When a middle-class girl spends the summer living with a superrich family on Long Island, conflict and romance result.
As Rory’s mom moves from cheap, young boyfriend to cheaper, younger boyfriend, Rory looks for escape. Her aunt, the housekeeper for the wealthy Rule family, invites her to stay in East Hampton on Long Island for the summer. Rory agrees to do minor errands for the family in exchange for her beautiful room, and inevitably, she is thrown together with the Rules’ spoiled-brat, youngest child, Isabel, who tries to help Rory find a boyfriend. Unbeknownst to Isabel, however, Rory and Isabel’s brother Connor fall in love, although Rory knows the Rule family will never approve. Meanwhile Isabel falls for a local surfer, another forbidden and therefore hidden romance. As the summer progresses, Isabel begins to mature beyond her wealthy girlfriends at the local country club, and Rory realizes that no matter how nice the Rules appear on the surface, power and money trump all, although that verdict does not fit everyone in the family. Many of the wealthy characters turn out to be shallow, but a few grow to realize that surface appearances and arbitrary power don’t matter much in real life, a predictable, simple character arc.
Philbin hits all the buttons designed to attract chick-lit readers—major wealth, casually mentioned fashion, hot boyfriends and, of course, universal beauty—for a summertime diversion. (Chick lit. 12 & up)