Sophisticated chick-lit for the hip consumer of teen fashion magazines, this comedy-drama hits all the in-crowd buttons.
Max has crashed badly from an unsuccessful romance with wealthy Hugo. She ran away from school, got her GED and started a business, Ex, Inc., that guides brokenhearted girls who have been dumped through recovery. She does want to go to college, but only to NYU. She’s living in New York City, but now that her mom has married and is about to give birth, Max operates almost entirely on her own, with the help of best friend Zach and assistant Phoebe. She takes advantage of her mom’s job as a magazine writer, though, to sneak into the offices of Teen Vogue and secretly borrow expensive designer fashions from their closet. As Max guides new client Bridget through a bad breakup, she meets Ben, a possible new love interest, but suddenly runs into Hugo and plunges back into the depths of despair. Now she has to apply her recovery techniques to herself, but all doesn’t go as planned, and she stands to lose her friends and Ben as well. McLaughlin and Kraus keep the tone light, with plenty of in-jokes and ultra-hip lingo, lots of passion and romance, and some steamy bits. They allow Max to grow up a bit, to make mistakes and try to correct them, thus hauling the story back from a complete focus on the superficial. Bridget’s and Ben’s hurt feelings when Max makes her mistakes offer an effective counter to Max’s breezy confidence. Nevertheless, the emphasis remains on entertainment for designer readers.
The whole chick-lit package, upscale. (Chick lit. 14 & up)