Being the new girl is tough—just ask sixteen-year-old Rio Jones. A New York transplant, Rio has no clue how she's going to fit in at her fancy new private school in Southern California. Plus, being late, overdressed, and named after a Duran Duran song doesn't make the first day any easier.
Then, Rio meets Kristi. Beautiful, rich, and a cheerleader, Kristi is the queen bee of Newport Beach, and she isn't friends with just anyone, so Rio is thrilled when she's invited to be part of the most exclusive, popular clique. At first, Rio is having a great time, but as she becomes more immersed in the jet set crowd, she discovers an unwritten rule that her new friends forgot to mention: don't cross Kristi...
Right off the bat, even just reading the blurb on the back of the book, I knew that it was going to be reminiscent of Mean Girls. I enjoyed Mean Girls when I was younger, so nothing made me think I wouldn't enjoy this story. However, everything that I didn't like in Mean Girls... I didn't like in this novel.
Rio, our main girl, starts out as a slightly awkward yet stronger girl. Sure, she's unsure of herself but she doesn't give much thought to what everyone thinks of her and she doesn't have to be popular to enjoy her days at school. At least... that's what I thought. Then she begins socializing with the popular girls at school and she changes - drastically. Suddenly she's too cool to hang out with her other friends, she likes to party, she likes to experiment with alcohol and drugs... basically, she turns into a follower. A very annoying one at that. Even her dialogue changes to fit the new personality she seems to have grown into. There are things she says in this novel (A LOT of things, actually) that made me want to roll my eyes. Like this:
JC looks at Tyler, eyes narrowed, jaw clenched, hands shaking, And even though I'm totally against violence of any type, I have to admit a part of me is thinking:
Ohmygod! Are they gonna fight? Over me?
Because how cool would that be!
See? But, as the novel goes on, she gets a little better and even more tolerable. However, a small part of me couldn't help but think that Rio wasn't the only one I had problems with - I just picked on her the most because she was the protagonist. To be honest, she was a little flat. And even worse, all of the other characters seemed to be almost one-dimensional and fell flat for me as well - even predictable. The "good" characters seemed to be good, and the "bad" characters were bad - with almost no redeemable qualities whatsoever. I couldn't help but think that some of the situations the characters were in seemed a little far-fetched. I understand teens aren't saints, but it seemed as though every single character used some form of alcohol and/or drugs. It was a little much.
I bet you're probably thinking that I hate this story, right? Despite what I have said though, I did enjoy this story. Yes, there were things that I think should be different in the story.. but it doesn't mean that it's absolutely horrid for being a little outside of what I think makes a great story. There were definite redeeming qualities to the story. Alyson's writing, though a little too conversational and simple for my taste, flowed well enough and eased you through the story. The story itself, even if slightly far-fetched, is something that is relatable and has a decent message that can be taken away. There were some good supporting characters that I enjoyed, and even the revised cover caught my attention.
If you enjoy stories like Mean Girls, I'm sure that you will enjoy this novel. And you'll probably enjoy this if you're a fan of Noel's other stories as well.
Source: Young Adult Books Central
Title: Art Geeks and Prom Queens
Author: Alyson Noel
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Format: Paperback, 240 pages
Release Date: September 27, 2011
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