The Aristobrats by Jennifer Solow
Sourcebooks Jaberwocky, 2010
Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme created by GreenBeanTeenQueen, one of my favorite blogs. Surprise, surprise - it features books aimed at Tweens.
It’s all about the Attitude
Parker Bell knows the secret to beauty is pretty simple–wearing the right clothes isn’t as important as how you feel in them. Popularity is like that too. It’s all about attitude. You have to picture who you want to be and then just imagine that’s who you already are.
This year Parker and her three best friends have made their way to the top of the populadder at Wallingford Academy. And they’re ready to use their Aristobrat status to help spread positive vibes throughout the school. But when the girls are assigned to produce the seriously lame school webcast, their popularity plummets! Will this tragedy destroy the girls' status? Or their friendship? Or both? (courtesy of Goodreads)
If you like tales about popular girls, but don't like the sheer meanness of The Clique, The Aristobrats may be for you. Parker, Ikea (I-kay-a), Kiki, and Plum are in the eighth grade and are the top dogs of their school. They are the "it" girls. But unlike most stereotypical popular girls, they make an effort to be nice to everybody - at least to their faces. They view their popularity as somewhat of a responsibility. This popularity falls precipitously when they are force to do the school webcast. The story is pretty typical - popular girls learn a lesson in what is really "cool" and who is actually worth of their attention.
Of the four girls, only Parker and Ikea were given any substance. Parker is the main narrator, and she's worried that she'll soon have to leave Wallingford Academy because her mom will lose her job. Ikea feels the pressure to be perfect as one of the few black kids at her school. Kiki and Plum just seem like fashion-crazy girls. The story is told mostly from Parker's point-of-view, but it sometimes switches to the other's perspectives. This felt random and awkward.
The book is littered with slang. Basically typical teen-speak - lots of OMGs and valley-girl talk. It was a little annoying, but also fit the girls' characters - so it's hard to fault it.
My real problem with this book is the girls' attitudes. This quote best describes it: "'We won't snub anyone,' Plum recited. 'At least not in public.'" The girls thought they were superior to everyone because of their popularity. They made an effort to be nice to all, but they made fun of all the kids behind their backs. In some ways, I'd prefer open meanness. When I was in middle school, I was terrorized by a group of girls who did tons of things behind my back. The only one I respected was the girl who would tease me right to my face (ironically, she was the only one who ever apologized). My feelings toward The Aristobrats characters are very much influenced by my life experiences. I think a lot of people will really enjoy this book. The characters are true friends to one another. Ikea is especially likeable. There are lots of great fashion descriptions (always my favorite part of books like this). The girls learn a good lesson. However, the girls' duplicity was a big turn-off for me.
Rating: 2.5 / 5