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by Lucy Silag

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-59514-222-1
Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

American high-school students head to France to study at a prestigious Parisian prep school. Narrated in turn by three girls and a boy—part traveling-pants sisterhood, part Sex and the City quartet—the plot is long on shopping and socializing, short on depth and nuance; the French are portrayed mostly as party poopers or hypocritical snobs, for instance. Nonetheless, fans of chick lit should enjoy the upscale romantic settings, brand-name fashion, catty observations and generous helpings of sex and partying. The strongest voices belong to Olivia, who longs to dance professionally, and closeted Zack, looking for love. Alex, the ethically challenged power shopper, is too bad to be true. Mysterious PJ carries a family secret, withheld from readers until the end. Because no narrative justification for this secrecy exists apart from building suspense, readers will justifiably feel manipulated. The book doesn’t so much end as simply stop, suggesting a possible sequel. Despite the novel’s flaws, its debut author displays moments of insight and acute observation that may serve her well in future works. (Fiction. YA)