Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers, January 11 2011
Genre: Young Adult
Format/pages: Hardcover 368 pages
Format read/Source: Kindle edition
Date read: January 23 2011
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
Ariadne (Ari) Mitchell attends public high school in Brooklyn. She is artistic and dreams of one day attending Parsons School of Design and of falling in love. Ari’s best friend Summer is beautiful and flashy and attends the exclusive Hollister Prep on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. When Ari’s family receives an inheritance, they decide to send her to Hollister Prep. Ari’s preppy style and artistic sensibility is more of a match at Hollister. She quickly makes a new friend Leigh who introduces her to her wealthy family and takes her to nightclubs and museums. Leigh also introduces Ari to her gorgeous cousin Blake, and Ari can’t believe he is interested in her. They begin a relationship and Ari is so infatuated she forgets about her studies, friends, family and plans for the future. When there are some bumps in the road with Blake, Ari struggles to find her footing and find herself again.
This is a wonderful coming of age book by debut author Lorraine Zago Rosenthal. The setting is New York in the mid 1980’s at the time of AIDS blood tests, Live Aid, Madonna and Duran Duran. Ari is easy to relate to with her over-bearing mother, and pretty and popular best friend. Ari suffers from stress migraines and is a nice and hard-working girl. She wonders if she has what it takes to be an artist and if she will ever find love.
Ari’s relationships with her family and friends are vividly described. Ari’s mother wants the best for Ari. Her eldest daughter Evelyn married young after a teen pregnancy. She is very protective of Ari and holds her to high standards and does not want her to lose sight of her goals. Ari’s friend Summer is the popular and boy-crazy girl who we are not sure has Ari’s best interests at heart. Ari’s sister Evelyn suffers from depression and is threatened by Ari. Leigh is the friend that seems the most perfect for Ari. They both are quiet and kind and love art. Blake seems like the too-perfect boyfriend who is kind, polite and considerate.
The friend relationships ring very true. Ari has always had one best friend Summer, but is now managing the complexity of having another good friend Leigh. Adding Blake to the equation adds more drama to Ari’s life than she has ever experienced.
The writing in this book is beautiful and descriptive. I felt like I was there in New York in the 1980s. The story is something anyone can relate to about first love and following your dreams. This story is uniquely told and a fast read. Recommended for fans of contemporary young adult novels, and older teens. I am looking forward to reading more from this author.
For more information: