Saturday, September 6, 2008
All Q, No A by: Lauren Mechling and Laura Moser
Total: Two and a half stars.
Mimi Schulman is navigating the murky territories of Baldwin as a not-super-rich girl. Sounds tough, but it's not really. Her life seems pretty charmed at first blush: she's broken into the inner circle at school, her father is a completely pushover, she writes a column for the school newspaper The Bugle, etc, etc, etc.
The follow up story to Mechling and Moser's "The Rise and Fall of a 10th-Grade Social Climber" was highly disappointing. Several other reviews I'd read for it on Amazon described "All Q, No A: More Tales of a 10th-Grade Social Climber" as being a mystery set within the scandalous walls of prestigious Baldwin School.
I guess those reviews were wrong. Much of the book is confusing. Long paragraphs in Mimi's witty, sarcastic first-person should be enjoyable to read, but are usually only a pain. This book relies heavily on characterization - that part, at least, is good - but the plot (as it often is with sequels) was pointedly absent.
For a large part of the book, Mimi whines about her crush not paying any attention to her. Despite brief mentions in the first book, the cliché "sensitive artist type" was almost never seen. Now, Max Roth, aka Mimi's crush, plays a somewhat larger role, albeit a boring one.
Every so-called plot twist could be expected by any reader well-versed in the "poor girl goes to rich-kid school" genre. The only thing that sets All Q, No A apart is the fact that the supporting characters are full of quirks that keep the book going. If you're looking for an out of the ordinary YA that still qualifies as a beach read, I'd go for Kate Brian's Private series instead.