Archive for the ‘YA’ Category
I think I’m about to ruin my teen years. The Final Friends trilogy was one of my favorite sets of books when I was about 13. I probably read it (if not the whole thing, then the last book) 3 or 4 times.
So let’s see how much I remember: this is a straight-up murder mystery without the supernatural stuff Pike put in his later books (this one’s (c) 1988). A perfect, pretty blonde girl bites it at the end of the first book, hot computer nerd Michael tries to solve her murder, and he’s joined by the love of his life Jessica (who falls for a probably-gay football player) and his BFF Bubba. There are lots of other characters, and they do typical high school things like going to sporting events and dances. And I remember how it ends, who the murderer is, but we won’t get to that just yet.
Can we start with the cover? As is the case with any good high school drama, all of the characters look about 35. And the guy in the bottom right corner is rocking an incredible red curly mullet. (I think this is Clark?) (You can see the cover at Like Pike, who also recapped this series.)
The curtain rises on Jessica Hart, who’s thinking that summering in Europe was maybe a mistake, because going to high school seems lame after conquering the Matterhorn. Plus, Jessica is starting a new school; the school district has decided the town doesn’t need 2 partially-full high schools, so Jessica has transferred with most of her friends from Mesa to Tabb High. (Mesa makes me think of Big Mesa, the rival of Sweet Valley High. Tabb makes me think of a soft drink.) One of these friends is Alice McCoy, who is two years younger than Jessica and “the sweetest girl in the whole world.” Alice wants to have a party so that the kids from Tabb and Mesa can get together.
Jessica knows she’s a knockout, but she hasn’t dated much, so she also thinks something might be wrong with her. Alice, however, is magnetic. (Also perfect, as you will see.) Jessica also gets jealous of a blonde girl in a cheerleader outfit that she sees in the quad. Alice knows that the cheerleader is Clair Hilrey, and she already plans to invite Clair to her party because Clair knows everybody. (*wink, nudge*) Clair is also gorgeous, according to Alice. Jess thinks, “She’s all right.” Heh.
For those of you still reading magazines made of dead trees, there’s an article in the current Bitch about Lois Duncan, the author of YA thrillers, among which are I Know What You Did Last Summer and, a personal favorite, Stranger With My Face. I just got the issue (the “Noir” issue) and it looks kind of awesome, so it might be worth your $5.95 anyway.
Confession: I did not read this one as a tween. I found it in an airport bookstore, of all places, when I was 18 or 19. There’s even a Post-It stuck to the last page with the name of my high school on it (class of ’98!) that I must have used as a bookmark.
But let’s get right to it, shall we. We open with Jean Rodrigues, who does not want to be her mother. Mom is a miserable single mom who works too much, and Jean suspects a similar fate awaits her. Dad died when Jean was a child. They live in a shitty neighborhood. From all this we can glean that Jean is a Latina Stereotype.
Baby-Sitters Club Exposition: Jean is 18, two weeks away from graduating high school. She is half Mexican, half who knows, but of course she knows she is hot because she is a Christopher Pike heroine and not a normal teenage girl. Her long, dark hair is “her glory,” we’re told, and she washes it nightly with herbal shampoo, one of her few luxuries. “Her looks were one thing Jean felt good about. There were so few things.” Right.
The narrator exposits that if Jean had been paying attention to the papers, she’d know that the novel opens exactly a year since the death of one Shari Cooper. Jean is not aware of this fact, though. She’s on her way to a party for her boyfriend Lenny, and she’s got news for him: she’s six weeks pregnant with his kid. Read the rest of this entry »
I think my copy of this book was purchased in 1993-ish. Copyright page says it was first published in 1989, but there’s an ad in the endpapers indicating that Remember Me 2 was due out in August 1994. (I’ve got that book, too, so a recap is forthcoming!) Anyway, this means I was about 13 when I read the book the first time. I remember really loving this book, too.
You may recall that this is the ghost-solves-her-own-murder book. I couldn’t find an image of the cover I have online anywhere. The cover illustration shows a blonde girl with a yellow blouse and green pants dead on the ground below a balcony. And, yeah, that’s a good summary of the whole first half of the book.
So we open with Shari Cooper telling us she’s dead. She then goes into what I like to think of as the Baby-Sitter’s Club Exposition, in that that she informs us in the third paragraph that when she was alive, she was a pretty blonde girl. Except maybe I should call it a Sweet Valley High opening, because just like the Wakefield twins (perfect size sixes with eyes the color of the Pacific Ocean, don’t you know?) Shari is a little too perfect sounding: she goes on for most of the rest of the paragraph about how her eyes are this amazing shade of green. Read the rest of this entry »