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Hancock Park Paperback – September 21, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; Reprint edition (September 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061373702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061373701
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,127,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in Los Angeles, teenage author Kaplan's debut details 16-year-old Becky's struggles with her parents' divorce and her social life after her best friend moves to New York. Readers (and Becky) learn of her intelligence when she takes an IQ test and has high results, but little in her observations and narrative suggest a genius to accompany that score (her involvement in the Model UN at all-girl's academy feels forced). Her desire to be popular fluctuates between her scorn for the Trinity, the popular girls in her junior class, and her joy at hanging out with them ("I had gone out with an extremely attractive, very popular boy, and I was friends with the most popular girls in school. Life was good"). Slowly, Becky makes some positive changes-she switches from a prescription-happy psychiatrist to a more effectual one, and realizes her new boyfriend is a jerk. Her problems will resonate with and be familiar to readers, though her personal growth feels rushed and does not build in a realistic way. Ages 14-up.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 8–11—In this debut novel, Kaplan has created a teenager who actually talks, thinks, and acts like one. Angeleno Becky Miller, 16, like most of her friends, has parents in "the business": Mom has a talk show and Dad is an entertainment attorney. Although both of them have good intentions and love their children, they have little time to interact with them on a daily basis. Becky and her younger brother pretty much manage their own lives. The stress of this lifestyle really affects her, and she shows signs of OCD and severe anxiety, which heavy medication only partially relieves. Becky knows that she needs to keep her life together while everything else, including her parents' marriage, is falling apart, but it's tough when you don't have much control over such matters. This pivotal semester is a true test of her character and endurance, and as she stumbles through, readers will relate to her difficulties and cheer for her successes. Kaplan is an author to watch.—Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

To make matters worse, her shrink has just gotten in trouble for prescribing Becky way too much medication.
E. Kristin Anderson
I loved Hancock Park and read it in one sitting and it was one of my two favorite books of the summer; the other was Undiscovered Gyrl.
andy behrman
Ms. Kaplan knows how being a teenager really works--it's a strange mix of fabulous and pathetic that she captures very nicely.
catzzz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Annonymous on April 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
I go to the school that Kaplan went to, a.k.a. "Whitbread Academy." I am actually in shock that anyone would even try and get away painting that picture of our school/the people who go there. Our school is nothing like that. Essentially she dramatized a couple minute details about our school (the cake once made in the shape of the school, the hybrid fleet in the parking lot, the security guards moving our cars) and used it to craft some absurd depiction that has never existed....."The Trinity" depicts maybe 3 girls in the entire history of the school, the rest of the students look dress and act virtually nothing like they did when they went there. This is not an elitist school for spoiled LA girls with their own shrinks and it pisses me and most of the other students off that she would depict it like that. No one orders Spago to-go. No one has a driver. And yeah, I get it, this book is "fiction," but fiction implies some degree of an imagination and creative work, and it takes very little of either to blow up a few tiny, insignificant details and craft a cliched world out of it. Most of the characters are derived from girls who actually went to our school or were in her class, except she reduced their entire personalities down to a few details about each of them. To name them, she just kept the syllables and flipped the letters...so if someone's name started with a V in real life, she made it start with an A in her book, if it started with an M, she made it a W. Not exactly the Rosetta Stone.

"Whitbread Academy" is, in reality, a very academic-oriented all girls' school with a specific personality about it. And this personality could not be called "snobby" or "socially exclusive" under any strain. Most everyone "just rolls out of bed".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By pagegirl on July 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I was disappointed in this book. Not only is it bad, but the writing is so boring and has no emotion behind it. The plot is a warmed-over retelling of Mean Girls, stripped to its blandness. It all felt very by-the-numbers. The lesson about being true to oneself is present, but I didn't get the sense that the main character really learned anything. The one interesting subplot was the relationship between the narrator and her therapist, but for some reason that was dropped halfway through the book. When I saw that the writer was 18 when she wrote this, I could very well believe it. If I were a cynical person, I'd wonder if she had some connections in the publishing industry. Why else would this book exist?
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By seahorselover on September 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Despite the outrageous world that Becky experiences, her actual encounters and emotional experiences are surprisingly familiar. I would also say that the fact that her very teenage experience is decorated in a world of glamour and wealth makes the reading more interesting. It is all to easy to find a novel documenting the average girl in an average world but so much more entertaining to read about my own experiences in a new way. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who is or has ever been a teenage girl. :-)
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Given some of the hype this book got early on, I expected more from it. The story was so-so and could have been much better if the author had fleshed out her characters and the story more. The characters all seemed as if they had more story to tell, yet the author left them all feeling rather shallow. I almost stopped reading it several times, but finished because I had paid so much for it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Beowulf90 on September 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've read in several of these reviews complaints about the book's accuracy. Often I find what's compelling about fiction is its ability, through characters as carefully and elegantly crafted as those Ms. Kaplan has written, to communicate much more than "accurate" reality ever could. It truly is an enjoyable story, one that I've already recommended wholeheartedly to several of my friends and relatives, both male and female, and I hope to read more from Ms. Kaplan in the future!
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By Jude on September 13, 2014
Format: Paperback
~3/5

[More of my reviews are available on my blog, Geeky Reading, to which there's a link on my profile.]

This was a pretty mediocre book. It wasn’t too bad, a little interesting and funny at times, but also forgettable.

I enjoyed the characters; I liked Becky, her thoughts on things, and how she matured. I related to her at some points, and understood her struggle with her parents and friends. I didn’t grow overly attached to any of the characters, but I did like some of them. There were some really thoughtful and funny moments. It was a fast read, too.

I liked it, but didn’t grow too attached, and it was, sadly, easy to forget.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By lbrett90 on September 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
We bought this book for our teenage daughter in order to encourage her to keep reading. Unlike so many books for young adults on the market today, it features a fresh and witty protagonist who is smart yet still very much a teenage girl! She is a believable character and even though her high school experience is vastly different from our daughter's, she found the characters to all be very relatable to as a teenager herself. Definitely a good read for any young adult, but also a fascinating look into the life of a young person growing up with so many social pressures, not to mention academic ones. I recommend this book as a gift for anyone with a young daughter, but I was also personally very impressed by Ms. Kaplan's writing and use of narrative - I picked it up once and found myself going through the whole thing in a day! We are excited to see what new ideas Ms. Kaplan will produce - as a young and talented writer, she has a bright future ahead. Definitely 5 stars.
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