dying — of boredom. In a moment of desperation, Libby signs up for an internship at the Los Angeles Zoo, much to the dismay of her friends, who’d prefer she spend her time with them, shopping, partying, and making fun of everyone else. Oddly, Libby ...

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The Queen of Cool

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Overview

"Albert Camus meets Mariah Fredericks in this smart, edgy take on one adolescent’s search for identity and meaning in life." — KIRKUS REVIEWS

On the outside, Libby Brin is the most popular girl in school. But on the inside, Libby is dying — of boredom. In a moment of desperation, Libby signs up for an internship at the Los Angeles Zoo, much to the dismay of her friends, who’d prefer she spend her time with them, shopping, partying, and making fun of everyone else. Oddly, Libby realizes that she actually enjoys her new job and that she may even like the two "nerds" she works with. Will the Queen of Cool be forced to give up her crown?

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Are you looking for a book that debunks the myth that popularity is all you need to succeed in life? Do you wish that, finally, being cool would not be equated with having it all? Look no further. Castellucci gives you Libby, the coolest chick in the school. She is the girl who can start trends while walking out of the school cafeteria, even when she is no longer into starting trends. Libby suddenly realizes that her life is meaningless; all the alcohol, sex, and drugs are getting her nowhere, but she is not sure how to change. When she decides to try an internship at the Los Angeles County Zoo, she is not sure if she is crazy to try it, or if she is trying it because she is crazy. She goes ahead and tries, and is surprised to find that she likes it. Libby even likes the dweebs—Tiny, the dwarf, and Sheldon, the epitome of a high school dork, treat Libby like a real person in spite of her high coolness factor. While Libby is busy changing her life, her dad, a successful advertising executive, begins to reexamine his own life, quitting his job and sitting around the house jamming on his guitar. The juxtaposition of both father and daughter rebelling against the box they find themselves in due to their own mistakes is a little too coincidental, trivializing what Libby has learned about her own life. The language and explicit sex in this book make it controversial, but will also add to its appeal for older readers. 2006, Candlewick Press, Ages 16 to 18.
—Wendy M. Smith-D'Arezzo
VOYA
This reviewer had not planned to like this book, which presents another story about the rich, self-centered, privileged airheads that seem to be populating magazines, movies, and young adult books even more than schools, Yet Libby Bin manages to overcome her Queen of Cool handicap and become an authentic human being with potential likeability. As queen of the self-defined cool clique, her only goal is to be the envy of the "normals" and keep life edgy through drinking, sex, and outrageous behavior-usually in public. In an act of rebellious individualism that even she does not understand, Libby signs up for an internship at the Los Angeles Zoo, where she is teamed with dorky Shelton and dwarf Tina (aka Tiny to the cool kids). Soon Libby finds the integrity she never recognized in herself. She starts to see the shallowness and cruelty in her usual friends and the genuine humanness of her zoo team members. There are many references to sex happening off page, but it seems more just something to do rather than as part of a loving, responsible relationship. Although the book reads like a middle school novel, one probably would not give it to a middle school student because of the sex. But because of its general immature tone and the characters' behaviors (Libby declares "Pencil Day" when members of her group tape pencils to their clothes), most high school students probably would not find it interesting. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P S (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, Candlewick, 173p., Ages 15 to 18.
—C. J. Bott
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Libby is cool to the max. However, she's bored with having all new clothes, her own car, and the freedom to go wherever she wants. She begins to question all of her self-indulgent and shallow friends, the drinking parties (with the parents' permission) and smoking pot, and the free sex that goes on without any love or commitment. When she signs up to become an intern at the Los Angeles Zoo, she meets some of the "uncool" kids and sees their strengths and begins to change. While some of this seems contrived and Libby's transformation is a bit facile, the book follows several recent movies that teens are watching. Cool will draw even reluctant readers, and the satisfying ending wraps up all the loose ends. Castellucci clearly knows what goes on in the lives of many teens. This novel should be as popular as her Boy Proof (Candlewick, 2005).-Gail E. Wellman, East Middle School, Binghamton, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Albert Camus meets Mariah Fredericks in this smart, edgy take on one adolescent's search for identity and meaning in life. The mastermind behind Pajama Day, the lone streaker at the high-school dance and IT girl, Libby suddenly finds that her cluster of reality-show wannabes, shallow friends and casual hookups leave her bored and empty inside. On a whim, she signs up for an internship at the Los Angeles Zoo. Among her socially and fashion-challenged zoo team, she meets Tina (aka Tiny), a Little Person with big confidence and dreams of being an actress. As Libby eventually becomes the last to hear the latest cool plan of the day, she wonders how Tina and her nerdy companions create passion in their everyday lives. When Libby's "friends" jeopardize Tina's intern position, she unexpectedly takes the heat and discovers that life among the common folk is actually quite extraordinary. (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher
Ms. Lew, an aspiring actress who can hardly fake being interested in teaching us, places her hands on the back of her chair and sighs heavily.

