Following her parents' separation, Zahra is forced into group therapy, where she meets Kali and Syd. The three girls quickly find that fractured families are not all they have in common—it turns out that they are all dating the same guy. Despite their differences, they find they are all good at one thing: revenge. After trashing their boyfriend's car and then his reputation, they decide to offer their services to others. The specialty at Love, Inc., is initially payback, but the three jilted girls find they have a wider range of love-related services to offer. Genuinely endearing, narrator Zahra reacts authentically to betrayal, her parents' separation and the confusion of assimilating her Pakistani and Scottish-American roots. Smart dialogue and a hip cast of characters keep the story engaging. ÃÂ Unfortunately, the plot is too often bogged down by superfluous details that make the book read more like a visitor's guide to Austin, Texas, than a fast-paced novel of romance and revenge. (Fiction. 12 & up)Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
This overlong story focuses on high school sophomore Zahra Ahmed-MacDuff--part Pakistani, part Scottish-American--whose parents recently separated. Forced to join a support group for "teens who have ‘families in transition,' " she meets flirty Kali and artistic Syd. When the girls learn they are all dating the same guy, they pull off an over-the-top revenge scheme that leads to the formation of Love, Inc., which helps couples "match, patch, and dispatch," depending on which service is needed. Soon the friends are staking out possible cheaters, mediating breakups, and doling out revenge pranks (these can be vicious: they do ,000 worth of damage to their ex's car). Collins and Rideout (Girl v. Boy) are most successful when focusing on Zahra's struggle with her ethnic identity; her Pakistani grandparents want her to be more traditional, but she blames their strictness for her family's breakup and wants to prove that "Zahra Ahmed-MacDuff isn't ashamed to be hyphenated." While Zahra eventually comes to terms with her identity and family, even readers who buy the far-fetched premise will have trouble tracking Love, Inc.'s long client list and several subplots. Ages 11-up. (Jan.)[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC
Gr 7 Up--Tenth-grader Zahra Ahmed-MacDuff struggles with her Pakistani/Scottish-American heritage as well as with her parents' recent separation. She is placed in group counseling with other teens where she meets Kali and Syd. Much to the girls' surprise, they soon find that they have more in common than divorcing parents: the same boyfriend. They are being three-timed by Eric (aka Rico and Rick). The girls plan and orchestrate their revenge on Eric with precision and style. Their Austin, TX, community can't help but notice, and soon word gets around that the trio can be hired for all manner of romantic troubles; thus Love, Inc., is born, specializing in matchmaking, mediation, surveillance, breaking up, and revenge. Business is booming and the teens' friendship also blooms. Through Love, Inc., the girls discover their own strengths and work with them to understand the confusing world of relationships, including their own. Several subplots keep the book flowing and interesting. The three main characters are well-developed, each with her own quirks and fortes, and the supporting cast members are also refreshingly multidimensional. Not necessarily a quick read, but still a worthy one for teens wanting a book that is fun while still containing some substance.--Mindy Whipple, West Jordan Library, UT[Page 108]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.