Secrets – a book review

Posted by on August 3, 2013 in Book Review, Featured on Home Page | Comments Off on Secrets – a book review

Secrets – a book review

Title: Secrets (#2)
Author: Kate William (a ghostwriter, series created by Francine Pascal)
Publisher: Bantam Books
Pages: 118
ISBN: 0-553-25044-2
Price: $6.85 (USD, paperback, previously owned)

I couldn’t resist reviewing another one of these – I’ve got other books I’ve just finished that I could review. Other books that would probably make my reading choices seem more respectable, but screw it: these are ridiculously fun to review.

Where to start? With the cover where Jessica’s comb-over makes another appearance? Or how the pink of the princess phone Jessica is gossiping into matches the pink of Elizabeth’s sensible sweater so exactly? Or how the whole cover is a gentle pastel nightmare right down to their matching lipgloss?

We open with pretty much the same scene as the first book – more palaver about Jessica’s stunning good looks: “Jessica was, as usual, too gorgeous for words (then why do you keep talking about her???). Her sun-colored hair shimmered about tanned shoulders left bare by the silky Hawaiian print dress that perfectly complimented her blue-green eyes. A bewitching smile on her lovely oval face usually completed the picture of perfection. The only trouble was, she wasn’t smiling right now…”

And there’s the hook! Why isn’t she smiling? What would make someone blessed with such amazing good looks be so sad? Beautiful people aren’t supposed to have to deal with sadness and troubles like us mere mortals.

And in keeping with the first book, we are also treated – again! – to Jessica grousing about what an “absolute mess” she is before “tossing her head in disgust, even though every golden strand seemed to be in place.” and raging that her twin had her tossed in the school pool fully clothed in the first book. Cara, Jessica’s BFF, flatters her back into a better humour: “…you know really did look kind of sexy. Like Bo Derek in that beach scene in 10.”

Not a single one of my friends have ever a) told me I was sexy, or b) compared me to a movie star, or c) needed to do either because I was acting like a spoiled little shit who needs compliments the way other people need oxygen. Not that I want to reach into the pages and slap her or anything.

Cara goes on with the cajoling flattery, and between vomit-inducing compliments (“Bruce will be so blinded by your beauty…”) we are introduced to the plot: Jessica wants to be queen of the fall dance, because Bruce Patman (handsome, filthy-rich, drives a Porsche) is sure to be king, and Jessica LURRRVES him so much (because he’s handsome, filthy-rich and drives a Porsche). Shallow and materialistic? Not our little made-of-sunshine Jessica!

But, Jessica is worried that Elizabeth’s best friend Enid will get her boyfriend Ronnie to swing all the votes to Enid for queen because he’s on the committee for this dance (or something). So, she begins looking for ways to cut Enid out as competition.

While Jessica schemes, Elizabeth and Enid are indulging in the more wholesome pastime of making cookies – “Project CC Cookie”, and no, I’m not making that up – in an effort to distract Enid from whatever is bothering her. They play cat and mouse for a bit about it:

Enid: I did a bad thing.

Saint Elizabeth: I bet it’s not that bad – but you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.

Enid: It is! It’s so terrible that my boyfriend Ronnie will hate me forever!

Saint E: I bet it’s not and that he won’t. Here, have some cookie dough.

After a lot of blah blah blah, Enid confesses: she once went around with a boy called George. They used to drink and take drugs. Once, they got super stoned and hit a kid with George’s car. Now they’re clean, and they’ve been exchanging letters to be supportive to each other. The end.

Saint Lizzie is super understanding and Enid is overwhelmed with gratitude for her friendship because, “beyond her all-American good looks, the perfect white teeth, the spun-sunshine hair. Elizabeth was a person who cared.”

Jesus Christ. Beautiful people are capable of caring? Who knew?

From here things move fast (they’ve only got 118 pages total to solve this remember). Enid shows Elizabeth the letters (they’re totally innocent) and one gets left behind when Enid goes home. Jessica finds the letter after snooping in Elizabeth’s room, and everything goes to hell. Jessica blabs to the key people she needs to manipulate – including Ronnie. We’re treated to the almost date-rape of Enid by Ronnie who, during their make-out date “growls”, “What’s the matter? I don’t rate up there with old Georgie-boy? You’re not going to give me any of the same stuff you’re giving him?” And then tells Enid, “Forget it, baby. I’m taking you home.” Enid accuses Elizabeth of telling Ronnie about the letters, and Jessica does her best to conceal her glee at apparently breaking up their friendship before she sails off to a party and snares Ronnie as her own date to the dance.

Things get solved, as they always do. It’s discovered that Jessica blabbed and she gets her comeuppance, once again, in front of the whole school: she is crowned queen with Winston Egbert (the gangly class clown) as her king – and has to kiss him for a photo op. Bruce Patman leaves with some drop-dead gorgeous redhead (gingers, represent!). Enid goes to the dance with gorgeous and squeaky-clean George, and Liz and Enid make up and are BFFs once again.

I don’t think even Project CC Cookie could get the taste of vapid and pointless out at this point. There weren’t even any really funny bits in this one (stoners hitting a kid with a car, and an almost date-rape are not very funny) to break up the monotony of beautiful people being sad and beautiful.

I guess I’ll have to find a copy of the next book in the series and see if that can amuse me.