I bet we are the closest thing she ever comes to having an audience.
She turns and writes the words Endangered Species on the board in dry erase marker. She’s picked the color red. I can tell this is going to be a dramatic class.

"The world is in ecological crisis. Who can guess some of the causes for endangerment?" she asks.

A handful of kids in the front of the room raise their hands.

"Tina," Ms. Lew says as she calls on Tiny.

"Causes could include habitat loss, or the introduction of a new exotic species into the environment."

Showoff.

I wonder if Tiny has to sit in the front of the room because she can’t see over anybody’s head if she sits anywhere else. I wonder if that’s why she always raises her hand. I wonder if the classroom looks different from the front of the room. I bet it’s harder to not pay attention.

"Good, Tina." Ms. Lew says. "Anyone else? Libby? You have a look of deep thought on your face. Do you have anything to add?"

"Me?" I ask. I hate being singled out in class.

"No thoughts at all?"

"None I care to share," I say.

People laugh. Ms. Lew is not happy.

"How about overexploitation?" Sid calls out.

I turn to look at him as he acts the hero, thinking he’s saved my ass. He hasn’t. I could’ve come up with an acceptable answer. If I really wanted to.

"Good. How about some examples?" Ms. Lew says.

"Well, like people who think tiger bones will make them virile," Sid says.

People laugh. Louder.

I notice that Sid is not laughing. The word virile doesn’t make him crack a smile.

"Excellent," Ms. Lew says, her mood brightening a bit. She probably feels good about her performance today.

She starts writing down a million notes on the board. Pulling down maps. Handing out info sheets. She is excited.

But me, I am ready for a nap.

I open my loose-leaf notebook, propping it up in front of me. Then I put my head down on the desk.

It smells like pencil and hand.

_______

THE QUEEN OF COOL by Cecil Castellucci. Copyright © 2006 by Cecil Castellucci. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763627201
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 2/14/2006
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 510L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.49 (w) x 8.01 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

CECIL CASTELLUCCI is the author of the young adult novel BOY PROOF. She is also a writer, filmmaker, actress, and singer-songwriter, and engages in many, many other creative pursuits. She says, "Sometimes I feel cool and other times I feel like the biggest loser ever. So I started wondering, what would happen if everything you always thought was cool was suddenly lame? What would happen to you, if you were all of a sudden uncool? And what exactly is ‘cool,’ anyway? This story came out of a desire to figure it all out."

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Read an Excerpt

Ms. Lew, an aspiring actress who can hardly fake being interested in teaching us, places her hands on the back of her chair and sighs heavily.

I bet we are the closest thing she ever comes to having an audience. She turns and writes the words Endangered Species on the board in dry erase marker. She’s picked the color red. I can tell this is going to be a dramatic class.

"The world is in ecological crisis. Who can guess some of the causes for endangerment?" she asks.

A handful of kids in the front of the room raise their hands.

"Tina," Ms. Lew says as she calls on Tiny.

"Causes could include habitat loss, or the introduction of a new exotic species into the environment."

Showoff.

I wonder if Tiny has to sit in the front of the room because she can’t see over anybody’s head if she sits anywhere else. I wonder if that’s why she always raises her hand. I wonder if the classroom looks different from the front of the room. I bet it’s harder to not pay attention.

