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VOYAIn another week in the life of poor seventeen-year-old Anna Percy, even fabulous wealth and goddess-like good looks cannot alleviate family instability or answer questions of personal ethics. Fans of the A-List series know that Anna moved from New York City to the Los Angeles area to live with her father during her last semester of high school. Since the move (about six weeks and four books ago), Anna has become familiar with Cammie, Sam, Bee, Ben, Adam, and their parents-ready for sets of The OC and for the power brokers behind the scenes. In this volume, Anna flies to Mexico to check out a posh resort that her father is considering purchasing. She also plans to check out "hooking up"-sex with strangers, friends with benefits, etc. Following surfing, skinny-dipping, and shopping, the trip turns scary when Anna and Sam get lost in the Mexican desert. Sam is Dean's most interesting character: self-doubting, undervalued, and working to come to terms with a body apparently not destined for a runway-despite fashion investment. In novels bedecked with physical perfection, Target put-downs, and soaring egos, Sam seems almost real. Dean's escapist beach-blanket-lit serves up humor (Dee worries about her missing friends while contemplating what she might wear to their funerals), ethical situations (to consider loosely), hearty helpings of the f-word, and reassurance that wealth does not buy loving parents or self-confidence. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P J S (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2005, Little Brown, 295p., Trade pb. Ages 12 to 18.
—Patti Sylvester Spencer