The perils of popularity are showcased in a lighthearted contemporary novel filled with snappy dialogue. The fun begins when A-lister Dylan drops her designer handbag in a mall's fountain. Her geeky classmate Josh rescues it, and to return the favor, Dylan (reluctantly) agrees to star in his USC application film, documenting the "the inner workings of the in crowd" at Castle Heights High. Told from the alternating perspectives of the two teens, the story traces Dylan's fall from grace as her friends recognize her back-stabbing tendencies around the same time she is dumped by her handsome boyfriend. Her trials parallel Josh's rise in social status when Dylan gives him a makeover. Readers will likely feel more for Josh than for Dylan in the beginning (although his hypochondria does prove annoying), yet aspects of Dylan--even her shallowness--become increasingly endearing as her vulnerabilities come to light. Rather than following the predictable route of having opposites fall in love, Palmer (Cindy Ella) offers a slightly more original and plausible alternative. Ages 12-up. (Feb.)[Page 121]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Gr 9 Up--Dylan, the most popular girl in school, is dating the most popular guy, and people will trip over themselves to help her out. At least, that's what she's counting on when she accidentally tosses her expensive purse into a mall fountain--but film geek Josh's help comes at a price. He'll retrieve it in exchange for her participation in his documentary about popularity, which he hopes will secure him a place at--and a much-needed scholarship to--film school. At first, Josh's professional drive to finish his movie makes him an overly accommodating doormat to Dylan's divalike behavior, but she softens as he grows a spine and they begin a tentative friendship. When the girl's popularity crumbles at the hands of her now-ex boyfriend, Josh has the opportunity to be the real friend she's needed all along. Dylan and Josh tell their story in alternating chapters. While his voice is that of a mildly geeky Everyman, Dylan's is spoiled and demanding. Her trivial rich-girl problems won't garner much reader sympathy, especially when compared to Josh's own financial status and social exile. The plot is predictable, and the compressed time line of one month seems unrealistic for such a close relationship to develop. Still, the writing is sharp and, at times, funny, so these flaws won't detract from teens' enjoyment of this riches-to-rags title.--Brandy Danner, Wilmington Memorial Library, MA[Page 170]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.