"Good, Tina." Ms. Lew says. "Anyone else? Libby? You have a look of deep thought on your face. Do you have anything to add?"

"Me?" I ask. I hate being singled out in class.

"No thoughts at all?"

"None I care to share," I say.

People laugh. Ms. Lew is not happy.

"How about overexploitation?" Sid calls out.

I turn to look at him as he acts the hero, thinking he’s saved my ass. He hasn’t. I could’ve come up with an acceptable answer. If I really wanted to.

"Good. How about some examples?" Ms. Lew says.

"Well, like people who think tiger bones will make them virile," Sid says.

People laugh. Louder.

I notice that Sid is not laughing. The word virile doesn’t make him crack a smile.

"Excellent," Ms. Lew says, her mood brightening a bit. She probably feels good about her performance today.

She starts writing down a million notes on the board. Pulling down maps. Handing out info sheets. She is excited.

But me, I am ready for a nap.

I open my loose-leaf notebook, propping it up in front of me. Then I put my head down on the desk.

It smells like pencil and hand.

_______

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

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(4)

4 Star

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3 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2014

    It is very good !

    Me and my cousin are kids and we are girls and it the best

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

    Posted January 28, 2013

    Horrible (tap to read)

    I would give this zero stars if i could because the stuff that they do is horrible for highschoolers. They drink beer smoke sware aton and lots of other bad things. I only got to the second page and she already swore like twice. I got to the part where she goes to the imformmational meeting abot the zoo internship and then quit. It was awful and almost hurt to read i should have quit right away. THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR KIDS!!!!!!!! DONT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE AS ME. Do not buy it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 1, 2012

    Not good

    I couldn't get into it. The story just dragged.

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

    Posted April 28, 2009

    Not So Great.

    I didn't really care for this book. There was alot about sex and it cussed constantly. I thought it got really old too, it would just mostly tell about her job at the zoo. I wouldn't recommend this.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 11, 2009

    A Very Good Book

    The book, The Queen Of Cool, is the best book I have ever read. The title means a girl who is the coolest girl at her school. My favorite chapter is chapter 47 because it shows a lot of feelings towards the girl she doesn't like, she is nicer than before. I recommend this book to girls that are 14 years of age or older, and they should be mature. This book has some inappropriate things for younger girls, and may be a bad influence. The sentence, "Good things come in small packages"(114). This sentence I appreciate because little people have a lot of good in them. I like this book a lot because it taught me some new things I never knew about. The new things the book taught me was that little people go through a lot of more problems than normall sized person. Such as, they get laughed at everyday, normall sized people stare a lot, and that they get their feelings hurt everyday.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 14, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Dena Landon for TeensReadToo.com

    Libby Brin is the popular girl. She has the right friends, the right clothes, and goes to all the right parties. Where she leads, the school follows, from "pencil day" to "funny walk day." But she's hiding a deep, dark secret. She's bored. No matter what she does, she doesn't feel alive. Which might explain the temporary insanity that causes her to sign up for an internship...at the zoo. When she's assigned to a team with two of the biggest losers in school she worries that her life as the Queen of Cool might be over. <BR/><BR/>In this light-hearted and funny novel, Castelluci explores typical teenage themes--finding yourself, and discovering what true friendship means--in her usual frank and honest style. Her prose is sparse, with no extra words or long descriptions, and short chapters make for a quick read. She unflinchingly portrays the reality of teenage life, from drinking at parties, to making out with boys, with a non-judgemental attitude that lets the reader draw their own conclusions about Libby's actions. Readers will be able to relate to Libby's struggles to feel like she belongs as she's changing and learning new things about herself, and growing away from friends she's had her whole life. <BR/><BR/>Recommended, especially for older, reluctant teen readers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2008

    Fantastic

    This book was so interesting!! I could never put it down, every second was just leaving my mouth an inch closer to the floor! It was the kind of thing every teenage girl would love to read, relates so much!! L-O-V-E it!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2008

    It was a very interesting book

    Queen of Cool was a very interesting and fun book to read. It never got dull. Once you start reading it you never want to stop. I would definitely recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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