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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Book Review: She's So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott


She's So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott

This book is quite timely, although it doesn't reference the bad economy specifically, our main character, Ally's, Dad has lost a bunch of money in an investment which not only ruins their family, but also most of their friends in their exclusive wealthy New Jersey enclave known as "the crest." Two years later, after her father has abandoned them, Ally and her mother move back, and try to rebuild their lives. But instead of being popular, they find they are outcasts, and the target of "mean girls."

Ally has to regroup, find new friends, a part-time job, and figure out high school from the side of the Norms (normals). Meanwhile, she's developed a big crush on Jake, a new kid in town who is actually living in her family's old house (ouch). She is hurt and bewildered by her old friends' new animosities, as she is unaware of the full fallout from her father's financial scheme, and she is also puzzled over the children blaming her for her father's mistakes.

As much as I love YA, I mostly stick to the classics but this new (5/2010) book really connected. I loved how it's written from an angle I haven't seen before. I loved that the adults were often just as bitchy as the teens. And even though it is certainly a current novel with references to texting, Christian Bale, and the Jonas Brothers, it is also universal. I definitely saw hints of John Hughes creeping in - from the rich best friend who disses her poor friend in Some Kind of Wonderful, to the rich kid who is embarrassed to ask his poor girlfriend to prom in Pretty in Pink. I give a lot of props to Kieran Scott for tackling a topic - classicism in high school - that is usually avoided (except by the aforementioned Mr. Hughes.)

The kids feel realistic and three-dimensional. Naturally Ally has to jump to conclusions a lot about Jake and also has to be very black-and-white with her feelings about him - or else it would be hard to drag out the tension in their relationship long enough to sustain a novel let alone three (I understand this book is the first in a trilogy, although my ARC doesn't mention that. Luckily I read a review that mentioned that, and the abrupt cliff-hanger ending, so I wasn't too shocked/disappointed when I came to that.) But that's also accurate as teenagers are very black and white a lot of the time, as they are figuring out ethics for themselves. I don't normally go for series, but I really am intrigued and want to know how this plays out. I'll be checking out the subsequent books.

This review is a part of Kid Konnection, hosted by Booking Mama, a collection of children's book-related posts over the weekend.

1 comment:

Julie P. said...

Fantastic review. Thanks for sharing. Your review makes me want to drop everything and check out this book.