Author: Adele Griffin
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Number of Pages: 168
I wasn’t sure about reading this book at first because I thought it might be a little too young for me. I guess I was right, although I strongly feel that YA and juvenile fiction can be compelling to adults as well as young people. This, however, was not compelling. It was readable and very short, but I don’t feel like it offered anything of value to me from reading it. This novel starts with a group of bitchy pre-teen girls going to their queen bee Caitlyn’s birthday party.
Caitlyn used to be friends with the odd one out in the clique, Gray, but they’ve drifted apart since they were young kids and Gray is afraid of being thrown out of the group once the other girls get sick of her. The party is just starting to warm up when Gray gets kidnapped. This is bad, of course, because Caitlyn’s birthday party will be absolutely wrecked if a lot of focus goes into finding Gray. When I started reading this book, I was really more interested in the kidnapping premise than the secret life of bitchy little girls.
I thought the plotline of Gray getting abducted by a loopy mentally ill woman and held captive by the stranger and her also seriously off-kilter boyfriend had the potential to be pretty compelling. The personalities of the two weirdos was a lot more interesting to me than the girls at the birthday party. Even though it’s understandable to assume that the book focuses largely on Gray’s experiences after being kidnapped, it’s really not. It’s actually about 90% about Caitlyn’s clique and the changes in the power dynamic, namely whether the queen bee will be able to remain in charge of her minions. Who cares about that when we’ve got a girl who’s been abducted by two nutcases? These girls do, apparently. In fact they barely seem to care what happens to Gray at all.
At the beginning of this novel, I thought Gray might be the one in the story with redeeming qualities who you’re supposed to root for; nope, she’s awful too. She immediately established her status as just another horrid little twat when you find out just how inconvenienced she feels about her mother’s battle with cancer. I mean, duh, she’s in remission now, so she should obviously be at her daughter’s beck and call whenever Gray’s having a problem. What else would she be doing?
Yes, I know Gray and her group of ‘friends’ are young and all but that doesn’t stop you from having the feeling they’re going to be horrible adults (especially Caitlyn’s malicious toadie, Martha, whose actions tend towards the downright sociopathic.) There’s nothing about the book’s conclusion that suggests any real improvement in any of the girls’ behavior or outlook on life. I guess this novel was a decent portrayal of girl bullies, but it was mostly the petty whining of immature kids I wanted to slap.
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