Sophomores Winter Snow Simmons and best friend Sloane plan to skyrocket to the A-Table at Ocean High School courtesy of makeovers and open cheerleading tryouts. Winter quickly realizes that the popular crowd has rejected her takeover bid, but accepted Sloane's. Betrayed at the tryouts, Winter flees to New York where Easton, an artistic, older guy, rebuilds her confidence. Flying higher, she returns home to crush on her mother's new cashier, Rey, and to join his grunge band. As revenge for Sloane's betrayal, Winter assumes online pseudonym Eleanor Rigby and blogs the more spectacular of Sloane's past solecisms, eventually coming to regret her online musings and moving on with Rey. Although there are some unique aspects to this story-her mother's organic food store, Winter's interest in vintage bands-Noel, author of Art Geeks and Prom Queens (St. Martin's, 2005/VOYA October 2005), concocts a basic teen novel of popularity, obsession, and revenge. Sloane's behavior is Cruella de Vil-conniving, and Winter is the helpless victim entitled to her online revenge without consequences. The resolution is a mite pat, with Winter, her mother, and sister newly matched up with stellar guys. Nevertheless readers will empathize with Winter's desire to not be "invisible" as well as her need to be herself. Because the oft-used plot is rampantly popular with teenage girls, most libraries will want to find space on their shelves for this book despite a predictable course of events.
While not as nasty as Cecily von Ziegesar's "Gossip Girl" series (Little, Brown), this is no sisterhood story either. Winter and Sloane have been best friends in Laguna Beach since third grade and they've conspired all summer to get into the A-list group as sophomores. Sloane is accepted and summarily dumps her former friend. Winter gets even with a blog, referring to Sloane as "Pink Princess." Readers know that Winter isn't really as mean-spirited as her blog; she's mostly devastated by the betrayal. Luckily, this novel takes a mostly funny approach to revenge and has a lot more going for it than shallow teens. Winter's mom is fixated on '60s culture, even though it was way before her time, and she runs a café that offers smoothies based on songs of that era. She has recently hired a 16-year-old, Rey, who befriends Winter. During an impulsive trip to New York to see her father (Why, oh why do so many chick-lit main characters have former rock stars as dads?), she has a fling with his art-gallery intern. Winter shows real growth throughout the novel and finds her way with new friends, a boyfriend, and even her mother. A good choice for reluctant readers, the story also has enough substance to appeal to any reader, whether or not they'd do in those who done them wrong.
Tina ZubakCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.