Category: Chick-Lit


Airhead by Meg Cabot

Airhead by Meg Cabot
ISBN-13: 978-0545040549
Point, New York, 2008
352 p.

GENRE: Chick-lit

TEASER: Em Watts is dead, well not quite. Em has switched bodies with the most famous teen model in the world. Can she convince everyone that she’s Nikki Howard?

SUMMARY: Emerson (Em) Watts is far more interested in playing computer games with her best friend/secret crush Christopher than having anything to do with the vain popular crowd. All of this changes when a horrible accident causes her to switch bodies with Nikki Howard, famous teen supermodel for Stark. But Stark needs Nikki alive. Now Em is told she is legally dead and she must pretend to be Nikki Howard. But something’s not right with the people Nikki works for and it’s getting harder and harder to convince the world the she is Nikki Howard.

CRITIQUE: The book is written in first person perspective. The main character, Em, is very relatable. She is smart and happy with her life. She doesn’t like the same things as her appearance obsessed sister. She believes that a girl would be seen for her mind and not what jeans she wore yesterday. It was interesting to look at the shift of her character later on in the book. Once she becomes immersed in this superficial world, her opinions begin to change on some things. However, she’s still not happy with her situation and she wants her old life back. She likes being notices my attractive guys but she misses her family and her friend Christopher. I appreciated that even though she could see a deeper side of people like Nikki and Lulu she didn’t completely change her believes and values.

The romantic relationships in this book become quite complicated the instant Nikki is in the picture. I felt rather bad for Em when she though that Gabriel was there for her in the hospital. It’s quite depressing that she is lost in the shadow of Nikki Howard. The only ones who seem to be affected by her “death” are her family and her friend Christopher. There is also a sadness to Nikki’s best friend’s character, Lulu. She seems jaded by her lifestyle and doesn’t appreciate everything she has.

The story is the first in a trilogy so there is a lot that is left unclear. We see hints that the Stark corporation is up to something. There is also a hint at the end that Em might have been able to show Christopher some proof that she is still alive. I wouldn’t say it ended with a cliff-hanger but there are definitely plenty of unanswered questions to keep readers coming back for more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Meg Cabot is the New York Times bestselling author of The Princess Diaries series. The Princess Diaries has sold over 16 million copies and has been translated into 38 languages. She is also the author of The Abandon Trilogy, the Avalon High series, the All-American Girl series.

Cabot worked for ten years as an assistant resident hall director for New York University. She is known to write some of her novels entirely through emails and text messages. She used to write under several pen names but now writes exclusively under her real name. She currently lives in Key West with her husband and two cats.

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: http://www.megcabot.com/

READING LEVEL 12+

CHALLENGE ISSUES: N/A

DEFENSE: N/A

CURRICULUM TIES: N/A

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: In the book, Em is nearly invisible to all boys except Christopher; however, when she is in Nikki’s body, she can’t seem to keep the boys off of her. What kind of message do you feel this is sending to the audience? Do you think Cabot is simply being realistic?

WHY INCLUDED: I initially read this book because my roommate suggested it. I knew Meg Cabot is a popular chick-lit author for young adults. I also knew from working at Borders that this series is heavily marketed to teens.

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Private by Kate Brian

Private by Kate Brian
ISBN-13: 978-1-4169-1873-8
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, New York, June 2006
240 p.

GENRE: Chick-lit

TEASER: The Billing girls are vicious and powerful. They will do anything to keep their secrets. Reed will do anything it takes to become one of them.

SUMMARY: Reed Brennan has been dreaming of going to the ultra-exclusive Easton Academy for years. She’d give anything to get out of her boring town and away from her pill-popping mother. When she gets a scholarship to Easton she thinks it’s a dream come true. She soon realizes how different these people are, but she longs to be one of them. The people she wants acceptance from the most are the glamorous Billings girls. They are a highly exclusive group that is invitation only. But is it worth the constant bullying to become one of them? Reed thinks so, and she will do anything to become one of them.

CRITIQUE: This book was written in a first person perspective through Reed’s character. I found Reed to be very relatable. She is desperate to get away from her verbally abusive mother and start a new life. She is painfully vulnerable to the ridicule that the Billings girls dish out. We also see how easily manipulated she is with her boyfriend Thomas. She shows signs of violence and addiction and Reed just keeps forgiving him. He also pressures her into losing her virginity. Some of the characters are a little one dimensional in the first book. There are a lot of facades amongst Noelle and her crew that have yet to come down.

I was surprised how much I liked this book. I usually scoff at chick-lit novels that center around over privileged girls who are cruel and arrogant. I find it very fascinating how the adolescent psychology was handled. You can really see how teens are pressured by social structures in school. I fear that girls like Reed are more common than I would like to believe. Even if this book is dramatized, I can see a lot of reality in the way these girls behave.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kate Brian is the pen name of Kieran Scott. She has written more than twenty-five novels. The Private series has been made into a web series. Some of her other titles include: A Non-Blonde Cheerleader in Love, The Virginity Club, She’s So Dead to Us, and Brunettes Strike Back.

Kieran Scott was born and raised in New Jersey. She graduated from Rutgers University with a double major in English and Journalism. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and son.

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: http://www.privatetheseries.com/

READING LEVEL 13+

CHALLENGE ISSUES: Some people might object to the presences of drugs, sexual situations, alcohol and immoral behavior in this novel.

DEFENSE: I would suggest looking at the ALA’s support page for challenged materials.

CURRICULUM TIES: N/A

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: How do you think the Billings girls compare to normal high school bullies? Are they really that different?

