Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Frenemies - Alexa Young

Summary - Avalon Greene Rules the fashion scene at her sunny SoCal middle school with a diamond-clad fist, giving props to classmates for their fashion-do's and calling them out for their most unfortunate clothes-pas. She's determined to host the social event of the season—a soiree in honor of her forever-friendship with Halley! Unfortunately, Halley's new look is one thing Avalon just can't celebrate.

Halley Brandon Just back from art camp, Halley can't wait to share her funky new style with her best friend, Avalon. But when Avalon cries fashion foul, Halley realizes her best friend's true colors may clash with her own. Has their ultra-fabulous friendship finally gone out of style?

From sharing custody of their puppy, Pucci, to drawing up a list of who gets which friends, Avalon and Halley discover what happens when you battle the person who knows everything about you—and isn't afraid to use your secrets to get what she wants.

Review - This is the first MG novel I have written a review for and as such I am trying to keep in mind the target audience and not think about how old I am! There is so much brand dropping that I was lost in the knowledge that I have zero fashion recall. But I know that the girls that I teach will relish in every label, every description and every colour and it's fabulously fun.

Halley and Avalon came across as blatantly superficial but I really didn't mind as their exploits were freaking hilarious. But this book has a heart, it may be clothed in Stella McCartney but these girl's actions are always motivated by the hurt the other has inflicted upon them. Friendships inevitably change and/or grow as we age. Despite their preoccupation with their garb, these girls are terrified they will lose one another in the shuffle. I did wonder what bonded them in the first place. We read of their Vogue fascination and being neighbours, was that all it took to become besties? What united them before art school and the summer forced them to grow independent of one another? It will be interesting to see what the fallout of the last event of this book will lead to in Faketastic.

This is a great, fun representation of what happens when you let snark go too far. As a teacher, I am no Ms Frey. I have the style of a blind woman with no friends but I was supremely irritated that she let it get as far as it did and then allowed it to go further. That being said, I loved the Daily posts and the comments made by random school bystanders.

There is a great sense of fun in Young's words but she also has a grasp on what the emotional beats of the story are. The snark keeps the story propelling forward while the introspection allows for the girls to question their actions (retrospectively of course!) I hope some of my students will read it, enjoy it, laugh at the hi jinks and maybe think twice about saying or writing something that may harm a beloved friendship.

**I also want to add that I felt the Aussie love in this book (or maybe I was reading way too much into it lol). From the Dead Romeos playing a birthday party as The Wiggles to a Crowded House t-shirt, I felt appreciated. Cheers.

Published: March 3 2009
Format: Paperback, 245 pages
Publisher: Random House, Aust.
Origin: USA
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Alexa Young's Website
Alexa's blog Alexicon

1 comment:

ALEXA YOUNG said...

Thanks for the lovely review, Adele! I just got my Australian copies today and--guess what? Aside from the cover, I believe it's identical to the U.S. book. And yes, I do have heaps of love for the Aussies. I mean, I have family there...and my son has had something of a Wiggles fixation since the age of two. As for Crowded House? I consider them one of the greatest bands of all time. I even worked for their record label (Capitol) and know people who know them. :) Thanks again. I'm looking forward to seeing what you think of Faketastic (perhaps I'll have to send you a copy of that one!). xo