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Summary: Jesse and Vicks have been friends for a long time, but even the new girl, Mel, can tell that something is bothering them. And Mel has her own problems! When Jesse volunteers to drive Vicks to Miami to see her boyfriend, Mel takes the opportunity to invite herself. The girls are about to learn a lot about each other ... and themselves! Three award-winning authors created this book from their experiences on a road trip together.
Type of Reading: family reading, independent reading
Recommended Age: read together: 10 and up; read yourself: 12 and up
Young Reader Reaction: How to be Bad is a teenage fiction novel targeted for high school readers. I enjoyed reading this book a lot and didn’t find much I disliked. For me, the first two chapters were a little difficult to follow; each chapter was written from one of the three girls’ point of views. Other than that, I found all the other aspects of this novel quite appealing. The plot and the characters were all realistic. As a teenager myself, I found it all the more pleasurable, and even beneficial at some points, to read about Vicks, Jesse, and Mel learning to deal with their teenage life problems. The introduction, even though it is slightly confusing, takes the reader directly into the story with a bang and automatically gets them interested. The ending tied the book up very well. It gathered most of the loose ends and at the same time, left enough strands dangling for the reader to think and consider the girls' futures. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel and definitely would consider purchasing this at a bookstore.
Adult Reader Reaction: Because of the title, I kept putting the book down. Now I'm glad I read it, and frankly, the title doesn't do the story justice. The author's collaborative approach creates an intriguing, well-built story. The characters blend together to move the story along, but they retain (and the reader benefits) their own personal views, too.
Pros: Teen/Pre-teen girls will see themselves (and their friends) in the book's characters. This is a fast-paced book that blends the stuff teen girls think/worry about into an adventure-filled story that has its feet on the ground!
Cons: Parents will be turned off by the title. It is not a book that encourages a wild side, nor does it have a lot of the catty, elite-teen stuff we've found in other YA books.
Borrow or Buy: This is a great book for introspective reading. Girls will find something of value and empathy in each of the characters. This would be a great book club book for teen girls. Note: a strong facilitator is a MUST!