WHY INCLUDED: Series that feature rich and powerful girls in scandalous situations are quite popular today. Even though I’m not a fan of this type of reading, I felt that I should include it because teens are reading these books. I wanted to see how good or how bad they really are. As far as this book goes, they are not nearly as bad as I expected. I think there are far worse television shows out there.

The Fight by L. Divine

The Fight by L. Divine
ISBN-13: 978-0758216335
Dafina, New York, 2006
208 p.

GENRE: Chick-Lit

TEASER: When KJ breaks up with Jayd because she won’t give it up, all she wants is a clean slate. But can she avoid fighting with Trecee and stop all of the drama?

SUMMARY: After being dumped by KJ, a cute and popular basketball player, because she wouldn’t give up the cookies, all sixteen-year-old Jayd Jackson wants is to start her junior year off without drama. This is easier said than done at South Bay High, or Drama High as it’s nicknamed. Drama High is a predominantly white school in a wealthy part of L.A. with a small population of Compton kids. Jayd is book smart and street smart and not afraid to put up a fight when people start hating. Her ex-best friend Misty starts is telling lies to Trecee, KJ’s new girlfriend. Now Trecee wants a fight. Is there anyway Jayd can stop the fight and the drama?

CRITIQUE: The book is written in first person voice. The language is very causal with some Ebonics. There are moments where this makes it confusing to read. However, I felt that it was not so overly filled with Ebonics that it would confuse the reader. There are numerous flashbacks in the book. This would sometimes annoy me but I felt that it was done well. They were not separated from the main text but they were distinguished by italicizing the flashbacks. Another interesting feature of this book is that each chapter has a quote from a rap or R&B artists at the beginning that relates to the chapter.

This book deals with race issues quite a bit. I really enjoyed how the community and some of the social issues were treated in this book. There is a scene where Jayd meets the South Central clique and is criticized for being smart. They look down on her for her academic achievements, and don’t believe she is really from Compton. There is also a lot of pressure on Jayd to have sex. Even her girlfriends think she’s not normal for not sleeping with KJ. There is also mention of social tensions with biracial relationships.

Divine did an excellent job at creating believable social structures and characters. On her website she states that she is writing for the girls in her community. She wants to get them into reading by creating characters they can relate to.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: L. Divine grew up in Compton. She has a Masters in African American Studies and Educational Psychology from UCLA. Aside from being an author she is a teacher in the L.A. Unified School District. She began writing the Drama High Series to inspire teens to read for pleasure.

The Drama High series began in 2006 and now contains 14 volumes. She is working on a new series; Drama U. Divine is very active in her community, volunteering in community programs and schools focusing on African American teens. She currently lives in L.A. with her two children.

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: http://dramahigh.com/

READING LEVEL: 13+

CHALLENGE ISSUES: Possible challenges for violence, drug use, and alcohol

DEFENSE: I would ask that people remember why these books were created. These books are based from a real community with similar issues.

I would also suggest looking at the ALA’s support page for challenged materials.

CURRICULUM TIES: N/A

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: L. Divine wrote the Drama High series for the teens in her community. Do you think that Jayd is relatable to teenagers outside of her community?

WHY INCLUDED: I felt like it was important to have a chick-lit novel that related to African American teens. Much of the chick-lit out on the market is whitewashed has little diversity.

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You
by Ally Carter
ISBN-13: 978-1423100041
Hyperion Books, New York, 2007
288 p.

GENRE: Chick-lit, Espionage, Romance

TEASER: Being a spy in training is easy. Trying to convince the boy of her dreams that she is a normal teenage girl may prove impossible.

SUMMARY: Cammie (Chameleon) Morgan is a fifteen-year-old student at Gallagher Academy, a top-secret boarding school for spies. Here students are taught how to deactivate a bomb using tweezers and a hair pin, speak fifteen languages, and kill a man in several different ways. On a practice mission, Cammie meets a boy, a normal boy. Now Cammie has her toughest assignment yet, pretend to be a normal teenage girl. How long can she juggle a double life and can she keep Josh from finding out who she really is?

CRITIQUE: This is a fun, light read. There is not a lot of diversity or development of the characters. Cammie shows some development throughout as she debates whether she has what it takes to be a real spy ad continue onto the more advanced training. She slowly gains more confidence in her abilities as a spy and her self image as a teenage girl. Cammie’s character is very relatable. She is smart and confident in her abilities as a spy but completely self conscious about how other people see her. There isn’t much complexities for the other characters. Carter gives you the feeling that Joe’s Solomon is hiding something. There are also brief hints of her mother’s inner feelings. She is normally seen as always put together and calm, but Cammie catches her crying alone at one point on her father’s birthday. I have a feeling that more of the characters will develop as the series continues.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ally Carter is a pen name. She is very protective about any information pertaining to he identity. After countless letters from fans wanting to write reports she finally decided to release some biographical information. She was born and raised in Oklahoma. Her mother was a teacher and her father was a farmer and rancher. She admits to being very active in high school organizations.

She has degrees from Oklahoma State University and Cornell University. She is the bestselling author of the Gallagher series and the Heist Society series. Her books have been published in over twenty countries.

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: http://allycarter.com/

READING LEVEL: 13+

CHALLENGE ISSUES: N/A

DEFENSE: N/A

CURRICULUM TIES: N/A

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: Joe Solomon is the new teacher keeping everyone on their toes. Do you think he is hiding something? Do you think it has something to do with Cammie’s father?

WHY INCLUDED: I wanted to include a spy novel for girls. We can’t let the boys have all the fun now can we?