The successful comedy series that began with Awkward (2012) continues by focusing on the girl everyone loves to hate, Chelsea, Queen of the Notables at Smith High School.
When her battling parents decide to divorce, they send 17-year old Chelsea on a college-level seminar program in Cambodia. Chelsea resists her fellow students and her enthusiastically friendly professor, Neal, until a comedy of errors throws unsuspecting Chelsea and Neal into the middle of a drug deal gone bad. The police arrive and arrest Neal for dealing drugs, a charge usually resulting in a death sentence. Chelsea and the other students realize that somehow they will have to try to free their professor on their own. Even with this dark scenario, Bates uses Chelsea’s extensive flirting skills and the talents of intimidation that won her the high school popularity crown in her pursuit of the real villains. Going beyond thriller-comedy tropes, she also delves into Chelsea’s personality. Chelsea has always believed she’s just a dumb blonde who can’t cope with schoolwork, but with this challenge, she realizes that she has another kind of intelligence—one that allows her to compete with an international gangster. Readers get an inside view into the good side of the popular girl, showing that she has as many insecurities as the geeks do; she just hides them more successfully.
Another funny, lighthearted romp from Bates. (Chick lit/suspense. 12 & up)