In this poor-little-rich-girl YA story, a supermodel’s daughter suffers, loves, and dazzles.
Tall, gorgeous, 16-year-old Coco Rodriguez lives in a Chicago high-rise, abandoned there in early childhood by her jet-setting Argentinian supermodel mother, Magdalena, and left to the care of housekeepers. For three years, one housekeeper, Rosa, has abused the girl and told other people that Coco suffers from bipolar disorder. When Rosa’s wrongdoings are exposed, Coco’s life improves with a new housekeeper, Tia, who discloses that the new infant in the house—Bebe—is Coco’s sister. One day, the teenager meets Rob Banks, her penthouse neighbor, a handsome lawyer who has sole custody of a young daughter, Mila. Soon Mila and Bebe are having play dates as 28-year old Rob and Coco, now 17, fall in love. The teenager never tells Rob that she’s underage, and she also lets him believe that Bebe is her own daughter. Later, Rob is horrified when he learns that he’s unwittingly committed statutory rape, and he ends the relationship. However, Coco is secretly pregnant with Rob’s child. After Magdalena dies, the teenager becomes an instant hit as a model, taking over her mother’s fashion labels. She later finds herself in physical danger, but a vision of Magdalena grants her peace and purpose. Debut writer Orme gets things off to a rocky start in the story’s over-the-top opening section, which reads almost like horror fiction; in it, Rosa is painted as a broad, unpleasant caricature: “her double chins wobbled while spit flecked her fat lips.” The novel also never answers some head-scratchers, such as how the inexperienced Coco manages to successfully run a business. Lovers of fashion, though, will enjoy the fantasy of a supermodel’s daughter being showered with free designer outfits and instantly becoming a lauded model herself. Also likely to please are the details of Coco’s and others’ clothing designs and insider looks at the fashion world. Coco’s abandonment issues also deepen the story, as she learns to handle both independence and motherhood.
A sometimes-unbelievable novel that offers the melodramatic appeal of a telenovela.