Reviewed by Noelle: June 19, 2012
Published February 8, 2011 by HarperTeen
Goodreads • Buy paperback on Amazon • Kindle • Book Depository
Corinne is the stereotypical spoiled rich girl with the narcissistic entitled attitude to prove it. After her dad is laid off and her family loses most of their net worth in a Ponzi scheme, Corinne is shipped off with her little brother to Broken Spoke, Texas to live with her mother's semi-estranged parents. Goodbye credit cards, hello public school. Her new life entails having to *gasp* eat carbs and *double gasp* buy off the rack and *hyperventilate into paper bag* get a job!
Never mind that her grandmother seems to be Paula Deen in the kitchen and the local Lyla Garrity equivalent wants to be her BFF-- Corinne considers her life ruined. She balks at normal human interactions and generally see the whole experience as beneath her. She stubbornly persists that her living situation is temporary and doesn't see why she should bother trying to adapt or reprioritize.
Despite some capable and occasionally funny writing, Corinne's lack of attitude adjustment really brought down the book for me. To her, the recession is the end of dropping $1000 on a dress for a school function. It doesn't even occur to her that if the recession means such drastic changes for her privileged ass, what it must mean for those already struggling financially.
It's like if Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie's reality show The Simple Life was aired DURING the recession.
Sure, sometimes the culture shock is funny. Sometimes it's offensive as hell.
Corinne spends the entire book looking down on people: her family, the non-socialites of Broken Spoke and then the socialites of her old life when her former BFF comes to visit. Even worse, Corinne has no trouble verbalizing her perceived inferiority of everyone and everything around her, blaming it on her lack of filter. She also has no problem, however, keeping her comments to herself when one of her new friends is insulted in front of her or when she has the opportunity to express any sort of gratitude whatsoever.
I kept waiting for the epiphany---the moment Corinne realizes she should examine herself before putting down others--but it never happened. Even after she bitches out her old BFF for being everything Corinne herself still is, no light bulb goes off. To the very end, Corinne has the self awareness of...well:
Corinne is so self centered her relationships with other characters end up as shallow as she is, making it impossible to get invested in any of her interactions with other people. It's a shame because the author thought up several interesting characters and situations to put them through but Corinne's detachment left much of the potential untapped.
Corinne makes some (very minor) changes but in the end it just seemed too much like:
Rating: 2/5 stars