Wednesday 2 September 2009

Review - The Queen of Cool / Cecil Castellucci

Summary - On the outside, Libby Brin is the most popular girl in school. She has the coolest friends, the hottest boyfriend, the trendiest clothes, and the hippest parents. But on the inside, Libby is dying - of boredom. In a moment of desperation, Libby signs up for an internship at the L.A. Zoo, much to the dismay of her friends, who'd prefer she spend her time with them, shopping, partying, and making fun of everyone else. To Libby, the zoo gig seems like something, anything, different to do, even if it means she has to work with two nerds - Tina (aka "Tiny"), a little person and aspiring actress, and Sheldon, an introverted boy with a brilliant, inquiring mind. But what happens when Libby realizes she actually enjoys working at the zoo and may even like Tina and Sheldon? Will the QUEEN OF COOL be forced to give up her crown?

Review -Cecil Castellucci is an author that had only recently bleeped on the Persnickety Snark radar via the fantastic Beige. Queen of Cool falls into a trio of novels that Castelucci fondly calls her LA Trilogy though the books are independent of one another bar setting and girls realising they aren’t who they thought they were.

Castellucci is an author that is easy to gravitate and attach yourself to. She’s brilliant at telling contemporary fish-out-of-water teen tales. Considerably shorter than Beige, Queen of Cool tells Libby’s story. She’s one of those popular girls who is bored out of her vacant little brain. It’s not surprising that she’s bored when she’s apparently using 0.01% of her brain capacity to get her fellow students to follow stupid crazes ( e.g. pencil day, pyjamas day) just to inspire some spark in her life. So with little enthusiasm, Libby joins the Zoo’s intern program and is forced to spend time with Tina (a dwarf), Shelton (acne sufferer) and a myriad of exotic animals.

Unfortunately this small tome is a little forced. The “new” friends are at the extremes of teen society and Libby’s evolution comes across a little forced and simple. The conclusion of the book sees Libby about to make the jump to actually trying in her life. In a way this book is all about those signposts we have in life that change is necessary. Unfortunately there were a few too many signposts and not enough self-awareness in the character for me. Had this book been longer and contained more development with the secondary characters floating around it would have been more than a surface read.

Published: 2006
Format: Paperback, 176 pages
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
Origin: USA
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The Book Owl said...

Nice review. :) I've never read this and I've always wondered if it was any good.

bks2plz said...

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Synopsis: On their way home from baseball tryouts, Brad Colby and his two sons are involved in a terrible car accident that leaves six-year-old Pete in a coma. When Pete awakens, the family is crushed to learn that he is paralyzed.

Meanwhile, Pete’s eight-year-old brother, Jason, has been having powerful dreams that lead him to a mysterious realm known as DreamWorld. Jason discovers that all of his desires can come true in DreamWorld, but the time is fast approaching when he will have to choose between his two worlds.

And when more devastating news strikes at the heart of the Colby family, Jason and Pete set out on a desperate attempt to find the Gateway to DreamWorld and save their family. With time running out on their dangerous path, will Jason and Pete’s fear of the Unknown keep them from reaching the paradise of their dreams?

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Brenda Estacio