BOOK REPORT for This is W.A.R. by Lisa Roecker and Laura Roecker

Cover Story: Drowning Girl, FTW!
BFF Charm: Make it Rain
Swoonworthy Scale: Negative One Zillion
Talky Talk: Full of Secrets
Bonus Factors: Revenge, Country Clubs
Relationship Status: Sister Soldiers

This is War

Cover Story: Drowning Girl, FTW!

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I know a cover designer out there nearly peed his or her pants when assigned this book, because s/he could FINALLY do a drowning girl cover that was relevant!

The Deal:

When Willa Ames-Rowan drowns in Hawthorne Lake, everyone knows it wasn't an accident. Everyone also knows James Gregory did it, but no one is willing to do anything about it. Not Rose, whose mother is a social climbing social director at the Hawthorne Lake Club and whose father is the local police detective; not Willa's best friends Lina and Sloane; not even Willa's stepsister and best best friend, Madge. At least, not until the four band together to get revenge—not just on James, but on his twin brother, Trip, and the whole Gregory family.

BFF Charm: Make it Rain

BFF Make it Rain

These girls are kind of a mess, but I love them. Teenagers ARE kind of a mess, so if the revenge plots are ridiculous, it's only normal. They sidestepped several cliches, both by flipping them and by embracing them, and I loved the way the story unfolded, slowly revealing more secrets than just what was going on with the Gregorys.

Swoonworthy Scale: Negative One Zillion

Gross. That's really all I have to say about 99.9% of the relationships in the book, but that's really the whole point. Date rape, infidelity and predatory behavior aren't supposed to be sexy. The 0.1% is reserved for a few details at the end, where I could see some healthy behavior that just wasn't a narrative focus.

Talky Talk: Full of Secrets

The Gregory family aren't the only ones with secrets. The Roeckers alternate points of view among the four girls, as well as Willa. I've long admired the authors' writing—it has to be a huge pain in the ass for two writers to create one voice and not kill each other in the process, especially when they're sisters! Not only do they build seamless narratives, they also are killer at making them dark and wickedly incisive (despite their last series apparently featuring Alicia Silverstone on the covers). I'd love to see them write the news stories about my late, great state of Texas' governmental missteps and victories.

But it was the Captain who was on her mind when she selected print and shoved the thick stack of papers into the satchel slung over her shoulder, the Captain holding forth on his yacht while Willa's body was plucked from the water....
It annoyed Rose to think that her "type of people" could be paid off with so little. It annoyed her even more that three girls considered one hundred dollars to be so little. And it drove her absolutely mad that she was even considering paying off somebody in the first place. But she was in. This was War.

Bonus Factor: Revenge

Uma Thurman

Not the television show, but the bloodthirsty kind.

Bonus Factor: Country Clubs

Country Club

Despite reeeeally wanting an FYA boat, I'm not a Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous–watching type (or MTV's Cribs, or whatever the kids are watching these days). I loved this peek into the sordid side of a country club, and it also reminded me of a big reason money can suck. I wouldn't mind being able to hang out at the pool all day, though.

Casting Call:

Prince William

Young Prince William as James Gregory

and...

Prince Harry

The ginger one as Trip Gregory

Relationship Status: Sister Soldiers

I stand with Willa and all the other women like her. All the women—and men—who are victims of people rich enough to buy silence, people who manipulate the truth and poison justice. People who are victims of being victims, who are considered trash or just not important enough to remember once they're no longer around—no matter how indispensable they were in life. I can't wait to take to the streets with this book, join protest marches, hang out in the Senate gallery or on the Capitol steps, cheering victory and fighting to overcome defeat.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Soho Press. This is W.A.R. will be available July 2.