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Bittersweet Sixteen Paperback – May 1, 2007
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7-10–Laura, a scholarship student at an elite high school in New York City, is surrounded by superficial, backstabbing rich girls, all obsessed with having the best Sweet Sixteen party. Despite the differences in lifestyles, she has a solid group of friends, as well as a best friend, Whitney. Everything is running smoothly until the new girl, Sophie, arrives. She is extremely rich, pretty, and fashionable, and wiggles her way right into Laura's group of friends and disrupts the equilibrium of the clique. Before long, everyone is fighting. Laura is the only one who remains true to herself and, with the help of a certain boy, learns about the importance of friendship. Designer names are dropped throughout and the girls are fixated on their weight, capturing some of the issues that teenage girls obsess over in America. But underneath all the fluff and superficiality are lessons on friendship and love.–Kristen M. Todd, Middle Country Public Library, Centereach, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“Teen readers will love the details and vicariously whirl their way through social contexts they only read about in magazines, but they will also see what it means to be true to oneself.” (KLIATT)
“Disappointed that the multi–million copy selling Gossip Girl series by Cecily Von Ziegesar has closed the final chapter on the young socialites’ high school years? If you are, well then here’s the book for you.” (Right On!)
Top customer reviews
However, when it comes to the book contents itself, I LOVED this book. I read it many many years ago and when I remembered it again I just wanted to snatch it up so that I could read it whenever I wanted.
The wittiness of the characters, the pleasant surprise of the interests each character held, and the stereotypical portrayal or "rich girls" and whatnot really made this a great book. Yes, it was cheesy sometimes but overall, a pleasant read for any young adult. I give the book and the authors FIVE STARS for the content. :)
To Wantz Upon A Time: I definitely agree with your analysis on the character of Laura. Not every reader can relate to the characters of Whitney and Sophie, the two who are drowning in cash and smothered in fame. What you said about Laura being the character that the average reader could relate to is perfect, because who wouldn't dream of being surrounded by those types of families and peers?
Carrie Karasyov and Jill Kargman utilize the voice of teenage girls throughout their book, as if Laura Finnegan was the real author. For example, Laura says, "Don't get me wrong; it's not like I'm on welfare or anything, but my parents can't even pay twenty grand a year for tuition at Tate on their teacher's salaries, so they obviously are not going to cough up half a mil on a rager that lasts a few hours." This style of writing includes abbreviations like, "half a mil", which is how a high school student speaks in our day and age. Every teenage student slips out "BTW" and "LOL" every once in a while. I really like how the authors took abbreviations and molded them into their style of writing to make this book even more connectable for the teen reader. I would definitely recommend this book for a friend! My friends could relate to this book just as well as I could, which would make Bittersweet Sixteen a great read for them. Every teenage girl who lives with drama, boys, and best friends could learn and live through this book as any reader should!
There are a lot of things about books that just really bug me. The first is when you have characters that don't undergo changes throughout the story. Second is when the plot is too scattered and/or boring. Third is when stories begin with: Hi! My name is INSERT NAME, AGE, and LOCATION. (If I wanted to read something like this, I might as well read someone's profile or a name-sticker that's start like that.) Fourth is when the character comes right out and tells you the message of the book and/or what they learned. There's plenty more, but at the present moment, I'm too lazy to report it.
Bittersweet Sixteen makes two of those mistakes: number three and four. Let me start with the name. Jumping into a story by directly saying the name of the main character (when written in first person) is just so unimaginative. There are hundreds of ways to introduce your character, and HI, MY NAME IS LAURA, is something that makes me roll my eyes and sigh in frustration. Come on, authors! You can do better than that! Anyone can!
On to number four. This book ended with the main character Laura talking about how she had changed. In fact, the exact words are "I had changed over the last two months. I had grown stronger and become my own person" (Karasyov 230). It just makes me really frustrated. I mean, if it was a good book and the plot was apparent, then I would know right away what kind of changes occurred. You don't need to tell me that directly. As a reader, I'm supposed to infer and conclude! Goodness. But . . . I can see what the authors were trying to do. Except, once again, be creative. Or, if that doesn't work, do the whole message thing towards the end, not at the LAST page. Even fables exceed this expectation, and it makes me wonder how their agent and the editors could've skipped these enormous mistakes.
While I'm still writing a bad review, I have to talk about Laura's voice. A few words on that: put it into diary format. Seriously. Laura is a decent character and she has a very distinguished voice but the way her voice is written annoyed me. She didn't seem real enough. If it was in diary-entries format, I would've liked her friend's conversation better and it would have made better sense. Even though I knew the authors had good language and grammar, the way they wrote it didn't seem to support that point. It just made them sound childish and too unrealistic.
The only good thing I have to say about the book is the subject: sweet sixteen parties. It's not original and a lot of authors had tried the concept but it was interesting at least. I stuck with it simply because I thought the book couldn't get any worse, but I was wrong about that too. Another waste.
Most recent customer reviews
This book is annoying. The characters are shallow, cheesy and fake, and the author tries to use slang to make the kids look "cool" when it...Read more
Bittersweet Sixteen, a novel by Carrie Karasyov and Jill Kargman, takes place in the upper east side of Manhattan at Tate, a private high school.Read more