English best friends Kaz and Ruby, in post-breakup recovery mode (from Tom and Stu, respectively), head to Remix, a three-day music festival, to reboot.
White Ruby’s older brother, Lee, was supposed to look after them, but he’s distracted with world travel plans and his fracturing romance with Owen. Biracial Kaz knew Tom would be at Remix, but his new girlfriend, Lauren, is a surprise. Running into Stu distracts Ruby from her tough choice: whether to repeat a year at St. Felicity’s, in order to continue on a university-bound track with Kaz, or leave school and find a new path. The girls chase the guys and follow each other through chaotic hordes of campers and celebrity hounds at the teeming festival, where alcohol in vast quantities is the drug of choice. The hot, mainly male stars fans have come to see—and hopefully bed—are as much a draw as the music. Through ups and downs, the girls’ friendship is less about mutual empowerment than offering a shoulder to cry on or remedy for a hangover after getting dumped or drunk. Characterization is uneven. Stu and Ruby are a lively duo, but despite her multicultural surname (Asante-Blake) and hair, Kaz is culturally monochrome. Belying the contemporary setting and multitudinous references to snogging, condoms, and sex toys, the female characters’ passive to downright submissive behavior—and unsettlingly retro disparity in gender roles overall—seems drawn straight from the 1950s.
Entertaining, witty, and often funny—but also oddly old-fashioned. (Fiction. 14-18)