Friday, September 26, 2008

Book Review: Hot Mess: Summer in the City by Julie Kraut and Shallon Lester

ISBN: 978-0385735063
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Paperback: 352 pages
Genre: Young Adult
First Line: Rachel, Kyle, and I rocked up to the El Shack del Tacos straight from seventh period.
One Word Review: Trendy

Emma Freeman had planned to spend the summer before her senior year in high school hanging out at the pool and working with her boyfriend, Brian. When she realizes Brian may not be the boy of her dreams after all, she takes advantage of an internship in New York City and heads off with her BFF for what is sure to be a fabulous summer. But, things don't always work out like you plan, and Emma soon finds that life in the city isn't all Sex in the City glitz and glamour. Her boss is a joke, and a few little white lies may come back to haunt her.

Let me start by saying I am not a teenage girl. In fact, I find gaggles of teenage girls (the kind you find hanging out in shopping malls texting each other even though they're standing right there!) to be rather annoying. Forgive me if you're a teenage girl. I mean no disrespect. But, it's no wonder, really, that the main character didn't really connect with me. I didn't find her immaturity and naivete endearing. That said, I do think that teenage girls will relate to Emma, and I think they will enjoy being able to vicariously live out this fantasy summer.

While I don't care to spend a lot of time around groups of teenagers, I do like young adult fiction. The stories are often fun and easy to read, and Hot Mess is no exception. Anyone who enjoys losing themselves in a story that only requires a little suspension of disbelief will find this book a pleasurable read. However, if you easily tire of pop culture references, this might not be the book for you. Occasionally, they got a little tedious for me (and some I just didn't get at all - probably due to my being generationally challenged), but again, I think this is something that will speak to the target audience.

Overall, I found it a pretty enjoyable read. Considering it's the debut novel of both authors, I think it shows loads of potential, and I'll be watching for more from Kraut and Lester. If you're interested in serious literature, this may be one you'll want to avoid, but if you like chick lit, young adult fiction, or just need a book that requires little cerebral effort, then you'd probably enjoy Hot Mess.

Buy the book on Amazon.

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Alea said...

I bought this a few months ago and haven't read it. I like the idea of a summer in the city with some work related humor thrown in! Also the cover is awesome!

SJ said...

It's sometimes nice to have something light and not so serious to read. I havent read much YA books, but that one sounds good.

Shana @ Literarily said...

I'm so fascinated by the concept of two people co-writing a book, I guess because I'm such a non-delegating control freak I don't think I could ever do it!

Traci said...

After digesting it for a few days, I realized that I forgot to mention one thing I really liked about this book. I had intended to mention in my review that I appreciated the lack of unnecessarily graphic adult content that seems to be so prevalent in much of YA lit today. It wasn't like it was awkwardly absent, but it was more that you could infer certain things without them being shoved in your face. For me, that was refreshing, and I thought it was worth mentioning.

Lenore said...

The internship angle sounds similar to Savvy Girl which I read and reviewed recently and which I don't think has too much crossover potential to an adult audience like some YA does. This sounds like it might fall in the same category. I will find out for myself though since I have a review copy of it too that I need to get to!!