Hot Mess: Summer in the City, by Julie Kraut and Shallon Lester

In honor of the first Monday of summer, we’re devoting today’s posts to beach reads. Sure, it might be cloudy where you are, or raining, or hotter than the ninth circle of Hell, but any one of these titles will help you pretend it’s a lovely, leisurely, ice-cream-worthy early summer day. We’re kicking things off with a review of Julie Kraut and Shallon Lester’s Hot Mess: Summer in the City.

Thanks to her mother’s finagling, 18-year-old Emma Freeman has landed a summer internship in New York City, and she has big dreams of spending her days at a glamorous job and her nights partying like a socialite. Unfortunately, Emma’s reality is a lot closer to an episode of The Office than Gossip Girl: her boss is creepy, her roommate is insane, and her best friend has abandoned her in favor of an online-dating spree.

Hot Mess is Kraut and Lester’s first book for young readers, and—to give them their due—it’s cute. The heroine is flawed but likable, the secondary characters are enjoyably flamboyant, and the story’s moral (lying is bad) is delivered with laid-back good humor. It’s a fine YA beach read... but, thanks to Kraut and Lester’s misguided attempts to mimic contemporary teen-girl-speak, it’s not exactly pop fiction for the ages. The characters in Hot Mess spew out a constant stream of pop-culture references, name-dropping everyone from the Hills stars to Perez Hilton. I’m all for fun, quip-y, Gilmore Girls-style patter, but jokes about the L.C./Heidi catfight or CW sitcoms have a seriously limited shelf life. Pick up a copy of Hot Mess to enjoy this summer, because half of the book’s humor is going to feel dated by next summer, and make no sense the year after that.
Posted by: Julianka


23 Jun, 2008 07:16 PM @ version 0

On the other hand: DAMN, those shoes are cute.

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