Review Blog

Jul 06 2015

How to be bad by E. Lockhart, Lauren Myracle and Sarah Mlynowski

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Hot Key Books, 2015. ISBN 9781471404849
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Friendship. Road trip. Jesse and Vicks are good friends but things seem to be going a little awry as Jesse keeps a big secret from her friend and Vicks can't stop worrying about her boyfriend who has moved to college and hasn't contacted her for a fortnight. Mel is the new girl in town. She is rich and but is in the shadow of her pretty sister and is desperate to make friends. They decide to escape Niceville and go on a road trip to visit Vicks' boyfriend in Miami, having some hilarious escapades on the way.
The characters are so very different. Jesse lives in a trailer park, is poor but religious and uptight. Vicks is more of a wild child, and is determined not to be the girl who becomes clingy because her boyfriend doesn't call. Mel is a middle child and is often called upon to be the casting vote when her two siblings can't agree, and feels unwanted. Their trip includes looking at Old Joe, a stuffed alligator, going to Disney land and staying in a hotel set up as a pirates' haunt, as well as wrestling a wild alligator, and these adventures lead to a growth in their friendship and understanding of each other and themselves. On the way they meet Marco, an attractive, caring boy who invites them to a party and their actions there are a real catalyst for each to take stock of themselves.
In an interesting note at the back, the three authors describe how they came together and wrote the book. Each took the voice of one of the characters, and the story is related from that person's point of view in alternating chapters. It is fun for the reader who has previously read books by the authors to guess which character has been written by that author.
This is a fun read with amusing moments and insights into friendship and class which is sure to be enjoyed by readers who like road trips and sassy girls.
Pat Pledger

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